Alice in Wonderland 2D/3D Blu-ray Review

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is unknowingly being groomed to marry Hamish Ascot (Leo Bill), in order to make mother happy. Her curiosity leads her to follow a white rabbit into a hole that sends her down to “Wonderland”, a place that she believes is only a dream. The locals are uncertain that she is the real “Alice” when she refuses to believe that she is the chosen one to defeat the Jabberwocky (voiced by Christopher Lee) and bring the Red Queen’s (Helena Bonham Carter) reign down. But when the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is taken by the Red Queen, it is up to Alice to save him and help the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to regain the throne.

Tim Burton is a household name; everyone has seen at least one of his films and witnessed the re-imagining of classic tales. This time around Burton takes on one of the best stories out there, Alice in Wonderland, but how does the reimagining fare? Well, everything came out fine except the story didn’t exactly meet expectation. When it comes to visuals, Burton simply went all out. From the moment Alice walks out of the room into the wild, we get a sense of just how much attention Burton put into the surrounding to make it feel like a fantasy. Wonderland is wonderful in every sense of the word, creatures and characters appear as something taken straight from a fairy tale. The characters from the old cartoon tale were brought to life with a little twist, after all Burton’s style has always been unique. The film exceeds every expectation as far as visuals go, but it really lacks on other parts.

Burton’s take on the classic story is visually great; the filmmaker took the time to design a fantasy world that will leave the viewers stunned. However, while the visuals are great, the story was lacking in quality. It seems that Burton spent more time designing his wonderland than putting together an equally entertaining story. It isn’t as bad, but it certainly could have been better. Mia Wasikowska turns in a rather bland performance and never truly emits any sense of wonder. Helena Bonham Carter is rather awkward as the Red Queen, but then again these seem to be her forte. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter appears to be the only spot on cast, his wackiness and Depp’s ability to adapt to it turns into a decent performance.

Alice in Wonderland 3D arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 1.78:1. The picture is clean and pristine throughout, exactly what you would expect from a recently shot film. Colors have taken no time to shine, they are rich and vibrant that shows no restraint. Reds, blues, greens stand among the rich color palette for a picture that demands the highest quality presentation. Black levels are rich and inky. Detailing is excellent, except a few shots look a bland, but they are far too few that they can be overlooked. There’s a thin layer of grain to give it that extra film like look.

As for the 3D aspect of this release, you have to wonder how good it could be. You must consider that Alice in Wonderland was shot native 2D and not in 3D. The 3D effects were added after the film was done. But let me tell you, the 3D looks very good in this release. Objects appeared to have good depth, which is usually your main concern. Many objects appeared on camera and didn’t obstruct one another; there was always a sense of depth among them. Menus were in full 3D, which is a nice addition. Ghosting was not an issue.3D effects only appeared when needed and not forced onto every imaginable shot. By not forcing it, the film looks great and shares great implementation of the technology. Disney’s efforts are nothing short of excellent.

Alice in Wonderland 3D arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. The picture quality of this release is incredible, but the audio is much better. Dialogue reproduction is clean, clear, and pristine, the track has no issues reproducing any dialogue in the film. The track is roomy and it captures all the small nuances throughout the film. Atmospherics and ambiance effects are handled properly with great directionality making the track lively. There’s a balanced bass output that’s neither too loud nor too silent, adding great support for the track. Alice in Wonderland 3D sounds great on Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray 3D of the movie does not have any supplements within the disc. All supplements are found within the second Blu-ray disc found in this combo pack.

Wonderland Characters – This is a set of six documentaries. This is a pretty straightforward supplement. It goes over the characters found within the movie.

Making Wonderland – Another set of six documentaries. This supplement features a look at the making of the movie, covering special effects, stunts, the score, etc.

Alice in Wonderland is Burton’s vision of the classic tale come to life, but the story itself lacks some deeper quality that can’t be easily brushed off. I wish I could say otherwise, I wish the movie was better, but it’s a bit off from everyone’s expectations. Tim Burton is a great filmmaker with an undeniable vision for movies, but it’s hard to make a good case for this movie. It’s visually beautiful and if that’s what some fans are into then by all means check it out. The Blu-ray features a great video and audio transfer. The 3D aspect of this release is sensational, considering the movie was originally shot with 2D cameras and had post 3D addition, and is very active when required. The 3D fares much better fate than other 3D releases that had 3D work after it had been made. Overall, the movie is enjoyable and the 3D aspect adds a greater entertaining factor. I recommend at least a rental.