I was a lucky girl this month and had the opportunity to be a special guest at the Ultimate Fan Event for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. I was running out the door for a trip downtown to the flower and garment districts when the phone rang. I stopped to answer it and twas lucky for me that I did. As it turned out, my sister was calling to invite me to tag along with her for this star studded event.
So Disney and Mr. Burton treated my sister and me to a concert with Kerli, Never Shout Never, Metro Station and 3oh3! It was great fun and even though the sound system was wonky, I had fun listening to all the bands and shook my money maker with the rest of the crowd. I even sang along to the new Alice inspired songs soon to be released on the CD.
It was surreal to see the people in costumes inspired by the film. Aspiring professionals put time and skill into their costumes for a chance to get into the 3D sneak-peek preview, and for a very select few, the chance to meet the two time Oscar winning costume designer, Colleen Atwood, and hopefully make a connection with her - which can be a miracle in this impregnable City of Angels, where who you know means everything.
After the concert there were video feeds of short interviews with the cast. Everyone, including the handsome Mr. Depp. was in attendance. Finally, Tim Burton came out onstage and introduced the cast. Anne Hathaway was introduced first and came out radiating youth and beauty. Johnny Depp was introduced last and the infatuated crowd heaved and swooned towards the stage.
Special guests were then invited to the El Capitan theatre for a 3D sneak-peek of the new trailer. With the costumed participants earning special recognition, the front seats in the house and a few winning $50 gift certificates to Hot Topic, a co-sponsor of the event.
Mr. Burton came on stage and proclaimed to the crowd that he would be previewing the entire film much to every audience member's delight and pleasure. Mr Depp's appearance onstage was met with a tremendous roar from the crowd. His remarks however charming they may have been were lost in the thundering of shouts and the downpour of applause from the crowd. Depp blew two kisses to the crowd before stepping backstage and each adoring young fan felt that they had been acknowledged personally.
The film was well done and is entertaining for audience members of all ages. The 3D effects are not of the same vibrancy of Avatar but the audience was ducking and weaving as teacups whizzed past with insane accuracy. Underland is an amazing world and it is hard to remember that all of this is computer generated imagery. The performance by Mia Wasikowska brings to life an older Alice one who has accepted the world around her and yet still understands as does Burton, Disney and other innovators that believing in the impossible makes everything possible. Burton's look into the world of Underland is as invigorating to the Alice canon as any modern retelling can hope to be.