Alice in Wonderland - A Vintage Scathing Review

Posted , by Harv
Note: this review was published on the original Popcorn Lobotomy Blog (yep, before it was a YouTube channel) sometime in March 2010. It is reprinted here for nostalgia and comedic purposes.
This one ended up being the subject of a PCL Scathing Review video on YouTube: check it out!


I went to see Alice in Wonderland because, to be honest, my expectations were so low that I figured it would have to pleasantly surprise me. Well, that, and my girlfriend wanted to see it. The relationship is new and I'm a bit whipped, so I didn't insist on seeing Hot Tub Time Machine like I really wanted.

We're going to see "How To Train Your Dragon" next week, which sounds to me like a euphemistic instructional video for jerking off... but whatever.

Anyway, when you come out a film saying your favourite part was a retarded rabbit that would randomly throw things at the other characters for hilarious slapstick effect, you know something, somewhere, has gone awry.

Lost Down the Rabbit Hole

I don't think I've read the original text of "Alice in Wonderland" or "Through the Looking Glass", or "Alice and the Great Glass Elevator", or "Alice and the Giant Peach", or whatever. To be honest all these classic children's books kinda meld together for me.

I used to love reading "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins", "The Yowie that Nobody Wanted" and "Dogger" when I was a kid, none of which turned out to be classics (a travesty for "Yowie" which is an awesomely sad and quirky tale).

Off-topic for a second, I did read "Where the Wild Things Are", which was recently turned into an inspirationally magical movie by Spike Jonze, hence doesn't get a mention on this site.

[Siegfried voice] We do NOT praise moofies on Popcorn Lobotomy!

Anyway, my point is, I'm a very big Lost fan, and of course I loved the original Matrix, both of which make many references to Alice in Wonderland like it's some sort of holy grail of allegorical scripture.

So if I had any expectations of "Alice" at all, it would be that it would have enough depth to justify the references. Perhaps a few musings on the nature of reality? Or just SOMETHING beyond culminating in a big slap-in-the-face metaphor of - WOW - a CHESS GAME! I couldn't even work out which piece was supposed to be which, but I'm sure it's brilliant in the book :

But what's the message here; what's the point? If Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" is any indication, whatever meaning has been attached to it over the years has been as tenuous as my bowel movements following an entire evening mixing my spirits with pink grapefruit juice.

The Director

I don't mind Tim Burton. Sure, he's a mostly visual director with hit-and-miss stories, and he's obviously scheduled enough dirty threesomes with Johnnie Depp and Helena Bottom-Carter to have his mind totally wiped of any knowledge of other actors... but he's made enough good movies for me to overlook the fact than I vomit in my mouth a little every time I think about the pink houses in Edward Scissorhands.

Yep, there it goes again, without fail. Has anyone got a napkin and a glass of PH-neutral, lactose-free milk?

I'd like to say he's done a good job here. Most people seem to like the visuals. But then again, most people liked Transformers II, which proves that they have the mental capacity of a dim-witted, brain-damaged ex-laboratory monkey.

Truth is, the visuals are way to weird and kooky to be fun. Depp's white make-up, orange eye-shadow and outrageous costumes would make him look out of place even in a gay "Steam Room" in 1800's high society. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum freaked me out like the time my Dad showed me some failed experiments he did in the 50s attempting to get Llamas to grow lactating humps.

And everything else is done by technology... lasers, I think... anyway, so he doesn't get credit for the cool-looking rottweiler puppies, the Cheshire Cat, or the March Hare, which were all pretty shithouse anyway.

And this might sound like a nit-pick, but Tim, buddy, why couldn't you decide what happens to a person's clothes when they eat the magic potion or the growth cake? In my opinion, you've gotta have a very good excuse not to show a naked girl when you get the chance in a movie. If Alice shrinks out of her clothes, or grows so large they should tear free from her body, you've got to either show her tits, or just bite the bullet and say that her clothes change size too.

And don't get all underage on me. You can't tell me the English Lord Alice was supposed to marry wasn't gonna bounce her bones in the honeymoon suite 6 seconds after the marriage ceremony called it a wrap!

The Acting

Look, I admit that Johnnie Depp did a good job of bringing a slight air of humanity to his Mad Hatter character. And when you're walking around looking so utterly ridiculous that my pet dog would refuse to sniff your balls out of fear, that's saying something.

And the girl that played Alice was pretty good. And even the slightly clichéd scenes of her dealing with family pressure and an arranged marriage to a fanta-pants English Lord in the "real world" were quite good.

The problem was that none of that matters much, because I knew it was going to end up like an overnight stay at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, so I didn't care about the solid emotional grounding in the real world.

The Conclusion

So what did we learn? Well, somehow being tricked into falling down a rabbit hole, changing size various times and hanging out with creepy talking animals gave Alice the confidence to metaphorically kick a Lord in his nuts and pull out of a marriage that would surely have led to morbid bedroom shenanigans involving a rubber duck, nipple clamps and a shit-load of leather accessories.

By the way, this entire review has been a masterful allegorical reference to a game of Pictionary.

But really who gives a flying fuck?

1.5 stars, for... I dunno, not being too boring.