What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.
Alice in Wonderland 3D
Studio: Walt Disney
Product Release: December 7, 2010
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French & Spanish Dolby 5.1
Running Time: 109 Minutes
ON A SCALE 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 3
3D Separation: 3
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 2
To this day Tim Burton remains one of my favorite
directors. There was a time where his films were met with
the greatest of expectations. When Burton takes on original
projects such as Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before
Christmas or Big Fish I think the work is tremenous. However,
I think Burton is at his least best when attempting to take on
old ideas, remaking classic films such as Planet of the Apes
or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Alice in Wonderland falls somewhere inbetween. Rather than
being a remake, it's an inspired sequel of the original Lewis Caroll
classic. In fact, Burton took on this project because he personally
didn't feel a connection to the original story and wanted to do a sort
of "re-imagining." In a press conference Burton explained, "the goal
is to try to make it an engaging movie where you get some of the
psychology and kind of bring a freshness but also keep the classic
nature of Alice."
The story begins 13 years after the original, introducing us to Alice
(Mia Wasikowska) now a young adult at 19 years of age. She has
forgotten all of the events that have happened to her prior other than
strange dreams that she can't quite figure out. When Alice attends
her surprise engagement party where she is to be proposed to by
Lord Ascott, she becomes distracted by a white rabbit that she
chases after only to end up tumbling down a large hole. Sound
Alice finds herself back in "Wonderland" where she reacquaints
herself with old and new characters voiced by talents Alan Rickman,
Barbara Windsor, Stephen Fry and Crispin Glover. It is there that
a magic scroll reveals that she is destined to take on the nasty
Red Queen (Helena Bohham Carter) and slay her Jabberwocky.
With the help of The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and White Queen
(Ann Hathaway), Alice begins her uncertain adventure to make the
world right once more.
It's unfortunate that Alice In Wonderland ends up being just
mediocre. While Tim Burton has put his magic touch in creating
a wondrous world, the story just can’t uphold it. There are wonderful
performances here by Johnny Depp and particularly Helen Bohnam
Carter, but neither dominate the majority of the film's running time.
The story gets rather weighted during the film's initial 18 minutes
and somewhere towards the third act.
Alice in Wonderland was not originally shot for 3D. The filmmakers
apparently felt that due to the costs and clunky cameras that it would
be better to film in 2D and then convert to 3D. This process is generally
not well accepted by audiences, particularly when there have been
badly converted films like Warner's Clash of the Titans.
Surprisingly, the conversion looks fairly good. The problem is that
the quality of 3D doesn't remain consistent. The film's first scenes
which take place in the real world has a nice 3D feel to it with foreground
characters resembling cardboard cutouts. However, sometimes the
images seemingly go completely flat such as the carriage ride with
Alice and her Mother. Once Alice opens the tiny door into the "Underland"
world, the film takes on a beautiful 3D landscape that you look at
and think, "coooool." However, some scenes look more 3D pronounced
than others. I did enjoy those involving the Red Queen within her palace
where you get a real sense of depth between foreground and background.
If you are looking for any "In Yo' Face" moments where things lunge from
the screen, you will find very little. Once in a while swords, talking flowers
and even the brim of the Mad Hatter's hat will slightly extrude the 4th wall.
However, when objects are purposely thrown at the camera they tend to
blur as they come closer to the eye rather than give the effect they were
intended for. Still, I was enthralled enough with the quality of 3D that
I don't think I would have enjoyed the film as much without it.
Good news! I found hardly any ghosting issues. Those that exist happen
where it is expected -- in dark scenes. However, I don't think I saw a
minute's worth of ghosting throughout the entire film.
The transfer itself looks flawless, which is not surprising since most of
the film was shot digitally. Picture looks more soft than sharp and colors
more pale than vivid. Really, the most colorful scenes in the film involve
those with The Red Queen where the reds are highly punctuated.
Most enjoyable here is one of the most active surround tracks that I have
heard in quite some time. There is a constant array of dialogue and effect
sounds that dance around the channels. Watch the scene where Alice first
meets Tweddledee and Tweedledum in "Underland" and enjoy the conversation
moving from channel to channel. The forrest scenes seemingly come alive
thanks to the whispers, creaks and other various sounds that fill the rears.
The DTS-HD soundtrack robustly conveys Danny Elfman's score. Bass
response is rather subtle throughout with the exception of the scenes involving
the Bandersnatch and Jaberwocky.
Nice little touch here is that there are no trailers or other non-essentials
included on the front of the presentation. Essentially the viewer is taken
directly to the main menu shortly after inserting the disc.
I have to give props to Disney. Alice In Wonderland was a title
originally bundled solely for release with Sony hardware. I had criticized
the studio early on for not releasing enough 3D content for the first
big 3D holiday season. The announcement that this title would be
released retail came suddenly only a mere two weeks ago and in
time for Christmas.
Though I personally don't think Alice In Wonderland is nearly the
best film Tim Burton has made I do feel that Disney has put together
a 3D Blu-ray worthy of everyone's consideration. It's not consistently
the best 3D title I have watched but it does succeed as being good enough
to be the perfect choice for a family night gathering.
LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display
LG BX580 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3808CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer