Tim Burton and Alice in Wonderland seems like the perfect marriage on paper. However, it seems like something is missing. There is alot I thought of while watching the movie for the second time. To simplify things, we can split my thoughts up into two groups, what I liked, and what I thought didn’t work.
Let’s be “Glass half-full” people and start with the good. For one, even though some people didn’t like her performance, I really thought Mia Wasikowska did a good job as Alice. Another reason to love is Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. Her character is delightfully evil, and she was perfectly suited to play it. Following that same description, I was very surprised by Anne Hathaway and her depiction as the White Queen. I thought her to be the most likeable character in the whole movie. She teeters the line between sophisticated and completely bonkers. Also, many of the creatures were really well done. Bayard the dog comes to mind, as does the Cheshire Cat. The very plot was the best I’ve seen of the Alice movies. Director Tim Burton had said that he wanted to change it up from just moving to different characters. The entire “Alice is destined to kill the Jabberwocky” plot really tied the whole movie together and gave it a more urgent feel than previous movies. Finally, I thought the live-action “real world” sequences that bookend the story were really entertaining. There were times while Alice was in Underland that I wondered how it would play out when she got back.
Now, to be a party pooper, here are the things I didn’t like. First off, and completely random, but what’s with all of the eye stabbing? I counted three of them! Next, I never thought I would say this, but I did not enjoy Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter in the movie. I think Depp and Burton were trying to give him some sort of substance and backstory, but instead he just seemed all over the place. He also seemed way too creepy looking, and this is coming from someone who counts Edward Scissorhands as one of his favorite characters. The biggest problem I had was the whole atmosphere. It seemed way to fake. I don’t know if it was because it was filmed in 3D, or if it was the animation, but the majority of the Wonderland scenes seemed way to fake for me.
And that does it. I think my positive thoughts heavily outweighed my negative comments, so I do think Alice in Wonderland was a good movie. However, it did have enough wrong with it to stop it from being a great film. For Tim Burton, it was a step down.