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.