Review: Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton does a fine job of re-telling stories and making them a whole lot more eccentric. He's no different here than he was with 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'Sweeney Todd'. He's not remaking 'Alice' but taking bits from other writings of Lewis Carroll and making it a sequel of sorts.

Alice (Mia Waskokowska) is now 19 years old. She has no memory of her previous visit to Wonderland (really?) Only vivid dreams and nightmares. She's about to be married off to someone she really doesn't care for when she spots the white rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen) once again and follows him down the rabbit hole to Wonderland Underland, as it is called in the film (don't worry, the Caterpillar explains it later on in the film) Upon arrival the creatures of Underland are not entirely sure they have the right Alice. She's to help them bring down the Red Queen (The extremely annoying Helena Bonham-Carter) by slaying the Jabberwocky (the name of a creature in one of Carroll's poems) and giving the crown to the much calmer little sister, The White Queen. (Anne Hathaway) Alice doesn't want to do this at first but after getting caught up with our returning characters, The Caterpillar (Alan Rickman's sexy voice), Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (Matt Lucas), Bayard the dog (Timothy Spall), The March Hare (Paul Whitehouse) and of course the center of it all: The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). Alice eventually steps up to the challenge of becoming their champion.

The 3D effects in this movie were almost useless, some felt blurry and others were hardly noticeable. The film would've done just fine without it, but why not get the extra $$ from the ticket prices. Burton does a good job of making Underland a colorful, obscure place. He does a lot better than say, Peter Jackson tried to do in 'The Lovely Bones', but part of the film felt like scenes that were cut from a Harry Potter film. The opening, the music, not that I mind some Potterness (hell half the cast is in this movie as well) it didn't feel new.

The cast, though fun to watch seemed a bit forced. Our Alice isn't the curious girl we met years ago, but a pouty, stern teenager who really doesn't look like she wants to be here.  Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter is way over the top, and I daresay that I actually wanted him to tone it down. (A scene involving a "futterwaken" dance is downright stupid) I love Johnny Depp, always have, always will. But it's obvious he was allowed to just run wild with this character, it just seemed a little over the top. Half Willy Wonka half Jack Sparrow. I have to reiterate what I said earlier about Helena Bonham-Carter being annoying. She's not an annoying actress (Hell, I love her as Bellatrix Lestrange) but her Red Queen's constant "Off with their head!" does get on overdrive in the second half. Anne Hathaway is amusing as the White Queen (especially the way she walks) she was my favorite and it was nice to hear familiar voices with the animated characters. Although the film goes from a Harry Potter beginning, to a Burton-middle, to Narnia battle at the end, it's still enjoyable for what it is. Not Burton's best, not his worst. It's a lot different what what I was expected, but it is by no means a bad film.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I like "big", Um" - Stayne (Crispin Glover) -- Watch the film, you'll get why I think that's so funny.--


  1. Alice in Wonderland reminds me most of Sleepy Hollow: empty, faux-atmospheric, and without soul.


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