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Alice in Wonderland

A 2010 Tim Burton film based on Lewis Carroll's book of the same name.

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Tim Burton's "ALICE and THE DRAGON" in the Land of "Wonder-Narnia"!

  • Mar 6, 2010
                  Poster art for "Alice in Wonderland."
There have been many adaptations and interpretations in the silver screen of the classic fairy tale. Not surprising since the story does occur in a fantastical world full of myth, fantasy and bizarre characters that just provokes the imagination. Quirky director Tim Burton now attempts to interpret the tale in this 2010 release of “ALICE IN WONDERLAND”; only this time, it isn’t about a story we are familiar with, but rather a rendition that brings us into the world of Alice when she is now 19 years old. According to Burton, he never was able to connect with the story from an emotional standpoint since it was one character to another so he has fashioned his version not as a remake or re-imagining. Does he succeed in fashioning a new world built around the fairy tale?
Alice Kingsley (Mia Wasikowska) is now 19 years old. During her childhood, she has been plagued by dreams of grinning cats and weird caterpillars an now she has the opportunity to marry some rich dweeb who she doesn’t like the slightest. Out in the garden of a Victorian Estate, she spots an impeccably-dressed rabbit with a pocket watch. Alice chases it until she falls down a hole that takes her to another world called “Underland” (mostly known as “wonderland”) where the creatures of her dreams actually exist. The rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen), the door mouse (Barbara Windsor), and the twins Tweedle dee and tweedle dum (both voiced by Matt Lucas) bring Alice in the presence of a blue caterpillar (Alan Rickman) who tells her that if she is indeed ‘THE” Alice then she is destined to save this world from the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and kill her dragon, the Jabberwocky to restore the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to power in Underland. With the aid of the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), Alice sets out on a mission that can define her destiny…

             A scene from "Alice in Wonderland in Disney Digital 3D."

             Helena Bonham Carter in "Alice in Wonderland in Disney Digital 3D."

             Cheshire Cat in "Alice in Wonderland."
I like Tim Burton but I always had a fear that this movie may become very different from the “Alice In Wonderland” story we are all familiar with. My experience with Burton’s other works are usually either a hit or a miss. I didn’t like his “Batman” but I liked “Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Sleepy Hollow”. Well, this interpretation together with writer Linda Woolverton goes on a very different route. Not sure, but wasn’t “jabberwocky” the name of a poem in the second “Alice” book? I don’t mind straying from the original source material as long as it expands on the story, makes it more accessible with the respect it deserved. Snyder did well in his interpretation of “Watchmen” when it stuck real close to the source, while Del Toro made “Hellboy 2” his own and delivered an entertaining experience with some changes. With an adaptation, it falls as an obligation of the filmmaker to satisfy fans of the source material, not really to have them praise their work but to validate and rationalize why he made some changes to the original material. A director cannot please all movie watchers, so it is from this point of view that I will review this latest film by Tim Burton.
Here in the film, Alice believes that she is in a dream (the atmosphere certainly feels dreamlike) and that she has repressed all memories of Wonderland for reasons unknown. The creatures in Wonderland are CGI generated, and they really look ‘computer generated’. The set ups of the story are very familiar and quite frankly it feels rather “Chronicles of Narnia”-like that collides with “Hook”. I am not sure, but while the story wasn’t exactly boring, I thought the devices used weren’t exactly enthralling. There is the tea party, there’s the potion that makes one shrink and the pastry that makes one grow, and while Burton does touch on their potential, he couldn’t exactly make the scenes breathe and grow on the audience. 

            Dormouse in "Alice in Wonderland."

                            Knave of Hearts in "Alice in Wonderland."
            Johnny Depp in "Alice in Wonderland."
The fantastical world we remember in the tales are seen as a very digital world with bright colors that borders on the primary hue. The film looks rather gloomy and while the CGI images looked good, it just misses the magical experience that should be “Wonderland” because the story felt a little dull. The quality of the images are good, yet it is ‘sleepy’; perhaps this is Burton exercising his dream-like atmosphere, but wasn’t “Wonderland” supposed t mean a land of wonders? I guess Burton and company wanted to focus more on updating the title that they wanted to make it gloomy and darker that they sucked all the life from it. Burton couldn’t leave things alone and just tell the story as it was meant to be told. By incorporating this “prophecy” thing from “Narnia‘s” baked ideas, the “Alice and the Dragon” felt somehow unnecessary. 

             Anne Hathaway in "Alice in Wonderland."

