I spotted this in the DVD shop by chance because it was right at the front of the stack. When I started watching it, I suddenly realised that this was the animated version of the recent video game. In this version, Dante is a Crusader who gets home to find that Beatrice has been murdered and her soul has been seized by Satan because of a certain indiscretion committed by Dante during the Crusade. Dante is not some weedy Italian poet, but a rather buff soldier who’s so tough that he has a cross of ribbon sewn onto his skin.
He travels into Hell, guided by Virgil, and has to fight various enemies, including his abusive avaricious father (something Freudian about that). Dante also finds that his mother is in Hell for committing suicide, but being a good Italian boy, he uses his cross to release her.
He also meets Nessus, who not only helps him traverse some difficult terrain, but has also been transformed into a double-D cup babe (by the standards of centaurs). (The classicist in me abhors these inaccuracies.)
Anyway, as you might’ve guessed by now, he has to fight Satan in the final boss battle.
The DVD actually included the extras for once (pirated versions often don’t), including a trailer for the game, which looked much better than the animated version. However, the game itself wasn’t that enthusiastically received.
Alice in Wonderland.
Years have passed since Alice visited Wonderland and just as she is expected to accept a proposal of marriage from the rather delicate little Lord Fauntleroy, the White Rabbit lures her down the rabbit hole again. Things start out in much the same way as she makes her way into the garden, but Wonderland is not as she left it.
Instead, Alice is destined to fight the Jabberwocky for which she needs the vorpal sword which is in the Red Queen’s possession and guarded by the bandersnatch. Alice goes to the castle, gets inside, and manages to recover the sword. She flees to the castle of the White Queen and finds that she really must be the queen’s champion. There’s a big battle and Alice wins the day.
When Alice returns to reality, she rejects the proposal, but being a thoroughly 19th 21st century woman, suggests a business alliance with little Lord Fauntleroy’s father.
Who would enjoy this film? What’s the target demographic?
Alice never really seemed to be in any danger, and there was never any doubt that she’d defeat the Jabberwocky. The Knave of Hearts posed, but never went Darth Vader on anyone. The Red Queen shouted a lot, but never got to be a brutal, callous tyrant. The Mad Hatter did get to be mad, though, and no one cared anyway. In the end, I felt the film was dissatisfying because, I guess, Burton was probably constrained too much by Disney’s rose-tinted-spectacles view of the world. This is why I wondered about the target demographic, because the film doesn’t seem to know where it should be aiming.
And since the film was by Tim Burton, you just know that his girlfriend, Helena Bonham-Carter, was in it; so, too, Johnny Depp and his mate, Paul Whitehouse; and pretty much anyone else who’s one of Timmy’s usual cast members.