3-D films face new test with Burton's "Wonderland"

Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:33am EST
 
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Tim Burton believes author Lewis Carroll's 19th century story, "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland," screamed out for a 3-D film because of its surreal elements, or what the director calls its "trippyness."

Burton's movie "Alice in Wonderland" opens on March 5 as the next film in a line of highly anticipated 3-D movies that has Hollywood watching closely. The most recent 3-D film, sci-fi adventure "Avatar," has shattered box office records on its way to nearly $2.5 billion in global ticket sales.

In recent years, Hollywood has seen a boom in 3-D movies as the major studios create new entertainment for a new generation of audiences, and "Avatar" has shown that fans will pay more for 3-D movies when the special effects are eye-popping.

Burton's "Alice" is the latest industry test. It takes viewers into a world of lush mushroom forests and ravaged wastelands -- a landscape that in 3-D seems to extend beyond the movie screen. At other times, a spear or a talking animal may seem to jab out from the screen.

Alice, played by Australian Mia Wasikowska, 20, goes from giant to thimble-sized depending on what she eats, and actor Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter gazes wildly at everyone through eyes enlarged ever so slightly with special effects.

Burton, 51, said his early exposure to Carroll's work came less from the book and more from pop culture, including drug-themed 1967 song "White Rabbit" from Jefferson Airplane.

Yet, he was quick to add that he found Carroll's story "mind blowing," which seems fitting given the somewhat psychedelic adventure Burton has put on film.

"It just seemed the world that Lewis Carroll created, just the kind of trippyness and the size and spatial elements ... the combination of the medium and the material just seemed really right," Burton told reporters recently.   Continued...