PRINT May 2010


Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton, Alice in Wonderland, 2010, still from a color video converted to 3-D, 108 minutes. The Cheshire Cat (voice by Stephen Fry).

WHEN THE CHESHIRE CAT’S disembodied head comes unmoored from the picture plane and, like a ball in oil, begins to roll in our RealD glasses, it asks through its floating grin whether Alice is really the Alice. We are actually watching two movies when we watch 3-D, thanks to a “circularly polarizing” technology that involves splitting the projected light into two series of rapidly alternating images—a right-eye image that circles clockwise, like the cat’s head, and a left-eye image that circles counterclockwise; 3-D glasses with oppositely circularly polarized lenses ensure that each eye can see only one image. Plunked onto the picture’s CGI ground is Mia Wasikowska, the live-action actress playing an Alice who’s once again losing track of both her direction and her identity, this time in the visual woods of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, which has been loosely adapted

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