ALICE IN WONDERLAND Blu-ray/DVD Review
ALICE IN WONDERLAND, starring Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway, will be released on DVD today, June 1, 2010 (get your copy on Amazon). I had the opportunity to check out the 3-disc combo pack, which includes the movie on Blu-ray, standard DVD, and a digital copy. I watched the Blu-ray version and really enjoyed this updated version of the story that features an older Alice. She’s feeling pressure to accept a marriage proposal from a humorless lord when she runs after a white rabbit and tumbles down a hole into Wonderland. Only it’s not the Wonderland that she visited as a child and has haunted her dreams ever since. Now that the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) is in power, it’s become Underland, a dark, scary place. It’s been foretold that Alice will slay the beast known as the Jabberwocky, thus returning the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to the throne. However, Alice doesn’t feel up to the challenge and will have to regain her “muchness” if she’s going to be successful.
From the story to the amazing visual effects to the performances, everything about Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland exceeded my expectations. I loved how Alice has a mission in this story, and during the course of it she becomes an empowering heroine. Alice’s journey of self-discovery was at the heart of the story, and it’s a journey that I think young girls will find very relatable. She has a great line where she says, “Sometimes I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Johnny Depp played the Mad Hatter with the perfect amount of crazy and didn’t take over the entire movie. I didn’t love him as Willy Wonka, so I was pleasantly surprised by his performance here. I also have to mention the voice actors like Alan Rickman (Blue Caterpillar) and Stephen Fry (Cheshire Cat), who were terrific.
Like I mentioned before, I was incredibly impressed with the visual effects of Alice in Wonderland. When Alice first enters Underland, the brightly colored vegetation against the dark backdrop just looked stunning on my TV. I can’t compare it to the 3-D version since I didn’t see it in the theater, but I definitely love how it looks on 2-D Blu-ray.
The Blu-ray disc includes a bonus feature called “Wonderland Characters” which explains how the characters were brought to life and includes interviews with the cast members. Thankfully it explained why the Mad Hatter occasionally had a Scottish accent in the movie. There is also the “Making of Wonderland” feature, which is a behind the scenes look at the music, special effects, stunts, and tea party cakes/props.
Overall, I really loved Alice in Wonderland and I can’t recommend it highly enough. A few parts are mildly scary (though never graphic) but I think it’s a movie the whole family can enjoy.