                              Caterpillar in "Alice in Wonderland."
Now the characters in “Underland” (what?!) do have their charm. I liked Carter’s “Red Queen” persona because I liked that giant head of hers. Carter also does deliver “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS” with the right vocal pitches. Depp’s “Mad Hatter” persona is well, very Johnny “Depp-ish“. He’s a great actor so he can definitely pull off this character. This “hatter” is full of quirky, bizarre charisma that matches Carter’s “Red Queen”. The Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry) is marvelously fun to see and almost steals the show. Crispin Glover plays a hybrid of live-action and CG image that makes his persona quite weird. Carter’s and Glover’s appearances are products of CG-live action gene splicing and they are good to look at. Wasikowska makes for a good lead, since she does hold the British enthusiasm in her role. The film also has the usual themes of facing your fears and realizing one's destiny.
Well, much as I couldn’t really say that “Alice in Wonderland” was a good movie, I guess it wasn’t really that terrible to watch. Much as the tone, mood and atmosphere wasn’t caught by Burton’s rendition. This film can be seen in IMAX 3D and it is just clear that 3D may be here for awhile (because of Avatar’s success) but let’s send the studios a message that moviegoers still appreciate a well-developed storyline than half-baked ideas that uses 3D to cover up a movie’s flaws. As good, as the movie does look at certain scenes, it isn’t “Wonderland” but “Underland”. There aren’t really any key scenes that would make the movie stand out (save for the cat and the caterpillar) that I can’t really recommend it. But the 3D can be fun in the big screen, so I guess it all depends on what you are looking for. Tim Burton"s "Alice" feels rather unnecessary.
RENTAL But Recommended to Fans of 3D [3 stars]
HYPE LEVEL: High. Tim Burton’s adaptation of the much-loved fairy tale is eagerly anticipated. In my opinion, this movie is a little ‘over-hyped’.

