Please note there are some small spoiler alerts in this movie review
First off, This is not supported to be a word for word telling of the famous Alice in Wonderland story – this is actually the second time she has been down the hole. Therefore this is actually a sequel to the Alice in Wonderland story based on the 19th century novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now 19 years old who has forgotten about her last childhood journey into Wonderland – yet her dreams still recall the visit.
Just as she is proposed to by a insufferable bore of a ginger haired “Lord”, she wisely avoids the proposal of marriage and ends up falling down a rabbit hole and falls back down to Wonderland. Of course she thinks this is all just a dream and plays along for a while.
Alice is then given the mission of saving the Wonderland from the madness of the Red Queen played by Helena Bonham Carter (Helena Bonham Carters playing of the Red Queen reminds me of Queenie from Blackadder – even mis-pwe-nounces a wange of words using w’s for r’s). The Red Queen is still as we remember her, obsessed with shouting “Off with her head”. I though it was quite funny the way she always asked for a warm pig to put her feet on – it is this sort of curiouser and curiouser imagery which makes the film work. The film is just unusual – so don’t go expecting straight forward.
One of the main draws of this film is the portrayal of the Mad Hatter by Johnny Depp. This is a very good performance with lots of madness, and a very unusual “Futterwacken” dance, but there is a kind of scottish accent which Depp tries to use but in these places the dialogue is hard to understand. Other characters include the Cheshire Cat which is perfectly voiced by the one and only Stephen Fry.
The film itself has live action and CGI mixed quite well – the film looks amazing … I don’t think it looks like any other film of the last few years in the way digital and film are combined. Don’t go to the film expecting the original “Alice in Wonderland” story – perhaps a title of “Down to Wonderland again” might have been a better title. It is a fun film but there are some scenes younger children might not appreciate (i.e. lots of roaring and chasing monsters).
The film flaws are mainly that the story is not as well developed as it could have been and there is a little drama, but being a Disney film this is to be expected but Tim Burton’s visual creativity makes up for any lacking in the film.
If you can, see this film in 3D as it does add soemthing extra.
Movie Classification: PG
Director: Tim Burton
Film Cast: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helna Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Timothy Spall, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen