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Alice in Wonderland


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#1 Gus Sacks

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 06:32 PM

We saw it in 3D (Real-D) last night on a fairly small screen. I felt like the photography served the story well considering the content and themes of the story. I did not feel like the 3D served anything well in any way. I'm already getting sick and tired of 3D (especially films not even shot in 3D) and I can tell it's not going away any time soon, unfortunately, when the new Aliens is going to be done in 3D. I felt like those 3D glasses knock the brightness down some, but there's also a noticeable green tint applied I'm sure because of the tint of the glasses. But why wouldn't they tweak even the projection to counter-act that? I would take off the glasses when I could tell there wasn't much 3D going on, and it was so much more colorful and saturated and clean. Anyone else have anything to add to that or otherwise?
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:28 PM

But there's also a noticeable green tint applied I'm sure because of the tint of the glasses. But why wouldn't they tweak even the projection to counter-act that? I would take off the glasses when I could tell there wasn't much 3D going on, and it was so much more colorful and saturated and clean. Anyone else have anything to add to that or otherwise?


I saw "Alice" at an AMC IMAX-3D last night. I noticed green/magenta shift on the projector being used for the ads and trailers (and also the ads/trailers when I saw "Avatar") but when they fired up the IMAX projectors for the feature I checked some white elements in the picture and there was no color shift.

PS: I'm a little more forgiving now about IMAX using that name for their 3D digital system. It's not 15 perf IMAX by any means but it does make a pretty good picture in an IMAX-3D converted house.

As for the movie itself, I thought the Wonderland portion was pretty good but everything above ground was T-E-D-I-O-U-S and a total bore.
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#3 John Holland

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 04:20 PM

Havent seen "Alice" yet but i think 3D will be down the toilet on about 2 years max ,yet again .
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 07:27 PM

I saw it in Real-D digital projection... I had mixed reactions, both good and bad.

Good in the sense that whereas before I was never really sold on doing post 3D to 2D live-action, here I thought it worked fine, just as well probably if they had bothered to shoot it in 3D. Why is that good? Well, besides eliminating the headaches of shooting 3D, it opens the possibility of shooting a good 2D movie without necessarily having to use digital cameras. I've always been a bit worried because every recent 3D movie I've seen has been shot on 1080P HD equipment and looked like it in the 2D versions. Whereas I can imagine that the 2D version of "Alice" looks pretty nice.

Which brings me to the bad.

First of all, it seems that 3D projection can't avoid milkiness in bright scenes or shots with bright areas in the frames like hot windows. I noticed that in "Avatar" and I noticed it here. It makes most of the movie look like it was flashed 10% or more.

Second, I felt that this was good 2D photography being turned into 3D with rarely any good reason to do so. It rarely added much to the experience except for the startling moment when Alice falls down the rabbit hole. That.. and it was cool to have 3D dust motes & dandelion pollen floating around, just like it was cool in "Avatar" when ashes were falling in 3D.

Halfway through the movie I wished I was seeing the 2D version so I could just concentrate on the image and the story, rather than be distracted by the third dimension. Now maybe if I see the 2D version, I'll miss the 3D world it created, I don't know. Maybe it will seem less immersive and more CGI-ish in 2D.
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#5 Matt Leaf

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 02:35 AM

I saw it last night.

A rather boring film.

Strangely reminded me a lot of The Legend of Zelda video game series...

Edited by Matt Tierney, 08 March 2010 - 02:39 AM.

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#6 Chris Millar

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 04:23 AM

Yup,

I concur with the main them here - saw Avatar, had some wow moments (how much of this was just the creatures design though ?) - anyway, then forget about the 3D and got a chance to concentrate on the plot holes instead.

Alice, the biggest 3D wow moment was the IMAX logo at the top of the film - I walked out thinking I'm completely over it.

Had a much more immersive experience with the IMAX scenes in The Dark Night - that I'd like to see more of...
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 08:11 AM

I've always been a bit worried because every recent 3D movie I've seen has been shot on 1080P HD equipment and looked like it in the 2D versions. Whereas I can imagine that the 2D version of "Alice" looks pretty nice.

Which brings me to the bad.

First of all, it seems that 3D projection can't avoid milkiness in bright scenes or shots with bright areas in the frames like hot windows. I noticed that in "Avatar" and I noticed it here. It makes most of the movie look like it was flashed 10% or more.



I've seen it in both 3D and 2D (helps being able to sneak into the former for free with a sneak preview pass; I saw it with an audience of *THREE* the night before opening :-) ).


While I could have sworn it was shot on film in the trailer, both film and 2K DLP versions I saw looked very very digital, blown highlights, or I guess you could call it milkiness, but that same quality was there on the film prints as well, unfortunately. I don't know how they made the film trailer look *better* than the actual film, but they ought to win a Best Cinematography award, if you know what I mean :)

So, if this was shot on film, they shouldn't have bothered because it looked just as digital at the end as if they would've shot it with an F900. This is a real shame, because, I agree, it was well photographed, what little live-action parts there were. I was disappointed the lack of practicals, animatronics, and non-CG effects. The one shot where the Depp Mad Hatter character is walking over the table, the table and the things he is stepping on are the only "real" things in that shot. I could imagine the tedium of shooting an obviously green-wall painted room with only a table in it 7 or 8 times at midnight. . .



There were a few gimicky 3D "ping pong ball shot at your face" shots in there, but the 3D was otherwise not just unimpressive, but completely under-utilized.

Frankly, hype and 3D ticket premiums aside (which thankfully I didn't have to contribute to), what was the point of releasing this movie in 3D?
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#8 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 03:59 PM

So, if this was shot on film, they shouldn't have bothered because it looked just as digital at the end as if they would've shot it with an F900.


I believe it was shot on the genesis, with certain scenes or shots on the dalsa 4k so that Tim could blow it up in post.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 05:06 PM

I believe it was shot on the genesis, with certain scenes or shots on the dalsa 4k so that Tim could blow it up in post.


It looked very film-like to me, at least it did digitally-projected, I had just assumed that the "clippier" shots were digitally-timed that way, which is why those felt more like digital photography, but if it was shot on the Genesis, then I thought it looked pretty good on the whole except for those clippy shots, and the general milkiness I mentioned that 3D projection seems to suffer from in bright scenes (which were both clippy and milky.)

Like I said, I have mixed feelings about the look. But the fact that it was 2D converted to 3D still suggests that one could shoot a 3D movie without resorting to digital cameras, which seem the defacto choice for true 3D movies these days.
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#10 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 05:59 PM

It looked very film-like to me, at least it did digitally-projected, I had just assumed that the "clippier" shots were digitally-timed that way, which is why those felt more like digital photography, but if it was shot on the Genesis, then I thought it looked pretty good on the whole except for those clippy shots, and the general milkiness I mentioned that 3D projection seems to suffer from in bright scenes (which were both clippy and milky.)

Like I said, I have mixed feelings about the look. But the fact that it was 2D converted to 3D still suggests that one could shoot a 3D movie without resorting to digital cameras, which seem the defacto choice for true 3D movies these days.


Here's a link where Tim Burton talks about the cameras:
http://www.wired.com..._relatedContent

There is a shot early on (an exterior) that's clearly a 35mm Panavision camera. It is an exterior though, which leads me to suppose that the the 'real' stuff may have been shot on film, and the greenscreen/underland stuff on digital...
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#11 George Ebersole

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 12:54 PM

I had my car worked on yesterday, so I took in a matinee at the theatre up the street.

Meh... it was an interesting film. I thought it was visually rich. I also saw it in standard 2D, but noticed how the 3D effect might have been used.

I'm still not convinced that 3D, as the technology stands now, is the way of the future.
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#12 John Holland

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:11 PM

There is nothing new about 3D now apart from shooting digital , same sad glasses etc. its just another 20 year cycle when this comes up again !! Its boring .
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#13 Jeff Kolada

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:13 PM

I was really hesitant to see it in 3D, and I actually had the choice of 2D with a theater a bit further away. Went with the 3D and i'm glad I did.

Yes, they shot it in 2D with a single camera, but almost everything in Wonderland was shot in front of a green screen and comped in. At this point they can do just about anything they want in 3D because they already know that it will be a 3D release. It's not like the whole movie was composed down into 2D and then rotoscoped into 3D... just the beginning and end. Either way I was really impressed by the 3D and to me it was another piece of Tim Burton eye candy, which is really the only reason I saw the movie.

I've heard rumors that they're converting Titanic to 3D.... If they roto that whole film from the 2D print that's what I will be comparing against the 3D camera systems of avatar. Unless they can go back and pull all the CG work that was done, considering that movie as well had quite a bit of green screen action.

