Sean K. Cureton

Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Alice In Wonderland 2010 Movie

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on March 8, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Alice in Wonderland

Directed by Tim Burton

2 and 1/2 out of 4 stars

A Tim Burton directed adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is ingenious in theory. What other director is more likely to produce a film from a book so in touch with child-like sensibilities and fantastic ideas? The film itself, however, falls short of these said expectations.

The problem with Alice in Wonderland is simple: it does not tell the classic fable related in the book. Instead, it creates a sort of expanded sequel to the original books, where Alice is a nineteen year-old woman facing an arranged marriage with a rather droll gentleman. Alice, still being Alice from the original children’s fairy tale, rebels against her would-be husband and over-bearing mother, and chases the white rabbit back to wonderland.

This beginning, as well as the end, are the two worst parts of the movie. Like Burton did with his version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Burton again tries to provide a frame to a story that never needed one in the first place. Luckily, these framing sequences are relatively short and can be forgotten and skipped over very easily without getting confused by the rest of the film.

To avoid giving away too much more, I will summarize the rest of the movie in one sentence. Alice returns to Wonderland and must save its inhabitants from the “Red” Queen.

For the most part, the bulk of the film that takes place in the Wonderland universe from the original story is fun. Yes, it does not follow the original plot as mentioned before, and yes it is essentially a sequel, but overall it’s not too bad. Elements from the original stories come into play in new and exciting variations. But that is precisely one of the things that could be said to be wrong about the film. The story that has been created by Linda Woolverton, while being fun and for the most part is faithful to the source material, is not a great story in any way. In the hands of any other director, this film would be complete garbage.

And this brings me to the soul reason why this film is redeemable: Tim Burton. For most people who will go to see this film, Burton is the driving force for their interest. And he doesn’t disappoint. Burton has yet again created an immersing world that you are drawn into on many levels. The visual effects are enthralling, the characters are entertaining, and the acting performances are great. As usual, Johnny Depp gives a great performance as the Mad Hatter, despite the fact that he is nothing like the character created by Carroll. Helena Bonham Carter is superb as a CGI created “Red” Queen, even though she should really be called the Queen of Hearts. All the other characters are done fantastically as well, most notably the Cheshire Cat, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, and the infamous Smoking Caterpillar, voiced by the always welcome Alan Rickman.

In conclusion, Alice in Wonderland is not Tim Burton’s highest moment, but no one really expected it to be. Due to a less than stellar re-imagining of the classic story, this film adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic story is a movie that is enjoyable primarily because of the director’s artistic brilliance. If you are a Tim Burton fan, you will enjoy this Burton creation, as it is much better than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If you are not, then you would not miss much, as the story is abysmal at times, but if you are at all interested, you should give this movie a go.