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September 09, 2011
I did finally get to see this one; Alice In Wonderland was never a story I cared for when growing up but I was anxious to see my man play in another weird role - I didn't care for the story ( I expected I wouldn't) but the characters were cute and the scenery was stunning and Depp looked strange, so it wasn't a total waste of time LOL -
October 21, 2010
Love Helena Bonham Carter in this, well in everything see does.
March 16, 2010
Talk about over-hyped! This has got to take the cake. I was thinking of taking the boys, but if the 3D is only IMAX then I'm out of luck. Burton doesn't normaly score big with me. In fact I can think of only 2 or 3 of his films that I've cared for. This one looked like it might have a lot of visual appeal though and I'm not that invested in the original story.
March 21, 2010
which two movies are those, Queenie?
March 23, 2010
BIG FISH and ED WOOD are the ones I really liked, but I guess I can't leave out EDWARDS SCISSORHANDS. And I did kinda get a kick out of PEEWEE'S BIG ADVENTURE even though I never cared for the character.
March 12, 2010
Awesome review, I'm so anxious to see this since Burton has taken the helm and also since it had a huge opening it looks like it could be one of Burton's better films.
March 09, 2010
Hey Woopak! Nice review! :3 I just saw Alice this weekend, and left VERY confused. The first thing I thought was "Alice in Narnialand..?" lol The movie was very pretty. But storyline lacked. It's a shame I didn't read your review beforehand. As I entered skeptically hyped, and left disappointingly shocked. (Also I wanted to run out of the theater screaming "NOOOO!" when Johnny Depp did that "dance." lol VERY unnecessary.)
March 10, 2010
"Alice in Narnialand" LOL! I am with you, though it was NOT  terrible to sit through, it sure wasn't enthralling (a wonderland movie should enthrall and enchant after all) That Depp dance may be a homage to Tom Cruise's in Tropic Thunder LOL!
March 07, 2010
I posted my review to your community with an agreement on the hype factor. What did you think about Mia's performance? She had a lot to do with my failure to engage this one.
March 07, 2010
Thanks! Mia had the right British tone for the movie but I think she was a little over her head. She was pretty and all, charming actually, but the script obviously held her back because of the dream thing. I appreciated the attempt at originality but I sure wished Burton made it to reflect the tone of the book.
March 07, 2010
Great review of "Alice and Wonderland." The main reason I don't want to see it is because I don't believe the hype. Plus, I was never a fan of the original story. If I do see it, it will be because I have nothing else to watch in the theaters. :P
March 07, 2010
Yeh, This was definitely overhyped because of the DEPP-BURTON tag team. It wasn't horrible to sit through, but it sure didn't enthrall me. A good rental on a rainy night.
March 08, 2010
Yeah, I get a little tired of those two always working together. We get it...you like each other...now discover new actors and actresses who can star in your films! :P
March 08, 2010
yup...like that nice lady Adrianna and that stupid woopak who can star in a quirky Burton movie LOL!
March 09, 2010
LOL! Too cute. I would love to star in a movie. It was my first dream before deciding I wanted to be a writer in 7th grade. When I got glasses in 4th grade, I thought acting was forever out of my reach. I had it ingrained in my brain that movie stars didn't wear glasses. LOL!
March 06, 2010
Ha, twisted!!! Hollywood has run out of idea or what? ;-)
March 07, 2010
I think they've ran out of creative juices long ago...
March 06, 2010
Cool review. I'm still riding the fence on this one. As a huge fan of the original Disney version and as someone who loved the books, I'm afraid I'd be destracted by alterations to and deviations from the source materials. However, I do like Burton and the idea of seeing the Cheshire Cat in 3-D is awesome, so I'm not sure where I stand. Plus, most critics' reactions have been mixed.
March 06, 2010
I have very mixed feelings to this one. I didn't exactly mind the alterations (boy, was the actress who played Alice Hot!) but some of them did hamper my enjoyment of the film. I think the movie would make a good family flick, because the kids were laughing. The movie wasn't a pain, but it sure wasn't necessary.
March 06, 2010
the cat was awesome, unfortunately there was only 3 or 4 expanded scenes with him in them.
March 06, 2010
Damn it, the Cheshire Cat was the best character in the 1951 animated version. And yeah, Mia is hot. It's kind of creepy to have a sexy Alice, though. Ick.
July 04, 2010
Finally saw it and had mixed feelings. It's definitely not Lewis Carroll's original story by any means and they probably should have said "based on the characters and events of" rather than "based on Lewis Carroll's Alices Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass". Still, it wasn't as bad as I was expecting.
July 04, 2010
July 04, 2010
Probably not. I've got my hands full with other stuff, including a "rip 'em apart" review of New Moon for Blogger and a bunch of book reviews for here. Ever wish that you could be at two places at once so you could go to work and earn money and still have time for a personal life? LOL! That's my general state of mind these days.
September 09, 2011
I think they need to make a sequel called "Alice in a Wonderbra". : )
March 06, 2010
I'll wait until this one comes out on DVD. I always thought that Anne Hathaway looked quite strange with that white hair, especially because her brows are still dark, and from the previews, it seems like the Mad Hatter is made to be as weird as possible just for the sake of entertaining Depp and Burton fans. It just seems like he could grow to be annoying. I never saw the original Disney version of "Alice In Wonderland" (my mother was convinced it was about psychedelic drugs), but nonetheless, I appreciate your mention of it deviating too much from the source material. Well done.
March 06, 2010
Thanks for the read, Ula. I too had mixed feelings about Hathaway's "White Queen" because she was well, weird. You are right of course about the Depp-Burton collaboration. I respect Depp, but you are right that once you play your characters with a signature, you may get annoying. This was a mixed bag, no doubt if it didn't have the Wonderland stamp that I may have liked it more, but I dunno, it sure was too "underland".
March 06, 2010
Haha, I guess I'll see just what is meant by "underland" when I see it, but from your pictures, it sure looks dreary. I usually enjoy settings like that, but it doesn't seem to fit when compared to the colorful world of the original "Alice In Wonderland".
More Alice in Wonderland (2010 movi... reviews
