Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Alice (1988) Review

When reading this review please keep in mind that I wrote it as I was watching the movie and it is really a stream of conscience review. This is definitely not a movie for the casual viewer. Also for a movie based on a classic children's story it is pretty disturbing. The imagery in the movie is very surreal and mildly disturbing at least in my opinion. This is even more out there than Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and the original animated movie combined. The use of stop motion animation while a very effective technique it also makes everything in the movie very creepy. Stop motion is creepy normally and when you combine it with a live action movie it takes the creepiness to a whole different level. In this movie there is an anthropomorphic rabbit who constantly has to sew himself together and has bug eyes, and he is creepy 100% of the time he is on screen. Creepy does not even do it justice. This movie looks like an actual nightmare ripped from a child's mind that was then filmed. Everything in the movie has a bleak and desolate feeling to it and it really gives you the feeling that this poor girl is trapped in a nightmare and not the somewhat happy world from the other versions. Everything I have just described is what I have taken in from the first 20 minutes of the movie so far. At one point Alice turns into a doll with no explanation and the motions of the doll are really weird. It kind of reminds me of the spider doll from the movie Night Watch. If you haven't seen that movie, please go watch it as it is a truly amazing Russian movie. The world the director creates is one that a very depressed or psychotic individual would imagine when visualizing the story itself. The director's vision takes the strangeness of the original story and cranks it up to 11 and he just runs with his ideas at full speed never holding anything back. While this is commendable it also hinders the enjoyment factor for the viewer. At this point in the movie there are sock worms that carve up the floor and make it like swiss cheese. Adding to the creep factor of the movie, the worms also have a mouth full of human teeth which does not help. I really can't believe how strange this movie is getting at this point and I am really continuing to watch solely to see what other strange stuff pops up. I also find it weird that nothing is really explained through the course of the movie, the little girl looks confused in every scene and she just moves from one confusing situation to another though the course of the movie so far. All of the dialogue is spoken though one voice from a mouth where you never see the person's entire face and is a confusing aspect of the movie. There are fish wearing wigs that cry like babies and toy houses that also cry, just a little disturbing. The plot really isn't confusing at this point, the thing that confuses me is why someone would even decide to make a movie like this. The Mad Hatter is a nutcracker who may have pedophile tendencies because he keeps offering Alice wine and the crazy rabbit at the table needs a wheelchair to get around. Keep in mind that this is all in stop motion animation which had a jerky effect to it. The rabbit keeps buttering watches and the nutcracker keeps drinking tea. I kind of feel uncomfortable watching this movie at this point. And I'm just going to try and power through the last 10 minutes. This is definitely an hour and a half of my life that I can never get back and I wish I could un-watch this movie. I appreciate the effort that the director and animators put into this movie but it had no entertainment value for me. I would recommend this movie to art house enthusiasts and people who like dark and disturbing art. If you don't run in these crowds you will not enjoy this movie. This is what happens when you pick a random movie from a book of cult movies, I got burned with this one.