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Tim Burton and Johnny Depp working together again, is anyone getting tired of this? Me neither. Depp shows his versatility once again portraying The Mad Hatter in Burton’s vision for a new Alice in Wonderland. Set years after her first trip into Underland (its real name), Alice is all grown up but having the same reoccurring nightmare about tea parties and white rabbits.
After chasing the White Rabbit, Alice once again falls into Underland, only this is a different place to what she remembers. The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) has taken control and now everyone fears her wrath. The characters that we’re familiar with, the White Rabbit, the Dormouse, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum have enticed Alice here to bring harmony back to the land. It is Alice’s destiny to slay the Jabberwocky but she doesn’t like to be told what she must do.
Another product of the 3D generation the film almost fits the extra dimension with the curiouser and curiouser curiosities that Alice comes across in her journey although I still remain adamant that there is no need for this gimmick in cinema and I believe that the 3D does take something away from what would otherwise be a good film. I was overly aware during the film that scenes weren’t in widescreen format, there were empty spaces at the side of the screen going unused.
Burton seems like an apt fit for this sort of film and whilst the style and imagery is quintessentially his, it feels like it is lacking something. Whilst Depp fits almost perfectly into his role, Burton seems slightly out of place. Perhaps it is the CGI that the film relies so heavily on that takes away from the Burton imagery that we love.
The film does promise so much more than it delivers, it starts well but just gets much more ordinary as it goes along, ending in a good vs evil battle that’s so expected it forces you to sigh. Burton claims this is not a remake or re-imagining, that the story just goes from character to character with no emotional attachment. Yet Burton’s Alice does the same thing just with The Mad Hatter popping up throughout which probably wouldn’t have happened if it was played by anyone other than Depp.
Mia Wasikowska is perfectly cast as Alice, in fact casting is something that is certainly right in this movie right down to Stephen Fry voicing the Cheshire Cat and Alan Rickman as Absolem the caterpillar. They all blend in perfectly with their surroundings even though they complained of nausea from all the green screen work they had to do.
This could have been an interesting take on Alice however it’s very plain and lost it’s muchness. Burton certainly has the skills to have pulled off some sort of adult hallucination induced Wonderland yet we get a very standard A to B plot that fails to grasp the attention of the audience. Many parallels to the original Disney animation which brought back fond memories which Burton’s version may do, just for a different generation.