Well, as you might have expected, I did go watch Alice again – this time without the 3D trappings. The colors were in fact noticeably deeper and richer, particularly in the flowers and other surroundings of Wonderland. It wasn’t day-glo 70s garishly colorful (which I nearly expected), but it was definitely an improvement. And a lot of the camera angles were so oriented to 3D on their own, that I found I didn’t miss the added depth very much at all. Since the 3D effects were so much more subtle than other similar films (Meet the Robinsons comes to mind) I didn’t feel at all cheated by “skipping out” and watching the film without those effects. I thought both films were well done, each in a subtly different way. And for some reason, Johnny’s eyes didn’t seem quite so monstrously huge in some of those scenes this time. Perhaps because I was prepared for it?
I will say that in both viewings I was really bothered by the very jerky, robotic movements of Stayne, the Knave of Hearts (portrayed by Crispin Glover, even though my kids didn’t believe me when I told them!). I had thought perhaps it was simply a weird 3D by-product, but it was there in the 2D version as well. After doing a bit of research, I discovered that they (Burton? Disney?) had wanted the Knave to be a bit taller, but rather than cast someone else, they simply affixed Glover’s head to a digitally-rendered body. Sad that they didn’t spend a bit more time with that to make it appear more realistic. I’ve read other reviews which claim that the jerky stop-motion-esque movements surely must have been intentional; I personally found them distracting. It’s the one stand-out flaw in a movie that, admittedly, I went to theater prepared to love.