Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have done several movies together, including “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Edward Scissorhands”. However, their latest collaboration has me as mad as a hatter, because it’s just not very good.
“Alice in Wonderland” is based on the two, classic Lewis Carroll books, but it’s isn’t a remake of the familiar story, it’s actually a sequel.
Alice (who’s played by Mia Wasikowska), is now 19, and once again she falls into the rabbit hole and enters Wonderland (or in this case “Underland”). And, again, she meets-up with The Mad Hatter (played by Depp) and gets in trouble with the Red Queen (who has the huge head and voice of Helena Bonham Carter). Her sister, the White Queen (played by Anne Hathaway), helps Alice throughout the story but it’s Alice who must, in the end, fight the evil Jabberwocky and save the kingdom.
If you think this sounds a lot less like “Alice in Wonderland” and a lot more like the next installment of the “Narnia” series, well, as Alice says several times in the film: “I’m afraid so.” Frankly, I like Alice better in her little blue and white dress and not in battle armor carrying a sword and shield.
Yes, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are involved in the story, but not that much. However, the one thing that is missing completely from this version of “Alice” is fun. Burton has made a serious film, that, at times, is even a bit depressing. And the movie gets off to a dreadfully slow start, as the first 20-minutes: Alice’s life prior to falling into the hole, are completely unnecessary.
Instead of the joy and wonder of the original stories (and Disney’s own 1951 animated classic) we get fighting and arguing and sadness. When the most popular line in a film is “Off With His Head”, you know it’s not going to be a lot of fun.
On the plus side “Alice” is great to look at. The animated characters blend perfectly with the actors and the make-up and costumed design is fantastic. And some of the characters, such as the Cheshire Cat and Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar are quite likeable. But that’s it.
“Alice in Wonderland” is rated PG, for the action-violence and the smoking. It’s appropriate for kids 7 and up and they’ll want to see it, but be ready for them to get bored in a hurry.
On The Official Kid Critic Report Card, “Alice in Wonderland” only gets a D+, a HUGE disappointment. After all the incredible hype, and the $billion box office worldwide, I have to say that this is one tea party that you can skip.