Monday, March 15, 2010

I Wonder

What goes on in Tim Burton's mind? That question popped up time and time again as I watched his revisionist take on "Alice In Wonderland." Burton's new interpretation got mixed reviews, but the reality is that Lewis Carroll's book is filled with ambiguities, and that is a huge part of it's appeal. Some people see it as silly, others - menacing. Is Alice dreaming, or can we suspend disbelief and tumble down the rabbit hole with her, enjoying every odd moment, and wishing we could be her for just one day?

What I really enjoyed was that the 3D did not own the story, but enhanced it. This is great 3D - not the little paper glasses with one blue lens and one red lens. This new development is so effective that, at the point when Alice is being flown to the Red Queen's castle, I got that love it-hate it roller coaster stomach churn. Mia Wasikowski, the relative unknown playing Alice, surely has a nice career ahead of her.

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter? It works. The character is mad, as his name implies, and Depp's versatility has him bouncing from the depths of wounded darkness, to teasing repartee. Depp pays homage to some of his other equally bizarre characters including Edwad Scissorhands, Sweeny Todd, and Willie Wonka, with subtle, but detectable winks and smiles.

Despite the annoyingly puzzling crush I have on this guy, he was not my favorite character. That distinction goes to Matt Lucas playing both Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Lucas has been on my radar since I first discovered him in a sketch comedy show on BBC called "Little Britain." He has range, impeccable timing, and plays each character with reckless abandon. Loved him in this movie!

I wish I could have seen the movie in my own town, but we didn't get it in 3D. But going to the Sheboygan theatre reminded me going to the movies as a kid. The packed movie house, in addition to being spiffy clean, was filled with activity. Kids skipped and giggled as they hustled to their respective theatres. They were jumping up and down, applauding, and calling out instructions to help Alice avoid trouble. For me, the best part of the entire experience was when the little girl behind me whacked me in the head at the very end. She was reaching out to catch the luminous, blue butterfly flitting above our heads. Good times.

Now, for a minor rant. Outside the theatre door was a box instructing us to recycle our 3D glasses to be sterilized and repackaged and reused. A mom came out right after me with three kids, and she told them to keep their glasses. The kids questioned her about it and she said it was "Optional." Way to go mom. You know the glasses are worthless on rental movies and TV shows, and you have given your kids a solid lesson in dishonesty. And, if in the future, I have to buy 3D glasses instead of having them loaned to me as a courtesy, I will blame you and others like you who can't respect simple rules. GRRRRR.

On to sillier's a little glimpse of the foolishness we're preparing for you for this year's Heart-A-Rama. Gary stopped by for a costume fitting last week and graciously posed for this picture. He'll be singing a lovely rendition of "I'm Called Little Buttercup" in a sketch entitled "Ain't that Sumthin' - 40 Year in 4 Minutes."

Hope to see you there. Get your tickets at Piggly Wiggly in Manitowoc or at Inman Jewelers in Two Rivers.