Movie: "Alice In Wonderland"
Year: 2010
Rated: PG
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy
Directed by: Tim Burton
Writing credits: Lewis Carol, Linda Woolverton

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 3/11/2010

Plot: Nineteen-year-old Alice Kingsley is arranged to marry well-to-do Hamish Ascot, a tremendously boring fellow. After running away from her surprise engagement party, she soon finds herself back in Wonderland where the Red Queen has turned the entire place into a lifeless, oppressed wasteland. She must soon make a choice whether to compromise her pacifistic principals and fulfill her destiny to save Wonderland, or whether she will stand by and allow the Red Queen to destroy what little life is left in Wonderland.

Review: When I first saw the Mad Hatter teaser poster for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, I was appalled at what has to be one of the worst character designs I have ever witnessed in my life. It's beyond ugly and hurtling well past absurd at breakneck speeds. But I had to remind myself that though the trailers for his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adaptation looked pretty bad, I actually enjoyed the film. And Tim Burton's only truly done me wrong once (Planet of the Apes), though he did bore me with a somewhat lackluster effort on The Corpse Bride.

Still, I decided I would give Burton the benefit of the doubt and reserve judgment until I had seen the film, despite the fact that the vast majority of my friends had absolutely no interest in going along to the theater to see this movie with me. And I'm glad I gave it a chance, because it was an enjoyable, visually stunning movie, delivered with the kind of bizarrely unique flair that only Tim Burton can give.

I've seen some reviews complaining how the movie "deviates from the book", but those people are clearly missing out on the rather obvious fact that it's not based on the books, but rather based on the characters and setting (from two different books anyway). Much like the fantastic computer game American McGee's Alice, this movie takes place after the books, featuring a much older Alice making a return to Underland (as it is called in Tim Burton's version--the child Alice had simply misunderstood the name). This completely frees up Burton to tell his own story however he likes, using only the characters and setting but not being shackled to the book's plot. Enjoyable as the story was, it does seem as if screenwriter Linda Woolverton and Burton squandered some of the creative potential suggested by the setting, particularly in the rather standard fashion in which the final battle is resolved. The set pieces in the computer game were far more imaginative.

With the exception of the way-too-overdone Mad Hatter, the character design is very imaginative and lively, and everyone and everything looks pretty much exactly how you'd expect it to. The casting was brilliantly chosen, particularly for Alice herself. Young Australian actress Mia Wasikowska, aside from having a tremendously fun name to say, put forth a very impressive performance, and I suspect we'll be seeing her in many more prominent roles in the near future. Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway flawlessly inhabit the roles of the Red and White Queens (the Red Queen being an amalgam of that character and the Queen of Hearts), though I was a little disappointed about how I felt they under-utilized the freakishly brilliant Crispin Glover. He's good when he's on screen, but I wish his role had been bigger. Despite Depp looking like a retarded doe-eyed clown, he's decent enough as the Hatter, though the bits where he suddenly spoke with a slight Scottish accent kind of threw me off a bit. Matt Lucas was perfect for Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the voice acting by Christopher Lee, Stephen Fry, and Alan Rickman was extremely well suited to their characters.

It's by no means among Burton's best films, but it's visually interesting enough that it's definitely worth checking out for the eye candy alone. Danny Elfman's score is just icing on the cake, but a movie with popping visuals like this one definitely needs to be seen on the big screen.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Mar 11th, 2010, 02:32 PM
And it comes with a preview for TRON!
Mar 12th, 2010, 10:38 AM
Waiting for this to hit the Dollar Theater, but I do intend to see it.
Mar 12th, 2010, 10:56 AM
Gotta see in in IMAX.
Forum Virgin
Mar 12th, 2010, 12:22 PM
I wish I could go and see this in the theater sadly we don't have an Imax in my town (I'm not paying for a 3 hour bus trip to San Antonio)and movie tickets are a bit out of my budget right now. I haven't been in a movie theater in over 6 years if I had the money I would go see this.
Mar 13th, 2010, 03:22 AM
Whoah hold up... so you enjoyed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, HATED Planet of the Apes and found Corpse Bride to be lackluster?

Well that settles it man, I can never take any of your reviews seriously ever again.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the massive stinker, what with it pissing all over Gene Wilder's PERFECT performance. Planet of the Apes was suprisingly Enjoyable and Corpse Bride might have been one of his better animated works. While I can excuse you for not caring for Apes and the Bride, finding, C&TCF enjoyable destroys any credibility you have on anything.

Seriously I couldn't even ask you if "this smells funny to you" and trust your answer anymore.
Mar 13th, 2010, 03:45 AM
Even without 3 beers the movie had its moments. A few of them were really entertainingly morbid. But did anybody notice the white queen kept holding her hand up and making the shocker?
Gix Gix is offline
Mar 13th, 2010, 09:59 AM
I really loved this movie, the White Queen was fun to watch,thou i do have to say the the ending was weak but to me it was amazing and ill atlest see it again. also they take alot form the poem,"Jabberwocky"
Mar 13th, 2010, 11:57 AM
Waiting for the DVD.
Shinobi Hero
Mar 13th, 2010, 08:59 PM
I had gone to see this at the theater a couple days ago. I found it an interesting watch. I still have a bit more of a liking for Burton's older work, but this wasn't too bad.
Ranting Swede
Mar 14th, 2010, 04:25 AM
I hated the plot of this movie. It made me wish that Burton would give up on cgi and go back to live action stuff since he is clearly more comfortable in that area.
Also this is by far one of Danny Elfman's worst scores to date. it sounded as if he took all the left over songs from Charlie and the chocolate factory, mashed them together, and repeated it over and over again without taking in consideration what was happening onscreen.
I agree with Gix about the ending. it was pretty weak.
But on the other hand the characters were really well done, with the exception of Mia who was kinda dull.
I think that people expected the movie to stay close to the book because of Burton's treatment of Charlie and the chocolate factory, which was a brilliant movie, and way better than the original mostly because it didnt stray too far from the book. (interesting bit of trivia: Roald Dahl gave Burton's version his approval and completely loathed the Gene Wilder version.)
the movie was titled "Alice in Wonderland" which one could safely assume that it is close to the book. If it were titled "Alice fights the Jabberwocky in Underland" then I'm sure the reviews you mention wouldnt have much of a problem with how far it strayed.

