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Alice

Thanks to both to winter and The Girl working in a petri dish, I wound up ducking out of work just before lunch today, lest I spread whatever pestilence she dragged home to my co-workers.  After a couple hours of sleeping on the futon, I decided I had to watch something.  I chose Alice.  And no, it's not about a waitress.

Call me a sucker, but I'm always down for watching a re-imagining of a classic piece of literature.  Sometimes the results are entertaining (10 Things I Hate About You), sometimes not so much (O).  One of my most recent favourites was the steam punk reworking of the Wizard of Oz called Tin Man, and now the folks responsible have brought forth another offering: Alice.

In this incarnation, Alice (played by Caterina Scorsone) is an ass-kicking part time karate instructor who, after a disastrous meet-the-folks dinner, winds up chasing her boyfriend Jack Chase (Philip Winchester) to return a ring he'd given her.  By the time she finds him, he's being beaten and forced into a van by a roving gang of baddies.  Being a woman on a mission, Alice ignores the White Rabbit (Alan Gray)'s advice  against following and stumbles through a mirror which takes her into Wonderland.  Once there, things go from bad to worse as she makes a few friends and faces betrayal by some, all while simply trying to get home.

From a technical standpoint, this movie is very well put together.  The visual effects are actually pretty good and the story moves along at a good clip and I really can't recall any sections that I wished would have gone faster.  Alice also boasted a lot of recognizable names who turn out enjoyable performances (Kathy Bates, Tim Curry, Colm Meany, Nancy Robertson), the most enjoyable of which was Ma-ma-ma Max Headroom (Matt Frewer) as the White Knight.

Caterina Scorsone does very well in the titular role and manages to look hot and kick ass, despite the fact she spends the entire move dressed like a nurse from the 50s.  Andrew Lee Potts is also quite good in his role as the Mad Hatter.  My only real complaint is their re-assembling of Mad March using what looks like a Donnie Darko cookie bowl as his head.

At the end of the day, Alice is a surprisingly good way to spend a couple hours with likable, well-portrayed characters encountering situations which, considering the context, aren't really that ridiculous.  While it may not do much in the way of raising the bar for a made-for-TV mini-series, it manages to scoot quite comfortably over and, really, isn't anything more than it needs to be.  If you ever have a couple hours to kill and see it on TV or sitting around the video store, I'd highly recommend it.