Alice In Wonderland Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
This is about as fantasy a story as you can get, so the colorful, fanciful cover is just right. I would prefer a few other simpler ideas, but as it is I would have it as a poster in our movie room. The menu is very nice, I must say. It’s a new style apparently, it can change when you pop it in from time to time with new downloaded content. This time around it was concept art of characters and designs from the movie. All in all it’s a nicely packaged little movie 🙂

Features: 10/10

  • Finding Alice – How do you cast for what will be a new and very attention-grabbing take on one of the most beloved stories of all time? Find a young woman with a lovely smile, self confidence, and who will be willing to be small, tall, and everything in between. It’s about casting Alice, get it?
  • The Mad Hatter – The hatter mixed with Tim Burton’s mind, the only outcome is to put Johnny Depp in that awesome costume and do his face and eyes just  a bit insane and voila!! Hatter it is.
  • The Futterwacken Dance – A guy on YouTube caught someone’s eye. That someone told Tim Burton and there ya go, instant Futterwacker stand in for a dance-shy Depp.
  • The Red Queen – Tim Burton and Helena Bonama Carter are together not just in movies but in life. She said she didn’t think she would have the part until he showed her a drawing of a very angry little red haired queen and she agreed, that was her.
  • Time Lapse Sculpting The Red Queen – It takes a long time to get these actor people into costume and make up. Who would have thought someone could sleep in the chair with people slapping stuff all over ya, but I guess after many years of being a professional, Helen figured it out.
  • The White Queen – She’s come a long way from the early days of sweet and quirky characters…or has she. Ann Hathaway is an excellent semi-crazy ‘good’ queen. She talks about how she found the character and what it was like to develop her trademark glidelike walk.
  • Scoring Wonderland – Danny Elfman at the side of Burton is not a new pairing. He talks about the challenge and the fun of writing a score for the latest fall down the rabbit hole…couldn’t resist.
  • Effecting Wonderland – How do you make blue caterpillars, cats who’s heads can come and float around, a queen with a swollen head, an ever shrinking-growing Alice? Lots of green screen and many many computers.
  • Stunts Of Wonderland – Alice had to be small enough to fit on the rim of a hat as it flew through the air. Crispin Glover had to walk on stilts to get his character’s eye line to be the right height for everyone to respond to, and there is lots of falling, flying, jumping, running, and general activity befitting Underland.
  • Making The Proper Size – I have seen many movies in my life in which characters are smaller, bigger, giant, tiny, than they “should” be. Some times it works out of sheer charm, and some times it’s a disaster (eh hem Lord of the Rings). Tim Burton and his crew got it very right in this 21st century telling of a girl who is “always to small or too tall.” The attention to detail about the scale of everything from her clothes to the eye line of all the other characters she needs to interact with, they did a really good job of not making me go, “ugh”.
  • Cakes Of Wonderland – Hmm I’m not that big on this extra. The best part is to see the large amount of sweets they had to make to set the tea party scene and how they gathered all the bits and pieces to set the big table. I wasn’t that interested in the cake makers themselves, sorry to say, but I’m sure it was a big deal to be on such an iconic “cakey” kind of movie.
  • Tea Party Props – This pretty much blends with the cake makers, with the gathering of goodies and dishes for the long table scene in which they get trampled on by the Mad Hatter.
  • DVD Version Of The Movie – Nice for those car rides in cars that have those fancy traveling DVD players, or however Disney has decided you will be using your extra disc.
  • Digital Copy Of The Movie – Ok, can’t have too many copies of the same movie I always say….not really.

The Movie: 9/10
It’s a big Disney blockbuster that doesn’t need me to sit here and rave about it. I know, it’s got all the praise and blubbering one movie can stand. SO, here’s some more. I was enchanted, yes, enchanted from the moment I saw that the story was starting with a good strong show of who our Alice is becoming as a young lady. I was almost sitting there with my mouth hanging open as she became an individual figuring out that she does not fit in and does not want to fit into the rigid rules that are supposed to define her life. I always appreciate that sentiment. As Alice feels a bit put-upon by an impending engagement something has to give and of course, where do you go when you need to get away and gather your thoughts to make a rational decision? Down a rabbit hole is a good place to start.

This isn’t Alice as a little girl going into a fantastical world in which she’s a poor helpless child. She’s nearly 20 years old and venturing into that time of her life when she must decide who she is, and falling into a world where playing cards are soldiers and a cake can make you shrink seems to be just the right place to make the transition to adulthood.