I think Burton should have stretched it to 2 hours so he could give some of the better characters more screen time and figure out a decent plot that actually had a decent resolution. Why didnt he just use the plots from the books? One would think that Tim Burton of all people would "get" the nonsensicalness of the stories and would be able to work in that setting and with that story comfortably.
Overall it was a bit of a letdown...
My favorite version of Alice in wonderland has to be the 1999 tv movie, simply because it has Ben Kingsley as the Caterpillar, Robbie Coltraine (aka Hagrid) as Tweedledum, Gene Wilder as the Mock Turtle, and Martin Short as the Mad hatter (who looks remarkably like the hatter already). I think it captured the essence of the books better than any other version I've seen, including the disney cartoon..
Mar 14th, 2010, 07:39 PM
The last movie I really liked with Burton and Depp was Sweeney Todd. Man, that was great.
Forum Virgin
Mar 17th, 2010, 04:05 AM
The problem with this, Choclete factory and anything else Burton seems to get his hands on is that he is a one trick pony. Take [Plot] add [Hot Topic marketable character] make the senary all spiraly and spikey. Possibly make a character WACKY and ZANY.

And lets be honest, Alice didnt need that, it was already and insane dream world, with incredible visuals and outstandingly charming characters, but no, put the hatter as one of the main characters, that'll sell lots of merch.

I hear that Burton is Unique all the damn time but the fact is he hasnt been unique or "new" since Nightmare before Christmas, every single movie he has done since has just cribbed off of the visual styles of that movie because it made him 8 squillian dollars.

Its like saying Micheal Bay is a groundbreaking new thinking kinda guy because his movies have blowing up stuff.
Forum Virgin
Mar 17th, 2010, 04:07 AM
I will say however I enjoyed Sweeny Todd and NBC.
Ranting Swede
Mar 20th, 2010, 11:08 PM

In Burton's defense, I would say that if I found the method to earn 8 "squillian" dollars from a movie, I would repeat that process until it stopped making money.

That's kind of an unfair statement to make about him not being unique or creative after Nightmare, especially since some of his most creative and innovative films were made before Nightmare.
also Ed wood and Big Fish came out after Nightmare, and both of those movies were two of his best films. I have yet to any Ed Wood shirts in hot topic.
The Magnificent Bastard
Mar 23rd, 2010, 01:53 PM
I love Tim Burton (but, I agree with Proto that his version of Planet of the Apes sucked!). And, I love Alice and Wonderland.

Anyway, saw this on IMAX 3d this weekend and thought it was awesome! Tim Burton's the only one who can take a classic story like this, mess with it, and make it even better!
Mar 23rd, 2010, 08:16 PM
Hey Proto,
Did you See SciFi channels Alice 4 hour special.
I was ready for it to be absolutely horrible, but it had just enough of everything to hold together. I have yet to see Tim's version, but I think, from what you say, I'll like it.

Forum Virgin
Mar 24th, 2010, 12:10 PM
I found the Queen of Heart's blue eyeshadow a little off-putting as well, but otherwise I agree with your review.
Mar 26th, 2010, 06:25 AM
Normally I'm a huge Tim Burton fan, but I do have two exceptions: his remakes of Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Planet of the Apes made no sense (how did the apes take over if the humans hadn't devolved like in the original?), and Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka came off as just awkward and annoying. I much perferred Gene Wilder's whimsical-yet-creepy Wonka. Those two aside, I've liked everything else Tim Burton has ever done, and I'll probably like Alice in Wonderland, too.
dead end
Mar 27th, 2010, 08:11 PM
i saw this movie somehow though i didn't choose to on my own, it was short enough that i didn't have any major complaints though i'm sure i could come up with a few if i was paying closer attention. johnny depp seemed disturbingly lucid.
Deadly Towers Survivor
Mar 28th, 2010, 03:46 PM
It was a great movie! If you've heard of American McGee's version of Alice, you'll notice that some elements of the game's storyline were incorporated into this movie. The main one being a grown-up Alice returning to a darker Wonderland to kill the Jabberwocky and dethrone the Queen of Hearts.
Serial Loiterer
Mar 30th, 2010, 07:28 AM
You mean Tim Burton made a remake of an old movie starring his wife and Johnny Depp with gothic undertones? Surely you jest. You say he altered storyline to be centered around Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter so they they somehow get more screentime than any other actor in the picture, with maybe the exception of Mia Wasikowski. Johnny Depp looks likes a clown and Helena Bonham Carter has a great big giant head. That's what fills theaters? Steve Buscemi played a better Mad Hatter on SNL for crying out loud. Although I am with narcolepticsloth in the fact that Martin Short was definately the best Mad Hatter.
Forum Virgin
Apr 4th, 2010, 02:27 AM
Well at least we don't get to see his wife in all of her manatee-sized ugly glory in this movie.