WELCOME TO WONDERLAND

review

Author: M. LUCKEY
Date: Aug 24, 2006
Views: 2546

WELCOME TO WONDERLAND
REVIEW BY M. LUCKEY


Welcome to Wonderland captivates you from its first scene, a lone figure in a beautiful outback setting creating a moment of beauty over a haunting soundtrack. From there, you are taken on an amazing modern day journey of people gathering where nature meets music, continuing the ancient practice of indigenous corroboree.

Matt Flynn states early on in the film that \"This record, going through that needle, into that amp through those speakers can cause everyone to go bananas, it\'s just crazy… the needle on the record where heaven and earth meet.\" This movie brings that to the screen.

The film is a stellar, first time effort from a Melbourne independent film producer, James Short of Short Documentaries. It\'s a five-year epic production composed from hundreds of hours of footage, captured at numerous Australian outdoor dance parties, and scored with an amazing soundtrack.

James says, \"Its a celebration of life through music and dance… an exploration of the power and simple pleasure that we can experience.\"
The film tells the story through the experiences of a variety of participants in the Australian outdoor electronic music scene, through interviews as well as observational footage.

The storyline was created from the footage that had been shot, rather than using a voiceover to tell the story. As a result, we get to know the characters as they tell their own tales, which are woven together to form a multi-layered storyline. The journey is about people coming together, how they contribute, participate, classic moments of getting lost on route and what it all means to them. It\'s funny; it\'s inspiring and put together with meticulous editing.

The footage chosen draws you into the experience and gives an amazing insight into what goes into putting on an outdoor dance party. You meet some of the journeymen and women of the outdoor electronic dance scene, as well as familiar doof faces. Each person frankly shares their thoughts and feelings, giving great integrity to the common themes they build along the way.

The vision comes from parties including Earthcore, Rainbow Serpent and some of the seminal earlier outdoor dance parties. It captures the whole festival experience in some of the most amazing settings that exist in the Australian outback. DJ Krusty states that \"a festival is a participation mystery…. you have to experience it to understand it\". Welcome to Wonderland takes you there, to those places and moments only found in nature and dance.

James says, \"I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible to ensure that I was really allowing everyone to tell their own stories, capturing real expression and feeling, especially when people were dancing.\"

The dance footage in this film picks up an incredible variation in style, movement, energy and harmony with the music, the connection. There is tribal grooving through to moments of reckless abandon and massive releases of energy in some beautiful forests and landscapes. People dancing in a natural landscape are awesome to behold. The bonus features on the DVD include dance montages from the festivals and parties – and they rock.

The soundtrack (both on the movie and bonus CD) does justice to a tale so heavily reliant on electronic music. There were multiple composers used as well as over 50 pieces of music in the film including classical, jazz, reggae, trance, dance and world music from Australian and international artists.

The picture does an admirable job in capturing many moments from wild tribal electro dancing through to hugs, tears and incredible night scenes. Having been to parties included in the film, it\'s an honest, deep and amazing account of what goes on. Everything from lasers, massive speaker stacks, installation art to sprawling landscapes, and moments of pure madness.

Welcome to Wonderland is available on DVD with a CD Soundtrack presented as a two-disc box set. The extra features on the DVD extend the Wonderland experience, including the dance montages, \'Making Of\' featurettes and DJ interviews. The package can be purchased directly from www.welcometowonderland.com

Whether you love your electronic music outdoors or indoors, this film is for you. Not only is it a story you will love and associate with, but its wonderfully crafted and captures a time and a place in the history of Australian music and a community of which you are a part.

Welcome to Wonderland is an absolute must watch for anyone who loves music or dance. However, it\'s also a film to share with people who know nothing about this culture, as it will give them a glimpse of the experience.

You will watch this film, and you will want to go dancing!

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