Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Matt Lucas, Barbara Windsor, Crispin Glover, Anne Hathaway, Timothy Spall
Directed by: Tim Burton
Written By: Linda Woolverton
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 48 min
You would think a crazy colorful world like Wonderland (or Underland) and Tim Burton would be a match made in Hollywood blockbuster heaven, but sadly it just doesn’t come together. It’s a collection of great individual components and ideas, but what I didn’t see was a solid narrative thread to connect the characters to Alice (Mia Wasikowska), and our heroine to her destiny.
It’s all a bit dizzying really, and the massive barrage of colorful visual effects, odd characters and pointless subplots all get a bit much to process at times. First you take in the fantastic production design of Wonderland, and then you’re wondering why the Mad Hatter’s (Johnny Depp) eyes are so freakishly big. I loved the design of the CGI characters like the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry) but then wondered why Stayne’s (Crispin Glover) body was so stretched out. There are lots of moments like this, and after marveling at one element of the film, I found myself almost immediately thinking – wait what!?
At the center of all this is Mia Wasikowska who just seemed lost amongst all the technical trickery. At times I got the feeling she didn’t know where to look, and this lead to a distracted performance. That’s a problem when you’re the center of the story, but thankfully she is very ably supported by Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and the always brilliant Helena Bonham Carter as the fabulous Red Queen.
Alice in Wonderland will feel very familiar to Tim Burton fans. It’s colorful and creative with a touch of the quirky craziness we’ve seen in other Burton productions. If you’re a fan of the directors films you’ll likely find something to enjoy here. It’s not his best work that’s for sure, but it certainly isn’t dull to look at. Some elements in this film may be a little too intense for really young audience members.
Due to its incredible production design and visual effects this is best enjoyed on a large theater screen. At home a HD viewing on your nice big TV is recommended. Watching this on a smaller hand-held device will not do the film justice.
I really liked the design and animation of the Cheshire Cat and the Blue Caterpillar(Alan Rickman). I also thought Helena Bonham Carter’s performance as the Red Queen was very entertaining and the score by Danny Elfman is fantastic.