[Review] Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

So, I went to get see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland today, because I had been wanting to see it since it came out. On first look it seems interesting enough; an Alice in Wonderland sequel, with Tim Burton in charge? I want to get in on that! Unfortunately, as with most movies with major hype leading up to the premiere, it did not live up to expectations. I’m not saying it was bad; by no means is it anywhere near bad. However, it was not great either, and here’s why:

1) Things felt WAY too rushed. Yeah, the beginning was boring, and you kind of wanted it to end, even though it was giving a decent development to Alice’s character, and the parallels between that world and Underland. However, as soon as it the marriage proposal happens, Alice runs off and follows the rabbit into the hole. I would say that not even five minutes later, we’ve already gone through the “Drink Me/Eat Me” thing with the doors, met Tweedledee, Tweedledum, the rabbit and the caterpillar, and Alice running for her life. If you were in the theater and had to go to the restroom for no more than five minutes, you would come back to your seat and think you’ve been gone for fifteen minutes or more based on what was on the screen. And this pace couldn’t have been for time constraints either, for the entire movie itself was roughly an hour and a half and another half hour in the theater for the sake of plot wouldn’t have killed anybody. This was probably my greatest disappointment with the film.

2) Why is the Mad Hatter such a prominent character all of a sudden? Yes, he’s the Mad Hatter and an awesome character, an instant favorite from the original story; and yes, it’s Johnny Depp, an awesome, versatile actor who can master any part perfectly. However, the Mad Hatter was never a prominent character with a lot of depth; hell, in the original he and the March Hare seemed like just a couple of insane, tea-lovin’ loonies. While the character development of the Hatter was nice, and gave us a totally different perspective on him, I feel as though he and the Red Queen were the only characters given such an upgrade, taking away from the possible development with the other characters. I mean, who wouldn’t like to know more about the Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit?

3) Little things here and there. For all the build up for the Jabberwocky, he sure didn’t get a lot of lines, and he was one of the few characters I wanted to hear more lines from, because it was the great Christopher Lee! But no, he got, like, two lines. Another thing was the random ending. I won’t give any spoilers, but Alice’s growth as a character led her to very unexpected places, but this may have been just been as a result of the fast pacing mentioned above.

But enough of the bashing on what was still a decent movie. As expected from Tim Burton, the visuals were weird and amazing, and really brought the world of Wonderland/Underland to life in a way most directors wouldn’t be able to do. The 3D (for those who choose to pay the extra few bucks) was also great; it wasn’t those cheesy “trying to be 3D” films, and the 3D actually added a lot to the wondrous land Burton created in a very positive way. The Red Queen’s castle was absolutely beautiful, and many of the characters that were brought to life weren’t ruined by the CG used, as many characters in other movies often fall victim to.

We also get an amazing cast with actors and actresses like Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway, along with many others (including what you can only consider a cameo by Christopher Lee), all of them doing their fair share to keep this story interesting. Depp proves once again that he can play even the most eccentric roles, Carter shows us that we should be proud to have large heads, and Hathaway manages to keep her arms above her shoulders at all times, while Christopher Lee is, um, a dragon.

So, in the end, when he take all of this and put it into a movie, we get Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Not great, but not horrible. Overall, I’d rate this movie as a 6/10, the redeeming qualities being the visuals and the strong cast. It was certainly a fun ride for those who loved the original Alice in Wonderland movie, and even the original books by Lewis Carroll, but don’t expect anything great if you’re going to go see it in theaters.