Alice in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll’s two Wonderland books are whimsical, charming, and complete and utter nonsense. Tim Burton’s movie adaptation is disappointingly regular. And therein lies the major flaw of this film: it is far too conventional. It doesn’t at all match the absurd nature of the original tale except perhaps only in the art design. Its a run-of-the-mill story set in a place which is supposed to be anything but run-of-the-mill.
Seeing Wonderland come to life as it does is pretty cool, though still pretty cartoonish. But the plot is just stupid. The Mad Hatter isn’t very mad at all. he’s just, i dunno, a guy. Depp’s portrayal of him is kind of just a watered-down Jack Sparrow. Helena Bonham Carter seems more annoying than usual with her enormous photo-shopped head. However Mia Wacha-whatever was a pretty solid Alice.
The movie starts off with Alice’s life in Victorian England and you get the sense this may actually go somewhere. But the problem was the plot, and oddly enough the fact that there even was a plot seems to be most of the problem. Instead of silly, goofy things happening in random order, which would suit the fashion of the novels, the movie boils down to a simple story of “we need to overthrow the evil ruler.”
They even have a battle scene with the mad hatter leading the charge like Aragorn against the orcs. The mad hatter does care for anything but his tea time, why is he getting all sentimental with Alice and fighting for values which, though they may be valiant in our world, should be very out of sorts for a place like Wonderland. And for the climax they have Alice fighting the Jabberwocky! That seems like some idea some adolescent fan fiction writer would come up with” You know what would be awesome? If Alice fought the Jabberwocky with a sword!”
Okay, my review has been pretty harsh up to this point. It still has merits. Its great to look at and the effects are pretty cool, though overdone at times. Alice herself is interesting enough and of course the Cheshire cat is great. But when isn’t the Cheshire cat great?? Unfortunately the spirit of Carroll’s tales is severely lacking among the Colourful costumes and CGI mushrooms.