And I can't really see 3D going away anytime soon. At least this "real-D" depth stuff that they're doing. I just hope we get to lose the glasses soon. Those things annoy the hell out of me. But overall I enjoy the visual depth of the images.
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#14 Dominic Case

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 10:43 PM

YAWN!

Even when the subject title is "Alice in Wonderland", we get mostly a diatribe on whether the 3D is any good, or if it looks like film or digital.

It's no wonder that so many drearily unoriginal films are made when the response to the cinematic values of the film is so dull.

I know films don't set out to replicate books exactly - they are different media. But surely it is a requirement that if you are going to use the same title as a book, then you need to do more than use the same characters and set pieces.

Lewis Carroll's book was a brilliantly original and amusing but donnish look at some of the conundrums of language, logic, epistemology and philosophy, set out to entertain young children. Alice's voyage is one of inquiry. She reaches the end of the book with new wisdom.

Burton's film is a fast-moving colourful adventure in an absolutely standard cookie-cutter mould of "Alice sets out to rescue the world from the mad emperor." She reaches the end of the film with eventual triumph,having "restored order" in Wonderland, and as an afterthought, having turned into a feisty young woman who won't marry the rich young idiot, and goes off to conquer the "real" world.

How is this the same story?
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#15 George Ebersole

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 11:10 PM

I have to admit I found the movie a little cliche. We've seen the classic hero/heroine returns to do-good theme before, so the basic premise seemed like a retread in that regard.

That being said I actually liked the characters. I thought the Queen of Hearts was the best character in the film; an arrogant self-centered witch (though it took a while to get used to the "big head" thing).

The big-battle at the end seemed pretty formulaic, but I guess the audience was expecting a big brawl at the end. As an exploration of Caroll's work, yeah, the film doesn't do a whole lot there. It's your standard fantasy actioner.

Did anybody else feel that Depp's part in this film was over sold? I mean, the Hatter's important, but it's not like he's the main focus of the whole film or anything.
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#16 Dominic Case

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 11:46 PM

I mean, the Hatter's important, but it's not like he's the main focus of the whole film or anything.

I guess this is a good example of the influence a "star" might have on a script. Sure, the Hatter's not that important, but if you want Johnny Depp, you've gotta build it up a bit, even if you are Tim Burton.
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#17 Freya Black

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 08:48 AM

SPOILERS

Dominic,

I have already mentioned my thoughts on the film itself outside of the tech talk, and I just don't think there is that much to discuss about it. I found the film started off as a good, refreshing Jane Austen satire in the real world, but, ironically, as soon as it went to Wonderland the absurd Burton/Carroll humour seemed to die pretty quickly. It just seemed to turn into some straight faced, flat CGI kiddy adventure epic with an endless string of chase sequences that felt like they came out of a PIXAR movie and then a humourless battle scene without an iota of Carroll or Burton's surrealist sensibility. It's all played like a Lord of the Rings movie, where the fantasy becomes reality. Amid this there are some dreary but too brief rationalisation moments of Alice and Hatter explaining to the audience the reality of Wonderland, further diffusing the fantasy but even these are too lighthearted to be credibly angsty.

I thought Burton did great with Soundheim and Dahl previously, infact Dahl's stuff is more immediately black humoured than Carroll. Yet somehow on this they decided to tiptoe around what I feel is Burton's strength and Carroll's brilliance: the humour. Although I found they still had time to shoehorn in Jabberwocky, albeit turning him into a dreary, CGI Harry Potter Gekko monster (and kind of undoing Carroll's character in the process by merging the two stories). Jabberwocky is played as a serious threat, like a video game end of level boss, and not as an absurd, nonsensical creation of Carroll's book. I felt they basically took a series of books and iconography based around escapism and surrealism and turned them into a two hour, formulaic action adventure film that displayed all of Burton's weaknesses as a storyteller.

There were some great moments where I felt we got Burton engaging pretty well with Carroll, such as the scene in which a frog guard is caught guilty of eating a tart, and much of the characterisation of the various British TV actors was pretty spot on. Barbara Windsor as the doormouse,Matt Lucas as the Tweedles and Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen- I felt were fantastically realised. Johnny Depp too. I just wish there had been more fun on display as opposed to seemingly making this decided U Turn away from the surreal humour. The only time the dreary tone is really ever broken is when Depp inexplicably bursts out into a character breaking, semi-modern dance number that lasts about ten seconds towards the end of the film, and it's so jarring I felt like I was watching an outtake that they forgot to trim.



