Monday, March 15, 2010

Wonderland vs. China

As much I wanted to love it, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland leaves much to be desired. Despite Burton's unmistakable style, the special effects are underwhelming, the pacing sluggish (even though it picks up a bit on the second half) and Johnny Depps’ histrionic performance is one of his least entertaining in years. And I couldn't get over the fact that he looks just like Madonna as the Mad Hatter. There's nothing "amazing" about the 3D -- it was actually unremarkable and unnecessary (Avatar and Coraline notwithstanding, 3D has become a money-grabbing gimmick not in the service of the storytelling). This Alice could have some more wonder in it, but she did look good in shinning armour at the end.

On the other hand, Last Train Home takes you on a journey you’re not bound to forget anytime soon. Director Lixin Fan follows a couple of migrant workers in China who moved from their rural village to work in sweatshops in the big city, and their attempt to return to their village for the Chinese new year. This chaotic train ride is the largest human migration on Earth and the images that Fan captured over the course of two years are incredibly moving, shocking and beautiful. The movie puts a human price on that pair of Made-in-China jeans. Heartbreaking, thought-provoking and expertly shot.

1 comment:

  1. I still wanna see it even if it is crappy. and the last train too. (i wonder why don't they put more trains on during the chinese newyears to move more people around?)