19-year-old Alice returns to the whimsical world she first met as a young girl, reuniting with her childhood friends: the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Dormouse, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, and of course, the Mad Hatter. Alice embarks on a fantastical journey to find her true destiny and end the Red Queen’s reign of terror.
Genres: Fantasy and Adaptation; Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.; Release Date: March 5th, 2010 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover
Directed by: Tim Burton
I love Tim Burton and I love Johnny Depp even more, which means I really wanted to love this movie. But alas, it is a unrequieted love.It’s often said a camel is a horse designed by a committee, and having served on lots of committees, I know of whence they speak. Alice in Wonderland is a Tim Burton film designed by Disney fatcats in a boardroom. They spent so much time worrying about selling it as a product that they completely forgot about putting together a half-decent story.
Mia Wasikowska’s Alice has no character arc; she is exactly the same by the end of the film, and her journey is utterly pointless. I came out of the theater wondering if it were just the mediocre script or the director who had failed to meet my expectations. The narrative thrust is so weak that they have to resort to a mostly hollow battle scene in order to keep everyone awake.
Depp, as usual, played his part perfectly. That man can say more with the lift of eyebrow (prominent ones in this film), that most actors in pages of dialogue. The visuals themselves were stunning, and as in Avatar (although I admit to dodging one time), I was pleased that the 3-D effects were used more to immerse you in Wonderland, than to used to startle. However, as beautiful as the visuals were, they just didn’t seem to add to the story, and the story is all about Wonderland. By the end of the movie, I just kept wanting the Rabbit break out into the “I’m Late, I’m Late” song.
All that being said, the movie is probably worth seeing, but I don’t know if I’d worry about paying the extra for the 3-D version, and you might just enjoy it more on DVD when it comes out.