Alice in Wonderland


            As I look through Tim Burton’s film career I only see one or two films that I would even bother watching a second time. While Burton has a distinctive style that you either love or hate, I have become bored with the Johnny Depp collaborations. Big Fish and Batman are the lesser fantasized films and have much deeper meaning and intensity. While Burton’s re-vamped, new age Alice in Wonderland is the usual: creative, funny, and special effects dependant, it’s everything you expect from Depp and Burton with a lot of borrowed ideas from recent films.

            19-year-old Alice (Wasilkowska) falls down a rabbit hole just after she has been proposed to. This strange new world she finds herself in seems all too familiar. She has had dreams since childhood about interesting creatures that suddenly meet her face to face. Liquids that make her grow small and cakes that turn her into a giant are just part of the odd things about this world. Before she knows it she is being begged to save the country called Underland from the Red Queen (Carter). It’s the Mad Hatter (Depp) that she trusts the most and for him she will muster up the courage to battle and return the crown to its rightful owner.

            Alice in Wonderland is a film that is completely overrun with special effects, everything is digital and perhaps that’s appealing for some, but for me it was a distraction. Where the effects in Avatar enhanced the film, these effects hinder. I do admire Burton for managing to squeeze in mature humor for the adults, there were enough grown up jokes in this Disney movie to withdraw it from a children’s film. While the adaptation from the original story has changed in Burton’s version his notion of more is more turns into more is boring.

            While the world is captivated by Depp’s clown like behavior and performance in nearly every film baring his name, I beg to understand what the big deal is. While Burton’s wife Oscar nominee Carter nearly steals the show with her enlarged queen head, Oscar nominee Hathaway is horribly miscast and uncomfortable to watch. Alice’s battle costume is nearly identical to the one Cate Blanchett wears in The Golden Age which seemed unnerving, but it got worse when The White Queen and Alice look down from the castle in identical framing to Gandalf and Pippin in Return of the King. So while the creativity runs wild, I couldn’t help but pick out borrowed ideas from better films.

            Final Thought – Charlie is Alice and the chocolate factory is Wonderland.


Grade C

By: Dustin Chase W.

Editor: Jennifer Gih