Although I thought the film was kind of blahblahTimBurtonstylismblahblah and needed something different from the quirky designs and music that always seem to be rehash of other Tim Burton films, I still very much like the characters and like the development of Alice. While sitting there watching the film, I recall thinking that the plot sometimes got in the way of the message. So did some of the outlandish characters. But at the end of the film, I started to forgive the movie for being clunky and all about running, because at the very end, if I just refocused my attention to the protagonist, one could resonate with Alice as she finally figured out who she was. In a way, the very turning point of this movie comes at its last few minutes, where the heroine suddenly figures out "Who is Alice," and "What will Alice do next."
Sure, there are things that are a bit too familiar -- from the actors, voices (seriously, Willy Wonka all over again), and the stereotypical fantasy imagery of Alice in armor with a sword. (Not that I mind this, but it was rather curious that they played to the archetypes too broadly.) But still, I like that it's the sort of movie that's good for young girls and old girls. I kind of like that Tim Burton has taken on the silent/present voice of adults in trying to get out a simple message: "Figure out who you are and don't let time and the generic adult world confuse you."
And I can forgive the packaging a bit (even if it is predicable and not wonder-inspiring because it is characteristic Burton design that we've all become too accustomed to), as sometimes the vehicle makes the message stick better in impressionable young minds. The base audience for this isn't the people who saw Edward Scissorhands or the Burton Batman films -- rather it's a new generation of families and girls. Maybe the images and the messages will somehow stick . Maybe ten years from now, those girls who watch this film will reach adulthood, knowing their inner Alice.
On a personal note, I realized while watching one of the early scenes (particularly where the Cheshire Cat appears) that I am utterly jealous of the animators who get to work on something like that.
Taking a story, a few illustrations, and concepts and making it fully 3D realized character is awesome. It makes me so sick with envy. If I had lots of money and time, I'd put myself back through school to learn this kind of animation and then buy supercomputers like Pixar has to make ridiculous worlds with cute tsundere things.
I want to also just say how touching it can be to unearth something about a wonderful unique creative brain. Yesterday I was also skimming through some of the Miyazaki interview bonuses on the DVD release "Ponyo" and found myself stupified by the collective footage. When watching him talk, you not only know that Miyazaki is ultimately a creative genius, but a kind person -- a sincerely good person who goes beyond just "being good." And one wonders about that kind of kindness, about creating something from nothing just so you can speak to different children of all ages. I find it fascinating that Ponyo came out of a desire on his part to make a movie for five year olds -- the little children he was seeing with his staffers. (And I found my heart just hurting when Suzuki, his producer, revealed that Miyazaki's lifelong dream was to open a nursery . )
I have a theory that people who love children and are attuned to them somehow grow up to find themselves trying to reconnect to that point in time and making creative things is a form of communication. Interestingly, Miyazaki caught me off guard when he then stated "My Neighbor Totoro" was a story that he wanted to make for his younger self who grew up in the city and never knew the Japanese countryside. He made that movie to show a time before televisions and before Japan was so disconnected from nature. He wanted to show other people the same thing.
And so -- this was something I found so refreshing and interesting of a concept. It's not "writing for yourself," but rather "writing to yourself."
I"ve never thought about writing and creating that way before. It's not that we just want to download our inner monologues, our thoughts, exorcise our demons and slap them on some kind of 2D medium and hope for some kind of validation from our audience -- but rather -- we are working things out for ourselves, we are trying to tell ourselves something.
And so maybe I need to think about this some more. I have a feeling I am writing to myself, a younger self still hopeful that in the end, all this questioning in life, and all these uncertain feelings, will eventually work themselves out.( I forgot to add this as I haven't crossposted from DA in like forever but I changed the direction of the story to The Drowned Man )