Cast: Violet Blue, Steven St. Croix, Charlie Laine, Candi Summers, James Deen, Katie Morgan, Evan Stone, Eric Masterson, Trina Michaels, Kris Knight, Herschel Savage
Non-sex roles: George Kaplan, Brian Why, others uncredited
Length: 110.5 minutes
Date of Production: 12/31/2005 (box); 7/31/2005 (credits)
Extras: The best extra on the DVD was clearly the 12.5 minute long Behind the Scenes feature by Dic Tracy. There was a fair amount of nudity, some sex in the background, and a number of interviews as various clips of the show were displayed. There was a photogallery, a couple of trailers, and some spam too but in general the extras package was kind of weak.
Audio/Video Quality: Wonderland was presented in a non-anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 color as shot by director DCypher for release under the Cal Vista label by Metro Interactive. Shot in "Hi-Def", the movie actually looked very crisp and clear in terms of the picture. The fleshtones were accurate and the level of detail provided was quite high for a Metro release but it wasn't substantially different than most mid range porn offered these days. The composition of the shots tended to favor the ladies but there were numerous compositional errors and times when I wondered if the cameraman was asleep at the helm. There were focus issues and times when the lighting was sub-optimal, leading to some grainy moments but the overall quality of the visuals were better than the director usually provides, with the exception of his lacking an anamorphic widescreen transfer (that some have suggested the movie possessed). The audio was presented in a 2.0 Dolby Digital English offering, not the surround sound bandied about online, and for the most part, it provided a standard porn experience. The vocals were easy to hear and the music was nothing special, coming across like it was tossed in as an afterthought much of the time. Given the marketing hype of the movie, I expected something a lot better in aural terms than this one actual provided but it wasn't bad by any means.
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Body of Review: DCypher is a fairly new director in porn that has been the talk of the town of late if you read the gossip columns. I wish I had seen his award nominated Prisoner given the fuss he made over how poorly it was marketed (Hmmm, it wasn't sent out to major websites for review…maybe he had a point). Well, his latest effort is a little title called Wonderland, a story about a guy (first mistake) with a crush on a gal in her mid twenties (second mistake) that liberally quotes Shakespeare (HUGE third mistake) in between the sex scenes. I made a big effort to get a copy of the DVD when I read that he said "If anyone does not believe I earned my review on Wonderland should watch Wonderland. I put my heart and soul into that movie" over on Luke Ford's website, wondering what review he was talking about since the movie just came out. Apparently, months prior to the release, a friend of his gave it a glowing review (fair enough; that doesn't mean it was bought and paid for or done as a favor) and the review was quoted on the front DVD cover. I've seen enough quotes in my time to roll my eyes at statements like "Erotic and original-a must see" but he's made a couple of decent movies and if Metro gave him a bigger budget, there might actually be something to the movie. Sadly, it was the same old porn, albeit with a slightly better picture, with the limitation of some chatty dialogue that didn't belong. Here's a look at the scenes of the movie to give you a better idea of who did what to whom, noting that no condoms were used in the process:
Scene One: Violet Blue, giving a little dance in her silly costume, was up first as she sucked off Steven St. Croix on the small stage. There was little tease as she dropped her clothing and slowly worked him over orally, putting her head in his lap and ass in the air. It wasn't nearly long enough for stroking purposes but led to a moderately active vaginal ride as her all natural body slowly rode him in reverse cowgirl. Her chemistry with him was limited and she seemed to be mechanically riding him but I haven't seen much of her lately and she's much better now than she used to be upon first entering the business. They boned in a similar fashion in a few more positions leading to a small pop shot on her crotch, providing a pleasant but tame experience to open the show after some fast forward fodder (FFF) of dialogue.
Scene Two: Charlie Laine, a very appealing gal with nasty words written on her body in lipstick, was up next in a very short solo scene on a bed where she diddled herself using a vibrator as cross dressing Steven yelled at her. Sadly, she wasn't given more than a few moments to work herself over, leading me to think someone fucked up big time.
Scene Three: Candi Summers, a redhead with milky white skin and a huge butterfly tattoo on her right ass check, was up next as she got a short spanking by Steven but the sex took place with James Deen on the bed. She has a girl next door appeal and each went down on the other in turn with him going first. Her oral skills seemed unpracticed but fairly warmish, coming across as better than the mechanical precision of so many of her peers in the industry but slightly lacking in terms of enthusiasm. The vaginal sex was way too passive on her part at first but she started rocking the boat a bit as the scene progressed. The replay value was limited for me but it was a nice change of pace considering how so many of the others in the show provided a standard performance. In the BTS feature, she made it clear her first name ended in an "i" but was spelt in standard fashion everywhere in the movie and on the cover (of course the director's name was misspelled on the bottom cover credits too, making it a metaphor for modern porn in general (a lack of polish and attention to detail). The ending pop shot might as well have been poison considering her facial expression but she showed some potential.
Scene Four: Katie Morgan, one of my favorite hotties in porn, was up next in bed with the mighty Evan Stone. Her black and neon pink lingerie enhanced her already gorgeous looks with Evan showing her a good time orally. This was the first scene in the movie where the gal looked like she was actually getting off a little bit, leading to a 69 with her actively inhaling his rod as he played with her ass and crotch. It might have been a performance but at least it was a GOOD performance with her doing the usual sex acts like she gave a flip. The camera lost focus more times than a low end gonzo scene and the music was so generic as to be laughable but at least these two seem to like one another, lending it a better dynamic air than most of the following scenes. They screwed vaginally in several positions before he rubbed out his load onto her chest.
Scene Five: Violet Blue, once again slobbing the knob of a man, this time by meat puppet Eric Masterson (who had a funny voice over earlier), was cut short like some of the other scenes and technically wasn't listed as a scene in the chapters menu. It served as a tease only and like Charlie's scene earlier in the movie, as well as her following scene, Violet was cheated of an opportunity to truly strut her stuff in this living room romp.
Scene Six: Violet Blue, leaning back on the counter in the kitchen, was given some minor oral by Steven St. Croix, in another tease clip. Fans may appreciate how she looked in her little outfit but they'll feel cheated nonetheless when they see how short and incomplete the action was.
Scene Seven: Trina Michaels, playing a stripper in a club that initially bled George's wallet dry for tips, gave Kris Knight a lap dance beside a Violet/Steven combination before the other couple left them alone. I wish the tease portion of the lap grinding was given more time since it was fun to watch but his weak oral on her at least led to a decent hummer by her as she slowly worked his shaft with a modicum of energy. This led to a pounding vaginal ride that showed her to be the most aggressive female of the movie in terms of riding cock. It was perhaps the longest ride of the show too, lasting the better part of fifteen minutes and ending with a minor pop to her chin. It was nothing exceptional compared to her many other wonderful scenes of late but at least it provided something more than a tease.
Scene Eight: Violet Blue, up last in her schoolgirl outfit, had a scene with old man Herschel Savage in bed. The lollipop was a nice prop and for all my kidding of the guy over the years about his age spotted dick, there's a reason he's still in porn decades after his debut back in the 1970's; he has a bit of talent that doesn't rely solely on erection pills. He savored the taste of her pussy as she spread herself wide open and she gave a hummer that focused largely on the tip of his shaft as he laid back and enjoyed the attention. It was a weak blowjob compared to what she's capable of but still got him hard enough to provide her best ride of the show in reverse cowgirl. I've long held that she had talent in the sexual performance arena and it was interesting to see her sporting a hairy bush in the scene but this wasn't her best work in terms of enthusiasm and the steam ran out long before the scene ended to finish the movie with a pop shot to her ass cheek.
Summary: Wonderland suffered as a stroke movie because of the pleasant-but-not-exceptional sex. The addition of the Shakespearean verse might have impressed a few people but I think the concept of "thinking man's porn" is greatly oversold at professional outlets since almost everyone I've ever met buying or renting porn cares little about pretentious dialogue (and keep in mind that I'm a fan of feature porn) and use their fast forward buttons to burn through it at warp speed (kudos to Mike Quasar for coming up with the term, or at least popularizing it, with "fast forward fodder"). If Metro had offered up an option like VCA where the non-sex material could be skipped through, it would have elevated the project considerably but even then the lukewarm sex would've stood out like a sore thumb. Don't get me wrong; the project showed some potential at times and I've seen enough porn in the last 25 years (including the performers in the movie) to know that they could do better, a lot better, if not saddled with the trimmings of literary devices such as they were here. Violet was as convincing a Lolita as I would be filling in for Lexington Steele (on all accounts) and Steven's acting abilities were never utilized to their fullest (he was phoning in the lines from the looks of it). If this wins any awards over the next year, it'll be for successfully marketing "generic porn" as something special. It didn't completely suck but that's hardly a compliment in an industry known for churning them out on an assembly line. Try it as a Rent It and I think you'll see what I mean when I say to take any reviews (this one included) with a pillar of salt.
---- You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon