Saturday, December 18, 2010

Movie Review of Alice in Wonderland (2010)

In teaching, the Buddha never spoke of humans as persons existing in some fixed or static way. Instead, he described us as a collection of five changing processes: the processes of the physical body, of feelings, of perceptions, of responses, and of the flow of consciousness that experiences them all. Our sense of self arises whenever we grasp at or identify with these patterns. The process of idenification, of selecting patterns to call "I", "me", "myself", is subtle and usually hidden from our awareness.
-Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart

This movie is not geared toward children. Not only does it have many frightening scenes but the plot is confusing and the language obscure. It is supposed to be an exciting adventure with heroines. I found it boring in several spots.

For adults, it seems to play with the concept of imposed self-identity, but this is weak. Alice, in the real world and in Wonderland, is continually told who she should and should not be. The minions of the Red Queen disguise themselves as freaks in order to meet her approval. Although the Red Queen's head continues to grow (one would assume representing ego) she is extremely insecure and aching for love. She can trust no one and comes off as sad and pitiable instead of the cold, domineering queen in Lewis Carroll's books.

Tim Burton does the usual odd and unique set and character design. Johnny Depp makes a freaky Mad Hatter. The special effects are notable and the costumes will probably be nominated for awards. The story depends too much on the special effects, bizarre creatures, and chase scenes to keep the viewer's interest.

The story is a combination of Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and invention. The Red Queen’s people are chess players while the White Queen’s are cards. Although the White Queen is good and beautiful and loved by her people, they never really justify why the elder sister did not have the right to the throne. The story jumps about in confusion. To top it off, Dodgeson’s obscure poetry is recited in a mumble almost as though Depp is bored himself.

Not worth the price.

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