So the big news inside the Beltway is the new Obama tell-all and its juiciest bit: the lavish Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland-themed Halloween party the president hosted in 2009.
Corporate Media World has the typical gripes:
We weren't invited. W-a-a-a-h. It cost the taxpayers a bundle in the middle of a recession. It was too glitzy. Duh.... we were still enamored of all things Obama and didn't care.
But here are some criticisms I haven't heard yet. The refreshments included fake blood served in vials, and among the attendees were military families. Did anybody stop to think how this trendy visual libation would affect the guests, many of whom have already experienced enough blood and gore to last a lifetime? The rates of PTSD in these people (and their kids) who have served in endless deployments is through the roof. And was it really smart for Johnny Depp to show up in eye makeup straight out of A Clockwork Orange for a kids' party?
How about we just criticize this soiree and the outrage it has spawned for its sheer kitschiness?
Oh, and the movie itself reeked. It was a bleak, dark, sometimes-violent, high tech mess that had little if anything to do with Lewis Carroll. Tim Burton, the party's host and designer, bombed in a big way with his psychotic take on Alice. His Jabberwocky is transformed into a computerized Godzilla who tries to kill Alice. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 51% (Obama's approximate approval rating after the bin Laden brag-a-thon ). The reviews -- mixed at best -- sound like they could be describing the Obama presidency itself. Just substitute the allegedly real characters for the fictional ones. Compare "Underland" with the current Administration. Let your imagination run wild.
"A visually imaginative fairy tale that suffers slightly from its predictable course but still manages to wow at all the crucial moments".... Detroit News
"The feeling, in this movie, is always that of being frantically rushed to the next thing....Thanks to the Burton-Depp-Elfman brand, and to Disney's unrelenting marketing campaign, a favor Burton returns in the movie, making both the Red and White Queens' castles look like mockups of the iconic Disney one), this Alice in Wonderland will likely pull huge audiences down its rabbit hole".... Slate.
I wouldn’t have minded if Burton used Carroll as the merest of jumping-off points for his own nightmarish visions. What we have instead is a hybrid: Carroll’s hallucinatory wit crossed with Burton’s rank unseemliness rolled into Disney 'wholesomeness.' In the end, “Alice in Wonderland” doesn’t work either as visionary entertainment or as plain old family entertainment....Christian Science Monitor.
Despite stunning visuals and fine performances Alice in Wonderland never really goes anywhere. Or rather it goes somewhere we've all been before....Joshua Stern, Coming Soon. (the most succinct summary of the O Regime, imho).
The imposition of a fairytale quest structure turns the surrealist wanderings (and wonderings) of a free-associating dreamer into a brusque crash-zoom, as Alice hurtles towards her appointment on the good-versus-evil battlefield.... Lisa Mullen, Sight and Sound.
Hmm... do you get all these Barry/Alice connections same as I do? Or am I being too mean to Tim Burton?