Anatomy of a Trailer: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

By now, you know that I LOVE television shows, particularly hour-long dramas.  What you may not know is that I also love movie trailers!  It’s a bit hard for me to admit this, but, sometimes, I find movie trailers to be the best part of the movie-going experience.

(Sometimes the movie trailers you see before the movie are even better than the movie itself . . . MUCH BETTER!)

Movie trailers are not just entertaining, they are also cost efficient.  Consider this: according to the National Association for Theater Owners, the average movie ticket price in 2009 was $7.50 cents.  And I live just outside New York City, where movie tickets can set you back as much as $13!  These are some pretty hefty prices to pay for ONE MOVIE that you may or may not actually enjoy. 

On the other hand, if I get to the theater early, I can sit through 20 minutes of trailers.  These trailers contain all of the best scenes (often giving away most of the plot and, sometimes, the ending) of some FIVE or SIX movies . . . ALL FOR FREE

If you don’t get to the movies early enough to catch the trailers, that’s OK, because movie trailers are also on television.  Then again, maybe you missed the trailer for  Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland on TV too.    Perhaps you fast-forwarded through it with your DVR.  Or, maybe, you were peeing during it.  Fear not, because this is where I come in . . .

A lot of juice for one trailer right.? Here’s what I saw . . .

:18 – Mia Wasikowska, who was absolutely awesome as the troubled gymnast, Sophie, during Season 1 of HBO’s In Treatment, will be taking the helm as the titular Alice.  My initial thought was that she looked a bit old to be playing the young child from Lewis Carroll’s novels.  Later, however, I read that Burton’s Alice will not actually be a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, nor its follow-up Through the Looking Glass, but, rather, a sequel of sorts.  Here, Alice revisits Wonderland 10 years later, with no memory of her experiences from the first two books.

This is an important fact to note for high school students who are assigned the Alice books as required reading, as I was during my junior year.  This movie will NOT HELP YOU!  (Unfortunately, neither will the original Disney cartoon).

“Oh dear!  If I knew I ACTUALLY had to READ, I wouldn’t have smoked so much with Caterpillar . . .”

:22 – Is it just me, or does the guy proposing to Alice look a bit like Ronald Weasley from the Harry Potter films?

:40 – Down the rabbit hole goes Alice . . .

:54 – CGI Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are really creepy looking.  They are the size of Oompa Loompas, wear clothing like Pugsley from Addams Family, and have heads like Uncle Fester (also from the Addams Family).  No me likey . . .

:59 – The Cheshire Cat is kind of cute looking, as is the White Rabbit.  I guess Disney needed something they could sell as a stuffed animal from this film that wouldn’t give kids nightmares . . .

1:03 – Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter looks like someone took Johnny Depp’s Edward Scissorhands, crossed him with Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, and dropped the amalgamation in a vat of tie dye.  One day, I’d like to see Johnny Depp really push the acting envelope and play . . . an accountant.  Now that would be risky!  (I can’t hate on Johnny Depp though.  In a Hollywood world filled with divas and D-bags, sources tell me that he is a stand up guy, not to mention a big tipper!)

1:18 – The Tea Party scene was my favorite, both in the first Alice book, and in the Disney movie.  It looks like Burton did a great job representing it here.

1:25 – Here’s Helena Bonham Carter, as the Red Queen, doing what she does best: playing a character who is wacked out, crazy, and creepy . . .  but has awesome hair!  She seems to be playing croquet using a flamingo as a mallet, just as the characters did in the first Alice book.

1:41 – Piglets are adorable, even when they have Helena Bonham Carter’s feet on them.

1:52 – Here, it looks as though Alice is the rook in a giant game of chess being played out between the Red Queen and the White Queen.  In the second Alice  book, Through the Looking Glass, a chess game is the framing device for the story, with Alice playing the pawn.  If you buy the Cliff Notes for the book, (which I did) you will actually find a chess diagram that maps out Alice’s precise chess moves in the story from pawn to Queen.  Coincidentally, a life-sized chess board was also featured in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (both in the book and in the movie version).

1:58 – Anne Hathaway looks absolutely stunning as the White Queen.  In the past few years, Hathaway has really shown herself to be a brilliantly versatile actress.  She has definitely come far since her Princess Diaries days.  I suspect we will be enjoying her films for a long time to come . . .

2:17 – Here we get our first glimpse of the Jabberwocky, which is described, in a poem that Alice reads in Through the Looking Glass, as a dragon-type monster.  Burton has said that the Jabberwocky story will be the framing device for his film, just as a card game framed the first Alice book, and a chess game framed the second.  I think this is kind of a strange choice, seeing as the Jabberwocky poem is actually jibberish.  But I’ll admit that the concept is  intriguing . . .

2:24 – Ah, another movie in 3D . . . I am really glad I saved those goofy glasses I bought last month to see Avatar.  That’s going to save me $3.00!

So, those were my thoughts on the trailer.  What did you think?

1 Comment

Filed under Movie Trailer Recaplets, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

One response to “Anatomy of a Trailer: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

  1. Amazon Annie

    I guess that Tim Burton does not want to toy with success. I recently saw an exhibit of his art in the Museum of Modern Art….and mostly it scared the begeezus out of me. Tim Burton is a master of the macabre, making the most innocuous of objects terrifying (to me anyway). So he now is lending his talents and his time honored and successful tricks to Alice and Wonderland. This will probably make it unwatchable to me. Here are his “time honored” tricks. Use Johnny Depp in every movie. Use his wife, Helena Bonham Carter, in his movies….might as well spread the wealth to the family. Make everyone look weird..in a scary way. Thanks for the look at the trailer…although it might make me pass on the movie. Great recap!

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