Saturday, March 13, 2010

Avatar & Wonderland

We finally got around to seeing Avatar last week (Hurray for matinees :) For once I agree with the hype. You've probably seen pictures of the incredible backdrops & Na'vi tribe, but let me tell you...stills can NOT do them justice! It is an AMAZING movie. I don't think I have ever cared so deeply for CG creations. The plotline has been done before, but I liked some of the touches even there. Jake never lied about who or what he was, which was a nice change. Okay, he did leave out an important point, but he made up for that too. :-) What Ferngully did poorly, this movie does extremely well...and only the head of the military wasn't a full-fledged character. One of the best scenes had Na'vi Lady Neytiri holding Jake's unconscious body. Both as a CG composite AND as a dramatic moment it totally worked. I related to her distress for Jake, and that is quite an accomplishment!

Disney's 2010 live action effort, Alice in Wonderland was less successful, despite a very strong cast and the ppuurrfect Cheshire Cat. The makeup they gave Depp's Mad Hatter was a definite distraction from his otherwise strong performance. The frequently grim, Burton-esque landscapes didn't help much either, though the plotline made sense of them. I give the whole experience a B+. The CG work was very good, the 3-D aspect did add to the experience, and I enjoyed the idea of this being set after the books. I felt the narrative was pretty (un:)reasonable, though not very deep...up to the end. I find I agree with those I overheard in the departing crowd. Alice herself was great but that ending needed work! Another small nit bugged me (heh)...the character of the Knave of Hearts seemed hugely inspired by Brad Dourif's roles as Wormtongue & Saavedro. I wondered why they didn't just hire him? DD opines that he might be too old now to reasonably represent the Red Queen's interest in a 'young subordinate.' (She's not designed to look very old herself, so DD might be right.)

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