Archive | 3:58 PM

My Unrestricted Review of Alice In Wonderland

7 Mar

Perhaps the only colorful - "magical" - setting in the whole film

I will state this right off the bat: Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and 3D films all have a bid at ending up on the 1000 Things We Hate List.  Therefore, is it much of a surprise to discover that I hated the new Alice in Wonderland film?


– Here’s where the 3D aspect plays in.  Monique saw this in 2D, I saw it in 3D.  She ended up leaving the film to never come back halfway through.  I ended up leaving halfway through to go to the bathroom and stomp around in the lobby a bit.  I would have liked this film a lot more in 2D because I am one of those people who is under the impression that 3D films ruin the artistry in cinematography.  3D in films basically just means you get to see the different layers of the film like a pop up storybook.  This may play into advantage in an animated film maybe taking a number from the Paper Mario video game series, but for live action it’s really foolish.  Depth of Field (whether a part/distance of the film is blurry or not) is enough to focus our eyes on something.  We don’t need a thousand other layers along with that.  Plus, the whole contrast of the film is thrown off.  The White Kingdom never really looked white, and there wasn’t any vibrancy left to the colors anymore.

– The set design was alright even though it was mostly CGI.  Although, I feel like the Red Queen’s castle looked different in each render.  Overall, there was such a heavy reliance on CGI that I feel like some of the magic is lost.  And, did anyone else feel that the world seemed a little underpopulated for some magical place?

– The costume design was ridiculous.  This primarily comes from the arbitrary ways they get to put Alice in a mix of a punk/Victorian dresses akin to Tim Burton’s style.  I mean, she goes in the colonial periods to a party wearing fingerless gloves… that are striped.  Monique probably died at that.  I felt that it really was trying so hard to be inspired, the costumes came off as uninspired.  They mostly look like they just left off the pages of some 17 year old’s deviantART doodles.



– Johnny Depp was awful.  Tim Burton and Depp worked to make the character easy to relate to, but they basically just succeeded in creating another carbon copy of every other role Depp has played for Burton!  A social misfit who is unique and a bit kooky!  Imagine that?  Plus, The Mad Hatter goes into some stupid Scottish accent.  The Mad Hatter is supposed to be CRAZY!  Not some mildly tragic character.  Plus, he did the whole Willy Wonka creepy with children thing by sort of suggesting the Hatter had a crush on Alice.  The futterwackin dance was highly fucking stupid.  I felt like I was becoming a bastardized foster home child from the obvious sexual innuendo (after you slay the Jabberwocky with your phallic sword, The Mad Hatter will Futterwack!).

– Mia Wasikowska does an alright job at Alice for one of her first films.  Really, it’s just sort of one-note, but compared to the rest of the performances in this film, that’s good.

– Helena Bonham Carter is awful in this role.  I’ve never really liked her as an actress, and she’s not doing any favors for herself in this one.  Frankly, I don’t really understand why the Red Queen is so evil.  She yells a lot like a big baby, but it doesn’t really seem like she’s that bad aside from treating animals cruelly and cutting off heads.  Screeching will only get you so far… okay, maybe further if Tim Burton’s behind it.

– Anne Hathaway as the White Queen was pretty hilarious in a super bad way.  Basically, everything she did had a multitude of sexual innuendos that could be drawn from it.  I mean she grabs the Vorpal  Sword from Alice and lets out a bit of a moan while she runs her hand over the ribbed engravings.

– The only redeeming character was Bayard the hound, and even then I didn’t really like him.  I sort of liked Chessur, but his whole purpose in being in the movie was to float around and rack up some money for the CGI company.  The Jabberwocky seemed kind of unoriginal, too, but I still liked its design compared to many others.

The Movie as a Whole:

Too much pointing for me, thank you very much

– There’s not much art in this movie.  It’s for purely entertainment.  And I hate how many times something has to jump out of a screen at me to get “it” – “oh yeah, this is in 3D!!!!!! No Way!?!?!?!?!” This really works as a film that I will think about only when someone mentions it or 5 years from now when someone mentions it again and I think “fuck, that was awful.”

Plus, the only violent thing in this film really was the incessant use of stabbing people in the eyes.

So, thanks Alice in Wonderland for your completely unoriginal story, acting, and general premise.

Frankly, to sum it all up: Alice in Wonderland came off as a highly expensive fan fiction film.

Oh, and the whole part about Alice going to trade with China on a ship named “Wonder” is so imperialist.

Off to colonize the east


A look at Zahra’s Paradise

7 Mar

Such a simple beginning to an already moving web-comic (to be later turned into a graphic novel).  Zahra’s Paradise functions as a very humanistic examination of Iran following their 2009 elections.  The graphic novel removes the focus away from what Iran has become known for in the media with nuclear proliferation, and replaced it with the human rights issues that face Islamic Iran.

The site updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with usually one more page to be read.  The best way to read it is wait a week, and then check in to hopefully get 3 or so more pages.

It’s hard to not compare this web comic to its contemporary, Iranian counterpart: Persepolis.  However, it’s best to just see these two separate pieces of work as compendiums to the ever complicated politics of the Middle East.  Persepolis is a memoir of a young girl growing up in Iran through the revolution.  It both focuses on Iran and the loss of innocence that comes with getting older.

Zahra’s Paradise works a bit differently.  It is a fictional piece of work that examines the relationship between citizen and state in Iran as a mother searches for her lost son.  The author (Amir) did begin growing up in Iran, but was forced to move out.  However, not much is known about the author and the artist due to their decision to remain anonymous (under pen names).  The premise is simple, but the turns and commentaries already have added a multi-layered beauty of a story.

The experience of reading this story piece by piece online is heightened with additional commentaries by the author on certain pages ranging from political relationships within Iran and cultural food recipes of Iran.  On each page, the site offers the viewer to comment or share the page with their network.

By far, the most ingenious added feature is the inclusion of multiple languages on the site.  So far, the comic can be read in English, Persian, Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch with more on their way.  This feature allows for the site to get tons of exposure as well as promoting the versatility of web-comics as a whole.  I also really enjoy that each language has it’s own distinct text.

A lot has been said already, and I have not even mentioned the artwork.  To put it simply, the art is brilliant.  narrow brush strokes are mixed with some simple shading and fine tipped pens to create a gorgeous black and white affair. Khalil has multitudes of talent and really captures the emotion in each one of his faces and bodies.  Never does his artwork come off as stiff, over done, or too simple; it hits all of the right notes.

If you want to experience something that emotionally rips at your heart strings while allowing you to learn about other cultures and events to empathize with this story, then check it out and be prepared to be taken away in a world too real from a new voice that has been waiting to be heard: Zahra’s Paradise.
Also, check out this interview off of Comic Book Resources with the Author and the Publisher: Paradise Creator Speaks.