Monday, 12 August 2013

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Burton in Blunderland

19-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.

What happened to Tim Burton? The man was once considered one of Hollywood's most revered directors, bringing us imaginative tales like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. Now for over 10 years, with the exception of Corpse Bride, he hasn't brought out one single original film. While many directors don't really bring out many original films either, none have felt more unnecessary than those Tim Burton has helmed. Nobody was crying out for a big screen adaptation of the 60s TV series Dark Shadows or an updated version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and was it really necessary for him to remake his own 1984 short, Frankenweenie? The same can be said about a live action version of Lewis Carrol's tale, Alice in Wonderland.

Johnny Depp is miscast as the Mad Hatter, who's oddly transformed into more of a heroic action lead than his character ever was, which only feels like this was done because of Depp being cast in the role, showing how Burton's long past his days of taking risks and rather plays the safe option of casting his long time friend and collaborator. The same can be said for casting his wife, Helena Bonham-Carter, as the Red Queen, choosing to go for a more over the top performance than one that makes her seem like a terrifying force who rules Wonderland, making her seem more cartoonish than her animated counterpart from Disney's 1951 classic.


The voice acting is magnificent, ranging from the talents of Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman and even Barbara Windsor, and from the gorgeous cinematography to the wonderful designs of Wonderland's creatures, the visuals are exquisite to watch. What's problematic is how the film doesn't know whether it wants to be a sequel to the original Alice In Wonderland or a remake of it, dragging the thin plot between retreads of and references to the original story.

Tim Burton has turned Lewis Carrol's fairytale into something much larger than it really should be, going by the basis that over the top performances are whats needed in a film that can be summed up as 'style over substance. Maybe it'd be best for the director to try something new, or take a break?

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