Back in the 90s, Tim Burton can never go wrong. He was the fresh new visionary filmmaker that brought many things not many people have seen. It was quirky, dark and twisted, completely different to the eyes of the contemporary audience. As the world entered the next decade, the audience have already gotten to anything quirky and twisted. And yet Tim Burton is still riding along his own styles throughout his recent movies. It can work to some and it can go horribly wrong to others. Like for one example, his film adaptation of Sweeney Todd really works along with his own trademark styles. His adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and his new film, Alice In Wonderland... not so much...
Frankly this is a what if scenario on what if the story of Alice In Wonderland is all "Tim-Burtony". Why if thats the case, lets have Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts (or Red Queen in this case), lots of spirals and twisted shapes here and there, Danny Elfman's boys choir echoing throughout, be it as freakishly as possible. Predictable and nothing new. You already got a classic story that is already freaky and insane and you're adding someone who make something freaky and insane, so you'll have something that looks more freaky and insane. If we see David Lynch's adaptation of Alice In Wonderland, it would be overkill.
The plot hole of this film is THIS big!
In order to be a little bit different from the rest of the adaptations, the story goes in the whole Narnia direction while taking some bits from American McGee's version. After many years, teenage Alice (Mia Wasikowska) runs out of a marriage proposal and chase after the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen) down the rabbit hole and back into Wonderland, which is somehow corrected as "Underland". It turns out that Underland has been conquered and ruled with an iron fist by the big headed Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and it has been prophesied (really... Tim Burton went onto that angle for something like Alice In Wonderland?...) that the Alice, along with the help of resistance fighters: The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Matt Lucas) and The Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), will defeat the Red Queen and her pet, The Jabberwocky and restore the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) back to the throne of Underland. Yeah, you saw this from Narnia, Eragon, Wizard of Oz, hell even from Star Wars and this is no different. Its predictable and formulaic, you'll know what happens throughout the film.
That "special" medicine made my hangover EVEN worse
It is somehow an excuse for Tim Burton to have his own vision of Wonderland to the big screen and instead of giving a proper sequel to the actual classic literature, they'll give you a ripoff of every other fantasy films out there. Ok so, they didn't work on the story, so they'll give a whole lot of range for the characters. Sadly almost all of the characters in the film, including Alice, was very much wasted and unused. You'll think that with the mix of Wonderland's inhabitants and the visionary of Burton that you'll see so much potential in what Burton can do with these characters other than how it looks. His design of Tweedledee and Tweedledum was kinda unique, but they weren't used to full effect. They just stand there, talk for a little and left. That is what its like for most characters.
The character, Alice became nothing more than a device that acts like a tour guide and brings the audience to one quirky scene to another. Even being the title character herself, its a shame that she was a tad bit boring. It is the same apply for Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter which is by far his most wasted and bland character in a Tim Burton film. Gone are his insane, colorful and wild personality seen in other adaptations as he was dark, moody and brooding like Batman... ugh.. And his "futterwacken" performance at the end (you'll find out and you'll be surprised) was very very pointless. Anne Hathaway's White Queen is the Glinda of Wonderland. She's entirely sweet and kind, one-dimensional. But really if she had her crown stolen and was in hiding from The Red Queen while her people have been slain under her rule, she's pretty comfortable and safe living in a giant pristine White Castle while others are pretty much fending for their own lives... What an assh*le she is! Probably the character that has been used to full extent is the Red Queen. You can tell that Helena is actually having fun.
I would look like this if I ever saw that Planet of the Apes remake again...
Tim Burton did have some time making Wonderland looking twisted and murky, but the world wasn't all imaginative. It seems that instead of seeing an entirely new creation of Wonderland, Tim Burton borrowed many elements from his other films and applied them in that world. You can expect that Danny Elfman will have a spot and produce the same composition you hear in other Burton movies. And I didn't see this in 3D, but I can see it won't do much for me. This is again another misstep for Tim Burton as he applies his vision to existing classics and he can put this mistake on the shelf including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Planet of the Apes. I want to say this to Tim Burton: "NO MORE JOHNNY DEPP IN YOUR NEXT MOVIE!"
2 and a half out of 5 stars