Alice In Wonderland

Featured In Issue 148, May/June 2010

WSR Score4.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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Tim Burton
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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"Alice In Wonderland" is the new reimagining of the Lewis Carroll classic, directed by Tim Burton. Alice (Wasikowska), an unpretentious and self-confident 19-year-old, is betrothed to a dunce of an English nobleman. At her engagement party, while escaping the crowd to consider whether to go through with the marriage, she falls down a large hole in the garden after spotting an unusual rabbit. Arriving in a strange and surreal place called "Underland," she finds herself in a world that resembles the nightmares she had as a child, filled with talking animals, villainous queens and knights, a jabberwocky, and other strange and wondrous characters. Alice realizes that she is there for a reason—to conquer the horrific Jabberwocky and restore the rightful queen to her throne. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the making-of featurette in six parts: "Scoring Wonderland," "Effecting Wonderland," "Stunts Of Wonderland," "Making The Proper Size," "Cakes Of Wonderland," and "Tea Party Props" (HD 19:29); "Wonderland Characters" in six parts: ""Finding Alice," "The Mad Hatter," "The Futterwacken," "The Red Queen," "Time-Lapse: Sculpting The Red Queen," and "The White Queen" (HD 27:56); Disney Live functionality; up-front previews; and a digital copy of the film.

The 1.78:1 1080p AVC picture appears to be sourced from the HDCAM SR digital 1.85:1 aspect ratio exhibited in the 35 mm spherical presentation. A 3-D version sourced from the D-Cinema 3-D version (also exhibited in IMAX® dual-strip 3-D) will eventually be released later in the year. Still, the dimensionality of this 2-D version is outstanding, no doubt due to the 3-D vision of Director Tim Burton and Production Designer Robert Stromberg. The Underworld exhibits a dark, brooding color scheme with densely saturated colors reminiscent of paintings. Colors are richly hued and warm. The Underworld treatment is starkly contrasted with the bright overcasts of the English countryside, leading up to Alice's fall into the large rabbit hole. Dark reds and oranges are often emphasized in the Underworld, as well as deep grays and blacks, to characterize the Red Queen's dark kingdom. In contrast, the White Queen brings brightness and light to her scenes. Alice's fleshtone hue appears perfectly natural, while all the other characters are stylized for dramatic effect. Burton effectively achieves the feeling of a dream and provides extraordinary strange and wondrous visuals that constantly provide amusement and delight. The set designs are exquisitely textured, providing a varied environment rich in detail. Resolution is outstanding throughout, especially in the depiction of such textures. Facial features on both "people" and other beings and creatures are impressively resolved. The contrasts are fascinating and cinematic. While a deeply brooding cinematic visual experience, the picture quality is excellent. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is terrific and exhibits an impressive holosonic® soundfield that is fully immersive. In large part the satisfying envelopment is due to the almost constant presence of an expansive orchestral music score, which occupies a wide and deep soundstage with an aggressive presence in the surrounds. The music recording, though, sounds generally veiled and distant and lacks the presence of a first-generation live session recording. Atmospheric sound effects are always subtly present to enhance the sense of dimension. At times sound effects are aggressively directionalized and panned. Bass energy is solid and the .1 LFE channel at times extends powerfully below 25 Hz. Dialogue is generally effectively integrated spatially, though, at times ADR sounds disconnected. Noteworthy is the effectiveness of dialogue direction and placement, which sounds perfectly natural across the soundstage. The soundtrack is nicely dynamic, displaying both subtle soundscapes and full-on SPL energy. The climactic battle scene is wonderfully holosonic and aggressively dynamic, with fully energized deep bass and full orchestra and choral forte. This is a wonderful soundtrack that effectively enhances the storytelling. (Gary Reber)