Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #18

Re: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

I took the kids to see Alice In Wonderland 3D and loved it. I won’t dispute your decision to give it only 1.5 stars, but I really cannot see how you could say Coraline was better and appropriate for a younger audience. I thought Coraline was incredibly creepy if not sick and I’m a bit aggravated with myself that I let the kids see the whole thing. As far as adding a y to Jabberwock, who cares — if one is really such a purist I doubt if one could approve of any movie based on a book.

Of course you are right about the feminist overtones, but again, if you judge Hollywood movies by that yardstick you could enjoy virtually nothing — sometimes you just have to ignore that nonsense. The funny thing is, I’m normally not a Burton fan — he’s usually doing something as creepy as Coraline. Anyway, I really enjoy your analysis on your website and hearing you on Al Kresta’s show — sorry you had to hear from me when I had a bone to pick with you. God bless you and keep up the good work.

I’m glad you enjoyed Alice. Clearly many more people agreed with you than with me. Even so, I’m not even slightly tempted to reconsider my review — although I have to admit that your juxtaposition of my age ratings for Alice vs. Coraline gives me pause.

In general, I make a point of not agonizing over ratings, which are only a quick index of the opinions that I hope are set forth more meaningfully in the reviews. This is especially the case with age appropriateness ratings, which are only the loosest of buckets since families and kids are so different from one another, and what frightens, say, my nine-year-old or even what bothers my fifteen-year-old may not be a problem for my six-year-old. If you tried to rationalize every rating in relation to every other rating, you’d go nuts.

In this case, I may have given Coraline rather than Alice the benefit of the doubt age-wise because Coraline impressed me as a darkly meaningful film about actual childhood issues, while Alice struck me as a film with subversively adult sensibilities. I would rather show Coraline to my 11-year-old than show Alice to any of my kids. In terms of sheer age appropriateness, though, it’s possible that I was too tough on Alice, and perhaps not tough enough on Coraline. I wonder what other readers think?

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