People are constantly asking me what I think about the Tim Burton Alice movie. Because I have a lot of respect for Burton's collected works and distinct style, it's difficult for me to say I didn't enjoy - or even like - the movie. The visuals were stunning, the costumes amazing, the music inspired and the direction flawless. There's just one problem as far as I'm concerned, and it's a big one. Alice isn't really in the film.
The Mad Hatter is certainly there, as is the Queen. Even the White Rabbit occupies a meaningful amount of screen and story space. But Alice? She's just along for the ride. An empty bag, blowing in the wind. Things happen to her but never because of her. The story's finale hammers home this point when someone reminds Alice that she literally doesn't have to do anything. She just needs to relax and let the Vorpal Blade take care of business. Snore.
For a character whose main obstacle is indecisiveness, you'd expect her final triumph to materialize in a flurry of blades and blood - a definitive signal that this girl isn't just along on someone else's ride. But no. It might have been a Burton film - and I'm certain that left to control the enterprise alone he would have delivered - but more than anything it was a Disney film. Can't be splattering blood all over the place. And god forbid a girl kick someone's ass.
Well... like they say back in Texas, if you want something done right, you've gotta do it yourself.
And so it is that today, I'm really happy to announce the presence of one of the masters of kick-ass, famed Hong Kong writer, producer and director, Tsui Hark. Over the years he's given the world a wonderful display of flying kicks, screaming punches, slashing blades and flying stars. Films like Once Upon a Time in China, The Blade, Seven Swords and The Killer and Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame contain some of my favorite cinematic skull smacking and butt kicking moments. A few words from the man himself:
Alice wanders in the eye-boggling fantasy land. The madness and violence reveal the inner power of a teenager fighting in a hypocrite world of the adult villains. I can already see the impact of the story as a movie. I'd be more than enthusiastic to participate in any effort to make it possible for Alice to come alive on the big screen. I'd join the team to make this project a wonderful success -----Tsui Hark
It's difficult for me to describe how excited I am for Alice and her future in Otherlands and on the big screen. She's attracting so much creativity and passion from all over the world. In working with visionaries like Tsui Hark, Chris Vrenna and the other directors, writers and musicians we're bringing on board, we have an opportunity to transform our bad-ass, butt kicking Alice into the definitive Alice.
Only problem is... she'll never get into Disneyland.
(Below is the trailer for The Killer and Detective Dee... and a picture of myself and Mr. Hark when he came to visit the studio a few weeks back.)