I don’t think it’s easy to write about movies that I truly love. I can’t define for you exactly why I fall so hard for movies like this. I did the same thing when I saw Sweeny Todd for the first time. They aren’t on my best movies of all time or anything even remotely close to be honest, but for the time I’m watching I am captivated, completely. The darkness and the twist from what seems to be a friendly kind of place to a more sinister flip side of ‘reality’ attracts something in me. The colors are muted, and yet are amazing. The creatures we meet are all not plausible, but I still am convinced of their place with Alice in the big scheme of things. Some movies throw fictional beings in with humans and it doesn’t quite grow together the way they’ve done it for Alice in Wonderland.

The queen has an enlarged head. Her evil side-kick is tall, skinny, skinnier than is naturally possible, and there is a cat who can float, smile, and make his head the only part of him you can see. I love it. I think of it now and I just know that feeling I have when something ‘gets to me’ in a way that stays. I want to revisit it again and again. The theme of becoming who you are, an individual who has to make her own path in life. The tip of a hat to the somewhat less than standardized vision of a filmmaker like TIm Burton. He’s a real man in a real job in an industry that’s out to cash in on people like me who love movies…fair enough, but I think he’s got a lot of the mad hatter in him and I see beyond the Disney logo. I might be blinded by the amazing world of Underland, Johnny Depp’s awesome and strange portrayal of the Hatter, and by the big smile on my own face, and that’s fine with me.

It’s a lift out of real reality for a bit and in the best way. Excellent imagination, good sense of humor, a glimmer of darkness, and a hero who has her whole life to figure out that she is not one to wear corsets and stockings just because society decided she has to….oh how I do understand.

I don’t want to come off as if I think the special effects are what makes this movie good. I’m totally blown away by the cast to be quite honest. Everyone is just right in their parts, taking it into that fantastical but modern kind of territory. (whatever that means) Helen Bonama Carter steels the show if you ask me. She’s incredibly vivacious and funny and wicked. Everyone really does pull it all together. The voices of the animal characters are spot on, even if you don’t recognize some of them because they are British 🙂

If I had more to say it would be all fluffy and grossly exaggerated praise for just this little movie that will come and go and be setting on DVD shelves for years to come. You might pull it out once in a while to relive the tale of the girl who goes through the looking glass. You might watch it again in a few years to laugh at the special effects the way we do with other movies from our cinematic past. You might pop it in the player when Johnny Depp is an old man and you want to revisit the glory days….whatever the reason you probably won’t have that “take a deep breath and enjoy the ride” feeling I know I’ll always have, which is a shame. If you do feel it, don’ t apologize for it. It’s Alice in Wonderland for goodness sake!

Audio & Video: 8/10 (By Ascully)
What an incredible visually spectacular movie Alice In Wonderland is, Tim Burton injects a huge sense of style and grandeur into this modern day retelling of a classic story.  As always Disney have a great Blu-Ray presentation here with a flawless 1080P VC1 encode that is easily in the top ten of this year’s best. Alice is a stylized film that is mostly computer generated. The Blu-Ray retains the theatrical vision perfectly. I have read several review’s that complain about an overall softness to the image, but it’s obviously director intended as the image is razor sharp when Alice is in the real world and slightly defocused during the Wonderland scenes.

The Blu-Ray version of Alice comes with a 5.1 DTS HD Master audio track that would even wake a Jabberwocky. From the opening scenes where Alice falls down the rabbit hole to the awesome climax the soundtrack has demo material written all over it. A special mention should be made of Danny Elfman’s score which sounds like a creepy version of the main Batman theme.

Overall I loved this movie and it takes away the sour taste Charlie and the Chocolate Factory left in my Tim Burton loving brain. The Blu-Ray is an essential purchase with the DVD & digital copy all included inside the box, and with stellar picture and sound it’s hard not to love this version of Alice.

Value: 8/10
As much as I obviously love this movie, I desperately despise that it’s over 30 bucks for this Blu-Ray. Yes, I understand it was expensive to make. I understand it has awesome extras. I get it. The thing is, someone keeps forgetting who you are making these movies for. Families don’t always have $30 to toss away on a movie. How about a smash hit movie like this being automatically $10? Why is that so bad? You have made your billion plus, why not give the rest of us a break? That being said, I would, and probably will watch this movie more times than a grown woman should admit so it’s a purchase for me.

Overall Score 10/10