That was my favorite Onion headline ever, after Gene Siskel died. I went to the movies last weekend, for the first time in…ages. I feel like surely I’ve seen a movie since the last Harry Potter, but I can’t be certain. I mean, I’ve seen them at home, but the theater? no. I abdicated taking-kids-to-movies duty to Steve and/or grandparents. I never even saw Up. But Johnny Depp and Tim Burton together was enough of a draw to drag me back into the theater. I was delighted to find that you don’t HAVE to watch it in 3D. What is it with you young people and your 3D? don’t you get enough of that in real life? Can’t you just accept that movies are flat and deal for a couple of hours? You can go back to your 3D world right after the movie is over.
While I’m Rooneying about this whole experience: why so many previews? Two or three, fine. Nice to see what’s coming up. Three or four, I would like to see the movie I paid for now, thanks. Five or SIX? mutheragod, people, I do not want to see any more of this crap! I get it, every children’s book written in the last 10 years has been made into a movie. And it will contain dragons. And it will be in 3D. And it will suuuuuuck. Now play. my. movie. I have things I need to do, I do not need 20 minutes tacked on so that I can know that Nic Cage has bills to pay.
The movie started out all costume-drama-y and made me realize I should re-watch the BBC Emma on Netflix Watch it Now this week (I love that service. I watched two episodes of the old TV show Fame last week, it held up surprisingly well. The acting was really stagey, but it was still enjoyable and Bruno was still dreeeaaamy. I’ve watched a couple episodes of The Tudors, too…can’t decide how I feel about that. I’m too distracted by how modern everyone looks. It’s irking me.). Once Alice goes down the rabbit hole, it gets all Burton-y. Really weird and dark, of course. The effects range from “holy crap, how’d they do THAT” to “is Roy Harryhausen still working?” The girl playing Alice is a stunning creature and well-cast for the role of the 19 year old Alice. My Johnny is kinda gross looking with his too-large eyes and pancake make-up. But he periodically lapses into a Scottish accent, which, yum. So I need to re-watch Finding Neverland too, apparently. There were several moments, though, in which he looked a LOT like Helena Bonham Carter. So it seems Tim Burton has consistent taste, at least. When we first see the Red Queen (played by HBC), I thought “oh please don’t let everyone in Underland have that creepy huge head.” It was kind of unsettling. But it was fine. The other disfigurements (giant ears, huge platter of breasts, long nose) were silly without being disturbing.
The story….drags. There were several times when I thought “okay, let’s just get to the big battle scene, I have things to do” but I’ve been established as an antsy movie-viewer. Said battle scene is so very Narnia, very pretty, and you know who wins. And it’s followed by a weird CGI Depp Dance (which, for reasons I cannot fathom, our audience applauded. Mr. Depp is not actually in the room. he cannot hear you). It does look cool, though, it’s mostly enjoyable, esp. if you don’t have the ants in your pants that I apparently have. Oh, and Crispin Glover is in it! When he first appeared, I thought “That dude looks just like Crispin Glover, only I’m pretty sure Mr. Glover would be older and institutionalized by now.” But it WAS him. Being batshit crazy apparently keeps you young. Wish I’d known.
Recommendation: If you plan to see it at all, see it in the theater. unless you have one of those monster-big screens in your house. I’m happy to sit most movies out at the moment, although I’d really like a seriously funny movie to come out. There hasn’t been one in a long while. I rented The Hangover, hoping to laugh my butt off, but I only snorted a couple of times. Things ARE funnier in the theater, though, so if something actually side-splitting shows up, let me know so I can drag my butt in there.