Review: Alice DVD

STUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Nick Willing | STARS: Caterina Scorsone, Andrew-Lee Potts, Matt Frewer, Tim Curry, Kathy Bates
RELEASE DATE: 3/2/2010 | PRICE: DVD $19.98, Blu-ray $29.98
BONUSES: director/actor commentary
SPECS: NR | 90 min. | Fantasy | widescreen | Dolby Stereo | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Like Tim Burton’s highly anticipated Alice in Wonderland 3D extravaganza, the mini-series Alice, which premiered on the SyFy Channel in December 2009, is yet another re-imagining of the classic Lewis Carroll Alice tales from the 19th century.

This time around, the Alice story has been given an extra shot of science-fiction oomph, not to mention the kind of contemporary elements that fanboys crave. How else to explain that the story takes place 150 years after the original Alice’s visit and that the new gal is a twentysomething judo sensei who must use all her skills and cunning to outwit the evil White Rabbit secret organization that has snatched her off to Wonderland?

The mini-series is produced by RHI, the outfit that was behind Tin Man, the well-received 2007 revisionist Wizard of Oz mini-series. And Alice is an undeniably imaginative take on a beloved, frequently re-interpreted tale. It’s filled with fine visual effects and a dizzying production design that’s highlighted by the Queen of Hearts’ twisting, curving city/casino, which is made wholly from playing cards.

Plus the mini-series has a solid cast of familiar faces. Standouts are Harry Dean Stanton (TV’s Big Love) and Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) as The Caterpillar and The Dodo, respectively, and the always-game Kathy Bates (Titanic) as the Queen of Hearts. At the center of it all is the lively Caterina Scorsone (TV’s Private Practice), the most modern Alice we’ve ever seen and a girl — strike that, a woman — who isn’t about to give in to slavery in Wonderland without a fight.

The DVD has just one special feature, a commentary track.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.