Alice in Wonderland
- Rob Carnevale
- 2 March 2010
Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is as dark and visually arresting as we’ve come to expect from the director, yet not quite as emotionally involving as his very best work.
A sequel of sorts that takes in elements of both Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, it finds Alice as a teenager returning to Underland, which has long since fallen into the tyrannical grip of the Red Queen. In order to restore the White Queen to the throne, Alice must defeat the fearsome Jabberwocky.
Burton’s film has plenty to recommend it, including a fine central performance from young Mia Wasikowska that channels teenage angst, insecurity and petulance very well. She’s clearly a big star in the making.
Johnny Depp is suitably loony as The Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter excels as the Red Queen, and there’s strong vocal support from the likes of Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry in several iconic roles.
The 3D visuals, meanwhile, help to create a lavish Underland that younger viewers, especially, will enjoy immersing themselves in.
Yet the effects also contribute to the film’s biggest failing, occasionally feeling unnecessary and at the expense of some characters. It means that Burton’s film falls some way short of achieving the lasting emotional connection that made Carroll’s text so enduring.
But in the main, this is an enjoyable experience that expertly balances many of Burton’s trademarks with the classic elements of his source material.
General release from Fri 5 March