Tag Archives: Johnny Depp

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?

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

My Deep Dark Secret: I HATE Willy Wonka!

When I was a little girl, we had to watch the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie in school.  While most of my classmates sat on the library floor pin straight and smiling, rapt with attention, mouths watering from all that candy on the screen; I was hunched over in a ball, eyes intently studying my fingers, tears on my cheeks, praying for the bell to ring. 

The truth of the matter was, everything about this movie frightened me.  To me, the Oompa Loompas looked like demonic oranges thirsting for blood . . .

. . . or, perhaps, the cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore, whichever you prefer. 

(“Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.”)

And Gene Wilder had the same wild and crazy eyes Jack Nicholson had in The Shining, not exactly the ideal babysitter, if you know what I mean.  Not to mention what the “kindly” Willy Wonka did to the kids.  I mean, I get that this movie was based on a  Roald Dahl novel that was supposed to be a cautionary tale against childhood misbehavior.  But, seriously, did the harsh punishments really fit the crimes here? 

At the end of the original film, Wonka assures Charlie that all of the other kids will be returned to their normal selves.  And yet, after each child met his or her respective fate, we never saw any of them again.  As a child, I truly believed that Willy Wonka killed them all.  After all, isn’t that exactly what adults told kids when someone or something died – that they just “went away?” 

Sound crazy to you?  Look at the evidence.  Violet Beauregard eats a piece of gum that she isn’t supposed to eat, and, as a result becomes instantly and morbidly obese.  What kind of message is that for young girls?  Not only does she become obese, her skin becomes blue, as in, suffocation blue.  That girl was a coronary waiting to happen, if you ask me.

Augustus Gloop served as another threat against the dangers of overeating.  (You might as well call this movie Jenny Craig for Kids.) 

(“Come on, boys and girls . . . They have Chicken Fettucini . .  FETTUCINI!!!!!”)

Augustus gets sucked into a chocolate fudge pipe and dumped into a chocolate fudge river.  Now, I’m no science buff, so I’m not quite an expert on the buoyancy properties of fudge.  However, I know it’s not meant for swimming.  And to me, it kind of looked like the poor kid drowned . . .

The spoiled Veruca Salt gets attacked by rabid squirrels (Note: I’m from New Jersey, so all squirrels are rabid, as far as I’m concerned.)  She then gets dropped down a high shoot, with nothing to pad her fall.  Couch potato Mike Teevee is shrunk to teeny weeny size, and, the way I saw it, probably ended up stepped on and squashed like a bug.

In 2005, Tim Burton remade the film in such a way that you actually saw the “bad kids” exiting the factory at the end of the movie, alive and well.  And yet, while not quite as traumatic (I was also a bit older by this point), this version still creeped me out.  That inexplicable back story Tim Burton added made Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka look like a pedophile who was definitively abused and possibly molested as a child.  And that dentist chair scene?  I get chills just thinking about it . . .

(“I’ve been waiting for you . . . little Clarice.”)

So, as you can see, when it comes to Willy Wonka, I’m simply not a fan.  Please don’t hate me!

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Filed under Charlie and the Chocolate Factory