review by . May 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*1/2 out of ****    "Alice in Wonderland" is quite possibly the most boring film Tim Burton has ever made. It is so boring - and tedious, and maddening, and flat - that it comes off as an absolute surprise that such a brilliant and visionary filmmaker would have made it. But did Burton really make it? That's what I'm wondering by the time it's over, because this is just a mess. And not a fun mess either. It's one of those good-looking, overly indulgent and just-so-goddamn-stupid …
review by . December 12, 2010
You'd think that Tim Burton and Alice in Wonderland would be a perfect combination right? I actually did like most of what Tim Burton did with the movie, seeing as I was never terribly attached to the Disney one in my childhood, but I can definitely see why fans of the original film may be disappointed.      First of all, I will start with the obvious. The visuals are really pretty and superfun to look at, especially in 3D. I have come to expect this from Tim's movies, …
review by . March 16, 2011
I was never really attached to the Disney film as a child, but I still have respect for it, and I still like it to this day. However, I like this movie just as much as the Disney film, even though it isn't spectacular by Disney or Tim Burton standards. Honestly, you'd think Tim Burton and Lewis Carroll would be a match made in heaven right? Well, it is and it isn't. This is one of five movies that I have seen in 3D and may I say this is the best use of 3D in the movies that I have seen …
review by . March 06, 2010
Inside the El Capitan theater.
One year for Chanukah when I was a little girl, my parents bought me a collection of "the classics". Most kids would probably have been disappointed, wishing instead for the new Barbie or video game, but I've always loved to read so I was ecstatic. One of the books in the set had both Through The Looking Glass and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland together under one cover, and it became one of my favorites. I escaped into the stories again and again over the years.       …
review by . March 06, 2010
Down The Rabbit Hole
Ever see a movie that you can't wait to get back from and tell everyone about? That's THIS movie. Avatar can make that claim for last year, but this one will be held in people's memories until 2011. I just got back from seeing it and I want to tell you all about it. Well, not everything, that's not my style, but if you're wondering if you should go to theater to catch this, I hope I can make you go the rest of the way.      I didn't know what to expect from this movie. I had …
review by . July 15, 2011
Twenty years ago, Tim Burton's first four feature films cemented his reputation as a reliable creator of inspired, easily digestible filmic fantasies. His string of middling-to-awful pictures over the course of the past decade (the idiotic Planet of the Apes remake is surely the worst of the lot) have gradually eroded Burton's credibility and popularity, and this umpteenth adaptation of Lewis Carroll's nonsensical classic (do we really need yet another?) hardly indicates that he's …
review by . July 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      ALICE IN WONDERLAND   I have to say that I am indeed a fan of Lewis Carroll the person who wrote the stories on which this film was based [yes I said stories as in multiple, it’s true look it up], and am a huge fan of the animated film that we all know and love, CLASSIC. Add in that I am a Tim Burton fan, a Johnny Depp fan [my girl loves him], and a huge Helena Bonham Carter fan [I love her]. So naturally we all got together to see this film opening night …
review by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
You know, I don't pay much attention to professional movie reviews so when I read on Twitter that the critics trashed Alice in Wonderland, I was a little surprised. Especially since my 4 year old and I watched it 4 times in a row! Yep, you read that right.   Of course, I love Johnny Depp in everything that he does- he's a chameleon actor and he does not disappoint as the Mad Hatter in this Tim Burton adaptation.  Likewise, Helena Bonham Carter was perfection as …
review by . May 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Typical Burton
There's a lot of criticism focusing around Tim Burton at the moment and it's spiked at the release of this film. The major criticisms directed at Burton focus on his lack of any original ideas and the re-casting of the same actors in every film he makes. Johnny Depp is a great actor; I don't think anybody would deny this, but to cast him in almost every movie made by Burton is just insane and has become repetitive to the point it's becoming damaging to Depp's career. He seems now like an actor that …
review by . March 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Welcome to Tim Burton's Wonderland...
Once upon time in England there lived a young girl named Alice, Alice Kingsley  now Alice wasn't  like most girls her age  she was a little impetuous and curious. Therefore, one day while roaming around the woods young Alice wanders off into the woods and there she sees a small white rabbit in a waistcoat with a pocket watch, Alice, curious about the strange creature follows him up the hill to an old tree where the rabbit mysteriously vanishes. Alice looks around  for him and …
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Alice in Wonderland is a 2010 Tim Burton film staring Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen, Alan Rickman as the Caterpiller, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen and Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.  It is slated for a March 5th 2010 release.

Tim Burton was born to bringAlice in Wonderlandto the big screen. Ironically, his version of the Victorian text plays more likeThe Wizard of Ozthan a Lewis Carroll adaptation. On the day of her engagement party, the 19-year-old Alice (a nicely understated Mia Wasikowska) is lead by a white-gloved rabbit to an alternate reality that looks strangely familiar--she's been dreaming about it since she was 6 years old. Stranded in a hall of doors, she sips from a potion that makes her shrink and nibbles on a cake that makes her grow. Once she gets the balance right, she walks through the door that leads her to Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas), the Dormouse (Barbara Windsor), the Blue Caterpillar (Alan Rickman), and the Cheshire Cat (a delightful Stephen Fry), who inform her that only she can free them from the wrath of the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter channeling Bette Davis) by slaying the Jabberwocky. To pull off the feat, she teams up with the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp in glam-rock garb), rebel bloodhound Bayard (Timothy Spall), and Red's sweet sister, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway in goth-rock makeup). While Red welcomes Alice with open arms, she plans an execution for the hat-maker when he ...
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Director: Tim Burton
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: March 5, 2010
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
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