This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

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ALICE IN WONDERLAND
(Blu-ray available as single-disc and 3-Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
I’d call Alice in Wonderland a misguided effort, but I’m not so sure director Tim Burton put forth much of an effort. At this point he’s in sleepwalk mode, content to wear out the Burton brand until Hot Topic goes out of business or is burned to the ground. I imagine a lot of time was saved during the film’s production by simply asking for everything to be made “more Burton”. For a filmmaker who prides himself on weirdness, it’s curious that he’s managed to take this supposedly original rendition of these classic, outlandish tales and grind out such an inert, formulaic bore. The movie isn’t exactly unwatchable; it’s just sort of there. Too much of an attempt has been made to fashion a straightforward narrative of the proceedings, with little attention paid to bringing a sense of vitality or genuine personality to the world or the characters that inhabit it. The CGI looks nice and expensive, but the design is so deliberately ostentatious that it ends up distracting more than immersing. There’s nothing to latch on to here—nothing to care about. Mostly it’s just a movie about a girl who shuffles lifelessly between different characters while being warned about “the Jabberwocky”. By the time the film reaches its climactic battle sequence, with a sword-wielding, armor-clad Alice, the moment doesn’t feel earned; it feels like it belongs in an entirely different movie. Even the film’s smaller moments, like the obligatory payoff to a previously set-up gag about the Fudderwacken dance, come across as empty attempts to elicit any sort of an emotional response. I’m not trying to paint the movie as some grand, spectacular failure, because it isn’t, but after seeing Johnny Depp’s lispy, accent-changing portrayal of the Mad Hatter, I can’t help but imagine how much better it could’ve been if there was a little more restraint and a whole lot less Fudderwacken.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – 3 featurettes (“Finding Alice”, “The Mad Hatter”, “Effecting Wonderland”). Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as additional featurettes (“The Futterwacken Dance”, “The Red Queen”, “The White Queen”, “Scoring Wonderland”, “Stunts of Wonderland”, “Making the Proper Size”, “Cakes of Wonderland”, “Tea Party Props”, “Time-Lapse: Sculpting the Red Queen”).

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $16.99 $12.99
Amazon – $15.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE*
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$22.99 $19.99 $19.97
Amazon – $19.99

*Does not include 3-Disc Edition, which costs $24.99 at Amazon and Fry’s, and $26.99 at Target and Best Buy.

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Alice in Wonderland

On Thursday, Disney’s Tim Burton-directed 3D adaptation of Alice in Wonderland will become the sixth movie to cross the $1 billion at the worldwide box office, and the first Spring release to ever accomplish the milestone.

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VOTD: Gaga in Wonderland

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When Wonderland is threatened by a pop-music hating Queen Of Hearts, pop music sensation Lady Gaga returns to her homeland to kick some evil ass… but mainly dance, sing, and weird it up. Watch Black20′s epic mashup of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and the music videos of Lady Gaga, embedded after the jump.

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Alice in Wonderland

With the recent release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, I thought we’d take a look at the first film adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s tale, which was created 107 years ago.

Recently been restored by the BFI National Archive from severely damaged materials. Made just 37 years after Lewis Carroll wrote his novel and eight years after the birth of cinema, the adaptation was directed by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow, and was based on Sir John Tenniel’s original illustrations. In an act that was to echo more than 100 years later, Hepworth cast his wife as the Red Queen, and he himself appears as the Frog Footman. Even the Cheshire cat is played by a family pet. With a running time of just 12 minutes (8 of which survive), Alice in Wonderland was the longest film produced in England at that time. Film archivists have been able to restore the film’s original colours for the first time in over 100 years. Music: ‘Jill in the Box’, composed and performed by Wendy Hiscocks.

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John August Alice in Wonderland

John August is a screenwriter I’ve been following for over a decade. He broke onto the scene with a spec script titled Go, which was directed for the screen by Doug Liman (a film I highly recommend). Since then August has written a bunch of adaptations and remakes, mostly in association with director Tim Burton (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride). He made a fantastic directorial debut with an original independent sci-fi mystery drama The Nines, and he’s producing Prince of Persia, wrote Preacher, and is also attached to Burton’s Frankenweenie and Dark Shadows.

Aside from being a screenwriter and filmmaker, August regularly blogs about his craft and the film business on his blog JohnAugust.com. If you’re an aspiring screenwriter, August’s blog is a must read. His latest post is on his history with Alice in Wonderland, a film he’s “not written” three times (and no, that wasn’t a typo…). He explains how Go was originally envisioned as a retelling of Alice (a revealation that completely blew my mind), and talks about his time trying to adapt American McGee’s twisted video game version of Alice for Wes Craven and a Finding Neverland-esque take on the project that was set-up with director Sam Mendes at Dreamworks, and was killed when Burton’s adaptation was announced. Read the blog now on JohnAugust.com.

DutchPuh's Pandora Twilight

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A few weeks ago we premiered an exclusive four-phase progression of the computer rendering of the Cheshire Cat in Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland. Walt Disney Pictures has released a few more sets as part of their Wonderland Wednesdays promotion, including Matt Lucas‘ transformation into Twdledee and Tweedledum, The White Rabbit from sketch to CGI, Transporting Alice from green screens to the Forest, and a couple looks at how Helena Bonham Carter is transformed into The Red Queen, and transporting Chrispin Glover as The Knave of Hearts, into a computer generated throne room.

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Alice in Wonderland Superbowl TV Spot

Alice in Wonderland

Walt Disney Pictures has released a new superbowl television spot for Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland. You can watch it now, embedded after the jump. As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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