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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

91






Studio and Year: Disney - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Genre: Adventure/Family

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Mia WasiKowska, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen
Directed by: Tim Burton
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: Linda Woolverton - based on the novel by Lewis Carrol
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 1, 2010







"You’ve got a very important date"



Film Synopsis:


Tumble down the rabbit hole with Alice for a fantastical new adventure from Walt Disney Pictures and Tim Burton. Inviting and magical, Alice In Wonderland is an imaginative new twist on one of the most beloved stories of all time. Alice (Mia Wasikowska), now 19 years old, returns to the whimsical world she first entered as a child and embarks on a journey to discover her true destiny. This Wonderland is a world beyond your imagination and unlike anything you've seen before. The extraordinary characters you've loved come to life richer and more colorful than ever. There's the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen) and more. A triumphant cinematic experience - Alice In Wonderland is an incredible feast for your eyes, ears and heart that will captivate audiences of all sizes.



My Take:


I have never been a very big fan of the story of Alice in wonderland. Maybe I found it a bit too quirky and its characters too dark, either way I never fully connected with it. That being said I didn’t consider seeing Alice in wonderland theatrically and figured I would see it when it came to home video. I tend to like Tim Burton’s films and appreciate his distinctive narratives and visual style. He took some liberties with the story here but its essence essentially remains intact. I think that this is enhanced by the beautifully crafted imagery and character design. The inherent good versus evil theme coupled with the dour nature of its premise doesn’t make for a light hearted or uplifting tale however the subject matter is right up Burton’s alley. I thought the script was okay but I didn’t care for the opening or ending segments which dealt with Alice’s life outside of Wonderland. Neither was developed enough to endear or connect us to those aspects of her now adult life. The result made them feel like filler that had little meaning, especially considering how the film ends.

I enjoyed her time in Wonderland though and think that part of its allure is due to Tim Burton’s vision. It isn’t overly complex in narrative but is a visual treat filled with eye candy that bears his signature. I found his take on the Red Queen (as portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter) to be intriguing and a little disturbing. The primary characters in Alice, The Mad Hatter, The Red Queen, Stayne, and The White Queen are appropriately balanced within the boundaries of the script. The various secondary characters in the White Rabbit, Tweedle Dee/Tweedle Dum, and Cheshire Cat are similarly drawn and facilitate a genuine connection to original story’s components. Don’t expect a lot of laughs or originality but there is enough substance here to keep young viewers entertained and their parents from nodding off. Be cautious with little ones though as there are some frightening images and violence. I was happy with the cast as a whole with the standout being Johnny Depp’s take on The Mad Hatter. In the end I would say that I liked Alice in Wonderland. I think this is attributable more to its imaginative visuals than its whimsical story. A second viewing may be in order to determine if my feelings hold true. There is no denying that Tim Burton is a visionary filmmaker. I don’t think that this compares to his best work but it is a fun adventure that can be enjoyed by the whole family.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for fantasy/adventure violence involving scary images and situations and for a smoking caterpillar.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 90


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 92


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Alice in Wonderland comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.

This is an excellent high definition encoding that boasts delineated shadows, vivid colors, and dynamic, noise free blacks that provide a surreal sense of dimension. The world where most of the film takes place is made up of large amounts of CGI which is interwoven with both real objects and people. It has a typically distinctive visual design that gives it the appearance and feel of a dream. The oranges, reds, yellows and blues are striking and exhibit plenty of pop thanks to boldly applied contrast and deep saturation. The various gray and sepia toned backgrounds are noticeably divergent and gradationally satisfying. Resolution is excellent which translates into images that are lucid and three dimensionally accentuated. The use of CGI generates some innate softening but otherwise the video has a pristine quality that is visually arresting.

The DTS-HD MA soundtrack is just as rewarding and sounds terrific. Lossless audio’s higher resolution brings out the superb craftsmanship and sometimes delicate nature of the soundtrack with the center piece being Danny Elfman’s eclectic music score. Detail in both the sound effects and music is readily apparent. Extended dynamic range and crystal clarity enable the subtle refinement in the recording to shine through. Sound effects and instrumentation are carefully placed within the sound field at just the right audible level so that they arrive at the listening position with accurate timing and precision which results in seamless pans and head turning spatial cues. This can be a dynamically charged surround mix that has an enriching and solid feel to the low end when things throttle up. The battle sequence in the finale is a great example. This isn’t the deepest bass that I have experienced but it has palpable impact and a healthy kick that doesn’t leave its presence in question. Voices are noticeably textured and sibilant free throughout. This is an enjoyable and involving audio presentation that mates perfectly with the source material.



Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Finding Alice - 5 minute featurette

  • (HD) The Mad Hatter - 6 minute featurette

  • (HD) Effecting Wonderland - 6 minute featurette

  • (HD) The Futterwacken Dance – 3 minute featurette

  • (HD) The Red Queen - 6 minute featurette

  • (HD) Time-lapse: Sculpting the Red Queen – 3 hour process shown in minutes

  • (HD) The White Queen – 4 minutes With Anne Hathaway

  • (HD) Scoring Wonderland – 3 minute featurette with Danny Elfman and Tim Burton

  • (HD) Stunts of Wonderland - 2 minute featurette

  • (HD) Making the proper size: Visual effects featurette - 2 minutes

  • (HD) Cakes of Wonderland - 2 minute featurette

  • Tea party props - 2 minute featurette

  • BD-Live enabled

  • Bonus Disc – DVD of Alice in Wonderland

  • Bonus Disc – Digital Copy of Alice in Wonderland



Final Thoughts:


Alice in Wonderland is a classic story which is tailor made for Director Tim Burton’s unique filmmaking perspective. I was more enamored by the film’s succulent visuals than its unoriginal and whimsical spin on Lewis Carrol’s story but when all was said and done I think it had charm. Disney traditionally turns out strong high definition audio/video presentations on their Blu-ray Disc titles and that continues with this release as it offers breathtaking visuals and equally impressive lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound. The bonus supplements are more fluff than substance but Disney does include a standard DVD version of the film and a Digital Copy which is always appreciated. I would recommend a rental prior to purchase if you haven’t seen it. If you’re a fan this presentation from Disney makes it a must have and a great addition to your Blu-ray library.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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Ralph Potts for President.
 

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Thanks for such an early and timely review. I was on the fence whether to blind buy this one or not. I think I will rent it first and then decide from there. Most of what I hear from this film is more on the negative side of things. A lot of people have told me they didn't care for the film or that it was just an ok film.
 

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Isn't this supposed to resemble more of "Through The Looking Glass" which is the sequel to "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland?"


Either way, I found this to be one of Burton's weaker outings. Visuals trumped storytelling.
 

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Funny. The 1933 version, despite its star power, is quite bizarre. The 1951 Disney cartoon is one I can't seem to get close to, even though it has some memorable songs. The Burton one is, as always, visually stunning. Depp is such a chameleon, so that's fun. But it's still all bizarre! Must be the story.
 

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Well... I guess I will add this to my collection...I was 50-50 for the last couple of weeks...but King Potts seems to like the visuals and sound so...I'll do it.


Great review !
 

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Time to disc is really getting short. I feel like this JUST came out.


Great review as always Ralph!
 

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I saw it in the theaters in 3D and thought that some passages were on the slow side.. I did like some parts of the movie, but probably a 2nd watch will change my mind...
 

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I also saw this in 3-D, and while I wasn't impressed with the process, I did enjoy the movie.

I'm glad the 2-D blu-ray presentation has high numbers as I believe that's all it needed to qualify as an addition in my collection.

Thanks for the review Ralph, as always, it's a great guide!.
 

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My family and I watched this last night and everyone enjoyed it a lot. I find the second act to be a tad bizarre (typical for Burton), but the setup in the first act is extremely well done and the conclusion is satisfying. I agree with Ralph on the A/V scores...in fact, there are a few demo-worthy scenes worth noting and I think I'll do an "Ultimate Demo" on this disc to highlight them.


Great review Ralph!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn /forum/post/18672641


My family and I watched this last night and everyone enjoyed it a lot. I find the second act to be a tad bizarre (typical for Burton), but the setup in the first act is extremely well done and the conclusion is satisfying. I agree with Ralph on the A/V scores...in fact, there are a few demo-worthy scenes worth noting and I think I'll do an "Ultimate Demo" on this disc to highlight them.


Great review Ralph!

Greetings,


Thanks Dave. I look forward to reading your UD..



Regards,
 

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Haven't seen the Burton "re-imagining" yet. For all you Alice completists, I recommend the 1949 version directed by Lou Bunin, memorable for its creepy stop motion animated puppets and a young Carol Marsh as Alice, and also the 1966 BBC TV play version, which is very much its own kind of underrated surreal that doesn't rely on dazzling you with technicolor freakouts to get its point across. And of course the classic Disney version.

 

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I didn't view it in the theater but I'm planning on renting it to be on the safe side. At least I'll have no problem with the BD quality!
 

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The visual effects on this movie was simply incredible!! The story was great too and Anne Hathaway...



Collect!!


Cheers
 

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I am not a fan of this movie. I thought the story was bland and tedious, and the acting was mediocre (especially Depp). I won't go into details but I felt that they completely undermined the built-up ending. I also wanted more wonder.
 
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