Review: Alice in Wonderland

Posted March 23rd, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Tim Burton has always been very hit or miss with me. Big Fish is one of my favorite movies and he has delivered classics like Edward Scissorhands and Beetle Juice, while many of his other films I have really disliked. His visual style and quirky, dark natured story telling works sometimes and others it doesn’t. For Alice in Wonderland he created a dull world that was not able to capture any of the magic that has come with different tellings of the story over the years.

The story of course follows Alice as she falls into a world where she has visited once before, reuniting with friends the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Dormouse, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter.  She is called upon to fulfill her destiny and end the reign of terror of the Red Queen.

Mia Wasikowska stars as Alice and does a good job in the role, I could tell she had a big future from her turn during the first season of In Treatment. She really carries the film with her screen time and isn’t to blame for the faults of the film. Of course the big name though is Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. As much as I like him in general, as the character he wasn’t really all that compelling. He is great at portraying bizarre, sure, but I couldn’t help thinking every time he was on screen that this is Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. The character never really moved past being an extension of Depp.

The story felt like it was just put together as a series of events than naturally progressing through. It was slow to start, picked up once she arrived in Wonderland, but lost steam soon after. I almost fell asleep at one point which is an extreme rarity. The story, the visuals, the acting, it was all so bland that I was never drawn into the world.

The 3D was underwhelming at best and certainly wasn’t worth paying the extra $3 dollars for. It was converted in the post-production which as a method is not going to produce near the same quality as those that film in 3D. There were times where the 3D added some depth, there were instances of things flying at the screen, but I’d gather the vast majority of the time there was no point to the 3D or there was nothing on screen being enhanced by it. The biggest way to tell that the 3D wasn’t special? Having an eight year old tell you that it wasn’t very good.

Reviews for the movie have been very mixed, and it seems like half love it and half hate it. Unfortunately I didn’t find much to enjoy out of Alice in Wonderland. The movie was boring, it was void of any emotion or laughs, the visuals were much more bland than expected, and as a 3D product it was very disappointing.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