If it's crap ... We'll tell you
We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland, but this isn't that story. This is the story of what happened many years after that. When doing a sequel to such an established work, it would really work better if it kept the same tone and got its facts straight. And even if this movie was more faithful to the original stories, it's still far too boring to matter.
Alice (Mia Wasikowska) has stumbled back into Underland many years later, but things are not as she remembers. In fact, she doesn't remember having been there before at all. Despite this, the citizens of Underland need her to come to her senses and help them defeat the wicket Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and bring the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) back to power.
I am a huge fan of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but what I love the most about the books is that they intentionally make no sense. The whole point of them was that there was no point, that they were strictly for entertainment. Sadly over time people have forgotten this and feel they need to make sense of everything. And even that can work sometimes if given the proper script and the proper director. But this movie, as I stated, is not the original story. It's a sequel to those stories, and as such it should keep things more accurate to the book. But what they do is they have Alice forget things and remember them wrong, allowing them to do whatever they want because they can just use the excuse that Alice remembered it wrong in the stories. And even that I can almost accept, but the movie takes itself far too seriously. Everything is so moody and serious and it just is not right for Wonderland (and as I pointed out a moment ago, they even changed the name of the place, using that same excuse).
I never thought director Tim Burton was right for this story. I have never understood why people thought that was a good idea because his stories aren't crazy and all over the place. They're confined and sensible, even when they're being dark and silly. I will admit that the visuals are pretty nice, but they're not up to Burton's standards. It doesn't look like a Tim Burton film and it certainly doesn't feel like one. It feels as though there was a ton of meddling from the producers trying to make it as acceptable to mainstream audiences as possible while ending up making it bland and lifeless. Even the credits feel far too much like everything else out there, and completely different from who Burton normally does his films. It's a lot like Planet of the Apes in that way, how it just feels like he either didn't care or he wasn't allowed to care.
But I guess I could be wrong. Maybe Burton was trying something different here and it just didn't work. This movie is incredibly boring and would be harder to sit through if there weren't some interesting things to look for. The CG is used very well, even if it doesn't look perfect at all times. There's a lot of simplistic usage to alter body parts or facial expressions, but there's also entire creatures created from nothing which are not especially interesting to look at. There is a Jabberwocky in the film (which has always bugged me because the Jabberwock didn't exist in the books, and was called a "Jabberwock" and not a "Jabberwocky"). It looks good, but it's completely unnecessary despite being integral to the main plot. Everything feels that way though: Pointless. The entire project feels like a huge waste of money (which it wasn't, looking at the enormous box office this movie made).
This story of Alice in "Wonderland" irks me in the worst way. Not because it is such a dire take on the Lewis Carroll stories, but because it is such a lame one. I still hold that this movie doesn't need to exist, but if it has to then it should have been something more uplifting and less a complete rip-off of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.