Our next film is Tim Burton’s adaptation of the fabulous and matchless story by Lewis Caroll, although ‘adaptation’ may be a strong word.
This is one of the many films I’ve seen that has failed to win me over solely thanks to visual effects. The story this Alice in Wonderland-movie was too silly to be ignored and the changes Burton made likewise. But hey, at least Burton got to put his obvious love interest Johnny Depp in another role, specifically the overly large role given to The Mad Hatter. I, uh… I’ll get to that in a bit.
The film begins as we meet the little girl Alice and right there is our first change – Alice is 19 years old and portrayed by Mia Wasikowska. At a garden party she is forced to marry some guy she isn’t fond off. But who cares? There’s a white rabbit runing around the garden, after all. Assuming this is a sequel, I would have thought she would have learned to watch out for those darn rabbit holes by now (she speaks of having been to Wonderland before, after all), but she falls into one yet again. Is she on her way to Wonderland now?
The answer is no – see, the world she has now entered is called Underland, and I cannot even begin to guess why. Things are different down here this time around; The Queen of Hearts – except she’s called The Red Queen and and has a huge head, owned by Helena Bonham Carter – has become the ruthless ruler of the entire land. And who is destined to stop the evil queen if not the brave, strong, war-hero Alice? That’s… interesting, I guess.
Eventually, of course, Alice encounters The March Hare and The Mad Hatter, the Hatter being played by Johnny Depp. Due to being a Depp-character, The Mad Hatter – whose name is “actually” Tarrant Hightop, for no reason – is given a scene where he explains how Underland was taken over by the evil queen, a subplot involving him being a prisoner to the queen for a while and a mind-boggingly idiotic scene where he starts to break dance. As if the fact that The Mad Hatter is designed to look like Ronald McDonald’s mentally disturbed cousin wasn’t idiotic enough.
Of course, other characters from the Alice in Wonderland-story are featured, such as The Caterpillar (Alan Rickman), who for some reason is suddenly named Absolem, The Chesire Cat (Stephen Fry), Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum (both played by Matt Lucas of Little Britain-fame), The March Hare (Paul Whitehouse), who for some reason is named Thackery Earwicket, The White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), who for some reason is named Nivens McTwisp, and then of course there’s the monstrous Jabberwocky, a beast with the voice – yes, voice!!! – of Sir Christopher Lee, which Alice, the war-princess must slay to fullfill the prophecy and save Narnia… I mean Wonderland, I mean Underland! Crispin Glover and Anne Hathaway are also featured.
Well, all these characters need to step aside for a while and let mr. Depp steal the spotlight, as per usual with a Burton-film. Not that the other characters are as amusing or interesting as they were in the book or the animated Alice in Wonderland-film or anything; instead they’re those typical boring, frightened fantasy creatures one would expect to meet in a harshly ruled realm like Narnia… I mean Underland!
Now, I want you to do something; I want you to go look at the Disney-version of Alice in Wonderland from 1951 and then come back here and tell me with honesty that you would like to see that in the style of Narnia. I would never say something like that without joking.
Those lovely visuals and Danny Elfman-music is not enough, mister Burton; a movie must be significantly less stupid for me to ignore its idiocy and just admire it because it looks and sounds fantastic, but as it is, this film is far too ludicrous. I love the Alice in Wonderland-book, as well as the much more faithful animated Disney-film, and I would much rather re-watch/re-read any of those instead of enduring fanfiction written by a Narnia-fan who’s crushing on Johnny Depp.
Beacuse that’s what this film is; glorified fanfiction. It’s not an adaptation of the book, it’s not a remake of the Disney-film and it’s not a sequel to the Disney film – fanfiction is exactly what it is and what it will forever be. If Tim Burton was to read my review, I suspect his reply would be: STOP FLAMMING DA STORY PREPZ OK!
Do I have something positive to say? Well, yes – I was lucky enough to see it in 2D so at least I could enjoy the visuals and imagery.