Check out Miranda Richardson's Queeny from the TV show BlackAdder. It's not like Richardson is a stranger to Burton either (she was the villain in Sleepy Hollow)!


Miranda Richardson actually played the Red Queen in the 1999 version of Alice in Wonderland too! :)

I quite liked that version of Alice, although I tend to find that all versions of Alice tend to be flawed in some way or another. It's quite fun to see different takes on the film tho. My favourite is the Jonathon Miller version with the Ravi Shanker soundtrack... ...but then you probably already guessed that. ;) Really nice B&W cinematography with a bit of an homage to Cocteau going on there too. Great stuff.

love

Freya

Edited by Freya Black, 17 March 2010 - 08:51 AM.

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#18 Freya Black

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 09:06 AM

Apologies, I really didn't need to quote ALL of that but I ran out of time to edit it down when I realised what I had done.

Also Miranda Richardson played the queen of hearts and not "The Red Queen" in the 1999 version of ALice in wonderland, but I'm sure you know what I meant!

Post in haste, repent at leisure! ;)

love

Freya
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#19 Freya Black

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 10:09 AM

I get the impression, nobody quite understands Tim Burton. I expect some producers thought Tim would be great for Alice and I think we can all understand why they thought that but as it turns out Tim doesn't even seem to like Alice in Wonderland much. He described it as being a strange book in which Alice passively drifts around from scenario to scenario and stuff happens to her. He has a point. Certainly Alice is not a book with a great plot. After all this is a story that ends "and I woke up and it was all a dream" (sorry if I just ruined the ending for anyone but you know).

Having said that theres something very carrol about the fact he is completely right but has missed the whole point! Alice isn't about the plot. It's about the characters, their interactions and the journey. In fact it's a book that is more about the journey than getting anywhere. Trying to turn the book into some kind of distorted version of campbells "the heroes journey" is a bit of a mistake I think. It seems that often people are too focussed on plot in films and it's not the be all and end all.

I've not seen Tims Alice yet and don't feel I need to see it in 3d but ironically it once again seems flawed. Usually the films are flawed because the filmmakers have to make so many compromises but here Tim Burton could do almost anything. Quite strange.

Anyway I'm wondering if anyone else here has seen HBO's new Alice film. I'm not sure if this was already being planned in the wake of Tin Man or if it was rushed into production on hearing about the new Disney film, or perhaps a bit of both, either way it has worked out really well for HBO with all the interest on the back of Tim Burtons film.

My take on it was that it did seem slightly rushed in places and there was a little too much exposition and explanation to start with in a way that wasn't subtle but I do think the film works overall and it is worth watching from a cinematography and design perspective tool. HBO have gone even further that Tim Burton and thrown almost everything out from the original book. They seem to have just kept sort of archetypes or referances to the book. It's strangely something a bit like blade runner meets Alice in Wonderland which in itself is an interesting idea. I wasn't sure how well their Alice character worked, again she seemed way too far from Alice but then most of the charcters were far from their original inspiration. I did like the Hatter character and felt he mostly worked. I thought it was intresting to completely throw the original book out but then to constantly make referance to it. It lacks the senxe of humour of the book completely but then I think that is better than making a bad comedy that is loosely based on the work of carrol.

Personally I think if you get the chance it's worth checking out.

love

Freya

Edited by Freya Black, 17 March 2010 - 10:11 AM.

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#20 Hal Smith

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 10:33 AM

ITrying to turn the book into some kind of distorted version of campbells "the heroes journey" is a bit of a mistake I think. It seems that often people are too focussed on plot in films and it's not the be all and end all.


The process of getting a script greenlit unfortunately includes its getting read by people who couldn't write a good script if it meant their life but are convinced that they know what a good script looks like. So if it doesn't include a simplistic plot that fits some "one size fits all" standard genre, three act, role for bankable star mode it simply doesn't progress on to getting made into a movie. Put another way: If it ain't got a good pitch, it's dead meat.

And worse yet: Even if that script manages to get made as an independent then it fails to get distribution for the same reasons.

All Tent Poles and No Canvas.
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