Review: Alice in Wonderland

Rating: * * * *
Good fun, but lacking that magical touch.

What can I say? This is Tim Burton. And as always, he delivers a visual extravaganza. Depp’s Mad Hatter tucking Alice safely into a teapot for hiding. Alice riding a bloodhound on her way to save the Hatter. The White Queen concocting a potion made of buttered fingers, among other things.

Some of the original elements are still here: the shrinking potion and the growing cake, the Cheshire Cat and the caterpillar, the flamingo croquet and the mad tea partiers. But it’s not a remake: it’s a retelling, based on the original but set in the future on her second visit to Underland. A visit that turns out to have a very important purpose – restoring the White Queen to her rightful throne.

And that’s where it gets a little boring. After all, that”s not exactly an original storyline. Cute lines like “Sometimes I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast” help break the monotonous charge towards the grand finale, but not enough to stop us fidgeting a little more than should be expected.

Helena Bonham Carter as the bulbous-headed Red Queen is the standout – a lonely, insecure dictator who wrestles with the question: Is it better to be loved, or feared? Surrounded by a fawning court – all of whom wear prosthetics in order to avoid upstaging her – she gets a giggle out of her two “fat boys” (Tweedledee and Tweedledum), shouting (what else?) “Off with their heads!” and her Jabberwocky.

There’s also plenty of humour peppered throughout – a lot of which centres around the unfortunate ginger lord with  food allergies who proposes to Alice and sparks her escape to Underland. Personally, I think she should have stayed there.

Although we paid the extra to watch this in 3D, neither of us were impressed. I wouldn’t recommend it; it’s unnecessary and even a little distracting. It certainly doesn’t add anything to a movie like this – especially when there’s movement on screen which only ends up looking out of focus.

In short, Burton’s Wonderland isn’t as mindblowing as I might have hoped, but it was an enjoyable, if not entirely wild, ride. Now I have to go and rent the original to enjoy all over again.

6 thoughts on “Review: Alice in Wonderland

  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair March 8, 2010 at 18:58

    Eric went to this tonight and did not like it at all, said it was kind of weird!

  • Reply unknowntheartist March 8, 2010 at 22:02

    Is the film done in 3D like Avatar or like Tim Burton’s other films, where only select bits are in 3D?

  • Reply Investing Newbie March 9, 2010 at 03:02

    Thanks for the review. I wasn’t planning on seeing it as Alice in Wonderland wasn’t one of my fave stories, but it the graphics looked pretty amazing. I’m pretty sure it will dominate the box office for a while since there are no major movies coming out any time soon.

  • Reply The Asian Pear March 9, 2010 at 04:54

    I’m not a Tim Burton fan but I DO want to see this film. I always thought Alice in Wonderland would be the perfect movie to turn twisty and dark (ever since the McGee’s Alice game).

    Thanks for the review!

  • Reply quarterlifegirl March 9, 2010 at 07:37

    I’m sure everyone that knows this is probably tired of hearing me say this….but I was a bit disappointed when I saw the previews. It looks like a cartoon with all the CGI they’ve put in there. When I originally heard Tim Burton was doing the movie I imagined a much creepier movie, with less CGI. My fault, I guess, lol. That being said, I probably won’t see it until it comes out on DVD.

  • Reply eemusings March 9, 2010 at 11:33

    @unknowntheartist I haven’t seen Avatar, so can’t compare…I think it is 3D all the way through, but it’s much more obvious in certain parts depending on the perspective of the shots, if you know what I mean.

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