Alice in Wonderland
Directed by Tim Burton
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, and Alan Rickman.
Tim Burton was one of the first directors I identified with and glommed onto. When I got my DVD player, I said I would get all his movies on DVD. (Still missing Beetlejuice, Mars Attacks!, and Sleepy Hollow, in case you’re thinking of gift ideas.) So when I heard that he was hopping on the 3D, performance capture bandwagon to do Alice in Wonderland, I was intrigued. It seemed that Burton’s unique visual flair would be ideal to realize Wonderland on the big screen. So how’d it all turn out?
We catch up with Alice as a young woman in her late teens or early twenties. She has forgotten all about Wonderland, dismissing it as little more than a childhood dream. And now, it seems her life is all mapped out for her. She’s about to go into an arranged marriage and settle down and lead a dull and ordinary life. But then, at her engagement party, she spies a White Rabbit, and once again falls down the rabbit hole. But this is not the Wonderland of her youth. The Red Queen is on a mad quest to become ruler of all, and is carving a swath of destruction across the land. The Mad Hatter and his band of rebels see Alice as the chosen one…the one who will end the Red Queen’s reign and return the White Queen to the throne. It seems even in this world, Alice’s life is all mapped out for her. Will she ever be able to find her own destiny?
What I Liked
Well, it’s Tim Burton, so all the Burton touches that I like are on display. There’s some wild visuals, a pretty good Danny Elfman score, and top notch performances by Depp and Carter. The special effects are amazing, especially the climactic battle with the Jabberwocky…truly one of the most frightening dragons ever seen on the big screen.
What I Didn’t Like
The plot is your fairly basic fantasy plot. On a quest, find the magic sword, slay the dragon. Alice really has grown into a Disney princess in this film…feeling enslaved by the trappings of her position, and looking for a better life out there.
Familiar characters shoehorned into a familiar plot…the whole darn thing just feels so familiar. I feel like Burton just did this for the paycheck.