There was plenty of madness, effects, and stars galore but there just wasn’t enough ‘muchness’ in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, a film which probably hit its head on the way down the rabbit hole.
It’s fine to lose one’s head when trying to bring a fairy tale such as this Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece back to life as long as the CGI doesn’t overshadow the substance of storyline too much. If it sounds as if I’m flogging this film because I hate this sort of thing, far from it, I’m a huge fan of Tim Burton’s work, in love with Johnny Depp, and probably want to be Helena Bonham Carter (she’s just so effortlessly cool and crazy, I love it! ). Burton’s gothic and slightly haunting work has always impressed me before so Alice in Wonderland should have been perfect for him but unfortunately Disney had way too much say turning it into something less gutsy and more airy fairy. However, the film does have some redeeming features, the effects were amazing and Boham Carter’s portrayal of the Red Queen was impressive. Depp as well showed off the kind of comedic, completely insane, and brilliant acting that has made him so famous.
Many years later Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska ) is trapped in a boring world of proper etiquette and her dear mother has organised an engagement party where she is to accept a marriage proposal. However Alice spots a rabbit in a waistcoat and falls down a mysterious hole landing in a room where she drinks a liquid to make her small, eats a cake to grow, and eventually manages to get the key to enter Wonderland. She is greeted by some strange creatures, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Matt Lucas ), who argue that she couldn’t be the right Alice, the one who is meant to slay the Red Queen’s feared Jabberwocky.
Alice eventually meets The Mad Hatter (Depp ) who instantly befriends her and sends her on the destined path. However there’s a little detour to the Red Queen’s palace and this is where my favourite scenes happen, especially the interrogation of these hilarious frogs, yes frogs! The adventure leads to Alice trying to find her ‘muchness’ again. Will she live up to her destiny or not?
The film started off great. All the ingredients were in place, it’s just a pity that Burton didn’t infuse enough of his ‘muchness’ into it.