You may be forgiven for assuming that a rainy Thursday night, trapped in the beating heart of the tourist-clotted West End of London, would be a far from wondrous experience.  Ordinarily you would be right.  Tonight, however, was no ordinary Thursday, tonight Wonderland came to London Town!

The Walt Disney Company and Sky 3D / Sky Movies HD presented to the world the premiere of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.  The already auspicious occasion was given a royal seal of approval by the attendance of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and, of course, by the presence of your intrepid HeyUGuys team.  In an age when we are bombarded with entertainment options even as we slouch on the couch, when new films seem practically to open daily, there remain a handful of names which can elicit glee from even the most cynical of entertainment hacks.  Tim Burton is one such name.  Happily for fans of his quirky world he has a little black book of Names himself, and they all appear to pop up in his Wonderland.

The Sky 3D reception for Alice in Wonderland was held in the Empire Casino overlooking Leicester Square.  The deconstructed chandelier floating impossibly above our heads served as a perfectly surreal curtain-up for the night to come.  I took a glass of champagne outside onto the balcony and drank in the scene below: hundreds of fans huddled together – an ocean of umbrellas and expectation.  Flashing bulbs and whirring cameras underscoring their shrieks.  The pantomime boom of the announcer’s voice sending Mexican waves of delight shuddering through the crowd.  And above everything – tangible even from my lofty perch – the electric thrum of excitement, hanging thunderstorm-heavy in the air…

Thursday 25th February was a very important date for one and all!

Walking across the garden at the heart of the square to my date with Alice I realised quite how childishly thrilled I was by the entire event.  The movie itself was one I had been longing to see ever since its conception, but the premiere experience was simply magical.  When you have a love affair with cinema, one I suspect HeyUGuys’ readers and writers share, you understand the iconography of the premiere – the swooping lights, scarlet carpet and shining stars.  These are images as old as cinema itself.  Although the carpet in question tonight was grass green and sopping wet its impact was not diluted.  A premiere is a celebration of film and it was delightful to be present to see the celebration unfold.

Even through the shushing of sweet wrappers and crunch of popcorn in the auditorium I could still feel the heady effect of the carpet walk and crowd on the audience.  The giddiness of Christmas Eve was in the air as we swapped Cadbury’s Eclairs and urgent whispers until the flicker of famous faces on the big screen hushed our fidgeting.  They were here.

Alice in Wonderland’s stars in fact seemed unaware of their duty to be late and difficult.  It was our own royal family who chose to keep Hollywood waiting.  We watched as introductions were made in the Odeon foyer and held our breath as both breeds of royalty approached.  The good natured tutts and moans over the tardy Prince were silenced by the first bars of the national anthem and the audience rose to its feet as one.  A curious patriotism I have never witnessed before but oddly touching on this occasion.  Tim Burton addressed the room only briefly to introduce the film’s stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp.  The poised Ms Wasikowska bore scarce resemblance to pale and interesting Alice as she stood before us with her namesake’s cropped hair and a Valentino Couture gown.  A shutters blink later they were gone.  The lights dimmed, Danny Elfman’s score swelled in the air and…

I shall tell you nothing more.

But fear not, you are spoilt for Wonderland choice.  Jon’s review of Alice in Wonderland is here and Dave’s pictures of the night right here.  HeyUGuys has gone a little Alice crazy – we rather hope you will too!

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Emily Breen
Emily Breen began writing for HeyUGuys in 2009. She favours pretzels over popcorn and rarely watches trailers as she is working hard to overcome a compulsion to ‘solve’ plots. Her trusty top five films are: Betty Blue, The Red Shoes, The Princess Bride, The Age of Innocence and The Philadelphia Story. She is troubled by people who think Tom Hanks was in The Philadelphia Story and by other human beings existing when she is at the cinema.