Film Reviews

Alice in Wonderland

Walt Disney Pictures

There has been so much hype regarding Alice in Wonderland that when you go to see it you are automatically excited about what you are about to experience. The majority of us have seen the Disney classic and some of the various adaptations, this one however should not be considered a sequel, a remake or a re-visioning, as it is a stand-alone extension of the Lewis Carroll novels, a tale of what happens when Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to a land she visited when she was younger. What director Tim Burton has attempted and quite successfully done is turn what was originally Alice wondering through a strange land encountering one crazy character after another into more of a story, with Alice having a purpose, to slay the Jabberwocky, a dragon controlled by the Red Queen and restore the White Queens back on the thrown.

One of the vital elements created are emotions, not just for the viewer watching but for the characters. There are some psychology aspects, understanding that Alice is a 19-year-old dreamer who doesn’t fit into the Victorian society. Her return to Underland (as it has been called) helps her to develop into a confident, strong-willed and empowered woman who is able to chose her own life’s path rather than flow one designated for her by others. This journey sets her on a rite of passage to find who she really is. In regards to the lovable Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), there is something that stands out about his personality and makes sense about his crazy behaviour, something rational as opposed to just being mad. The continuous changes in his personality and accent especially show his ever-changing emotions. Then there is the toddler like Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), whose big head matches her big personality and attitude and the slightly eccentric White Queen (Anne Hathaway). You don’t realise it as you view but there are psychological elements that play a large role in the characters personalities and come through in their development of the story. Being able to develop the personalities required for such changeable and unpredictable character takes actors with a real passion for their work.

Combining a technique of live action with animation takes this fantasy adventure to all new heights. Having said that the 3D imagery doesn’t overwhelm and please as much as you may have expected, it actually disappoints in many areas. There are still plenty of laughs to be had though, as many as the mad hatter has personalities. It offers moments of excitement when Depp makes an appearance, humour during the futterwacken sequence as well as some more emotional scenes. Admittedly Alice in Wonderland has everything you could want from a Tim Burton flick, however, no matter how deep you delve into the characters and the plot line, there is just something that stops it from really satisfying you. Nevertheless Burton makes another astounding notch on his long list of memorable flicks.

Michelle Moore