I wonder where to start, which rather shadows this film. After a wildly ill-judged (in my opinion) opening, this film took what seemed ages to actually get started following a stodgy series of expositional scenes, only really settling down at the halfway point, from which it was fine, albeit terribly uninvolving- maybe even boring.
But I’m hardly the target audience of fluff like this, and if I were to throw this film back a few decades to my younger self back in the 1970s, I would likely have been enthralled. I mean, technically, sure, this things something of a marvel, the many effects houses throwing all sorts of amazing imagery on the screen. Its difficult sometimes to appreciate in this CGI-dominated age just how remarkable some of this imagery in modern films can be compared to what we were used to. I’m sure young children lap this stuff up and are thoroughly thrilled by it. So yes, I’m hardly the target audience, but… but really, it seems pretty wild and without much reason. I can imagine the studio chiefs standing behind the effects boffins screaming “More pixels! More pixels!”
So my issues were from the vary start with a wildly extravagant and spectacular opening sequence of a naval chase/battle through a raging storm. I mean… well, this is real-world stuff apparently, and its wholly a subjective view, but I thought the whole point of these fairy-tales of characters entering fantastic worlds is that the fantastic worlds are, er, more fantastic than reality? I’m not suggesting that the film should have filmed the real-world stuff in black and white and jump into colour in the fantasy land as per Wizard of OZ, but there was a point to that ageless classic when it took that conceit. At least this film should have cemented, I think, the reality of the real world of Alice by layering it in some kind of realism. As it is, the opening is wilder and dafter than Pirates of the Carribean, and features the unlikely sight of a female captain of the high seas in Alice (Mia Wasikowska, utterly slumming it here, like the rest of the cast) in preposterous CGI high-jinks on wholly digital seas. Going through the mirror after this stuff seems rather pointless, we’re clearly in fantasy-land already.
By the time the plot finally gets going we’re mid-way through the film and have already been assaulted by endless CGI. Really, films like this are as much animated movies per Pixar’s stuff as they are live-action. Much less coherent, too, to be honest. It certainly looks pretty but it is wholly boring- but, as I have noted earlier, I’m not the target audience- this films arrives about forty-odd years too late for me. I’m sure its got its fans but they are surely hardly the discerning lot, really.
The rest of us really should avoid such dross.