Along the lines of film history, the usual mantra of an average film enthusiast should be the following: that no matter how good or bad a movie may be, that film should be given a chance. Judging from face value, Tim Burton’s sequel—em, excuse me, re-imagining of the beloved fable seems to give its audience a lack of recognition—a glance of disregard for its audience, which is atypical for a Disney movie (cough “Old Dogs”). On the other end of the spectrum, this is one of the most beautiful looking films that give us—or for those who choose to appreciate Burton’s unique artistic sensibilities— a never-before-seen perspective of the world that is Wonderland. However, the only problem with this film, is that the artwork is the one of the few elements that seems to work in this 3-D extravaganza. The screenplay written by Linda Woolverton seemed to bog down the mythology by cramming elements from the three stories: “Wonderland,” “Looking Glass,” and “Jabberwocky.”
!"Tim Burton’s “Wonderland” is set thirteen years after the events of her first adventure. Alice (Mia Wasikowska), forsakes a life of marriage and takes a hero’s rite of passage by saving Wonderland from the tyranny of the Red Queen. However, before she accomplishes this daunting task, she must rescue her comrades and retrieve a legendary magical sword that will conquer the jabberwocky. In the midst of this incoherent film, Helena Bonham Carter’s over-the-top, Joker-esk performance of the tyrannical Red Queen is what kept the audience from walking out of the screening. Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the radioactive-eyed Mad Hatter, looks resembles the forbidden offspring of Bozo the Clown and Madonna. Crispin Glover’s creepy—and I do mean creepy performance as the Knave of Hearts, plays more like a throwaway character who resembles Edward Scissorhands. Another throwaway character, which was supposed to be vital, was Anne Hathaway’s dainty interpretation of the White Queen, which literally limited to only ten minutes—yes ten minutes of screen time.
Before production started, Burton stated that using the 3-D format was an appropriate way to tell this story. Legendary producer Richard Zanuck made the decision to shoot the film in 2-D and convert it to 3-D in post production. Zanuck said that the cameras were clumsy and would be too costly to shoot. Furthermore, he believed that there was no absolute difference between in filming in 3-D as opposed to digitally converting the footage. With the release of James Cameron’s colossal epic “Avatar”, there is a huge—and I got to tell you, What a difference! In short, Cameron’s view of the future of this revived format reveals Zanuck’s naivete as to how to use to the format in a correct manner. As aforementioned, one of the few elements that actually work out well—only this is almost a direct love letter to his fan base. Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful time—it’s a great treat at the movies viewing a film of his—only noting the fact that he has this ongoing obsession with imprinting his trademark on every single frame, which is to give us a grim and derelict “re-imaginings” of beloved mythologies (Planet of the Apes, Willie Wonka and the Choloclate Factory, Big Fish, Batman, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, etc.
In retrospect, this was supposed to be a Disney movie that was supposed offer its audience with an excellent story. Instead the film is directed by a subpar director, who unapologetically tells a visual story—only he chooses to tell his stories in a rather minimalist way, which proved to be infective to much larger audience. Even from an individual standpoint, there were various moments where Burton’s decision to add his typical quirks really felt out of place here. The part that was really distracting from the whole “Wonderland” experience, was when a few of the characters start to brake dance out of nowhere. Completely inappropriate to the movie.