No other director in the movie industry can put so much heart into the strange and unusual the way Tim Burton does. His new movie, the remake of “Alice in Wonderland,” is no exception. In the film, 19-year-old Alice, played by Mia Wasikowaska, stumbles into Wonderland while attempting to escape a society that looks down on her different way of thinking.
Once there, she discovers that she has been to Wonderland before, and is supposed to free Wonderland from the tyrannical rule of the Red Queen, played by Helena Bonham Carter. People familiar with the story of “Alice in Wonderland” will see all their favorite characters from the previous Disney film, and even a few new characters that appeared in the Lewis Carol books, such as the White Queen played by Anne Hathaway.
The acting in this movie is phenomenal, helped by an amazing cast of talented actors. Wasikowaska provides a very convincing Alice, while Carter provides a threatening yet sympathetic Red Queen. Alan Rickman, plays Absolem the Caterpillar, and Christopher Lee plays the Jabberwocky. However, the performance that stood out on top was Stephen Fry, plays the Cheshire Cat. While his appearances are few and far between, its just enough to keep the character’s enigmatic nature that makes him so likeable.
In terms of casting, what really drew many viewers to see this film was that Johnny Depp was cast as the Mad Hatter. While his talent of playing eccentric characters is present and interesting to watch, his performance falls short of anything fantastic.
In the original movie, Alice was never that much of a conflicted character. She was more of an observer or medium for the audience while traveling through the strange world of Wonderland. In Burton’s interpretation, Alice is given a much more active role being the only person who can free Wonderland by killing the Jabberwocky.
While in the very beginning she is convinced that all the events around her are just a dream, she becomes very conflicted over becoming involved in the war between the two queens. Wasikowaska does a good job in portraying Alice’s conflict in deciding what to do, however, she still has a bizarre air about her that she has in the beginning of the film.
The only thing that really felt out of place in the movie as a whole were the action sequences. In the original movie, there was no action whatsoever except when Alice grew taller in order to intimidate the Red Queen. In Burton’s movie, the action sequences seem heavily inspired by the battle sequences in the “Chronicles of Narnia” from the large armies of red card soldiers to Alice’s “Joan of Arc” armor. While the idea of a war makes the action sequences required, it seems a bit forced and watching Alice wield a sword like she had been practicing all her life seems a bit unrealistic.
Fans of Burton’s films will find everything they need in this movie, from the great visuals, character depth, and just the right amount of quirkiness that makes “Alice in Wonderland” so endearing. Those who have also seen the former Disney movie may enjoy this interpretation due to the occasional references to the original animated movie. While it is not for everyone and not one of Burton’s best films, it is still an enjoyable movie that is different but worthy tribute to Lewis Carol’s “Alice in Wonderland.”