Tim Burton’s ‘Alice and Wonderland’ is a stylishly terrible film. I found myself cringing throughout the film, wondering how this could happen. How could they take such an inventive, witty, imaginative, and thoroughly clever non-narrative story from Lewis Carroll and turn it into a film about a prophecy in which Alice(a vapid, and boring character from start to finish) must kill a dragon, because – apparantly – there is no other way to free Wonderland(Oh wait! According to this film it’s Underland …..?) from the terrifying Red Queen? The plot holes and inconsistencies, not to mention the seriousness of the film are startlingly apparant. I can definately say that this is Tim Burton’s least enjoyable work, and the worst I’ve seen from him.
I don’t seem to be alone in my thinking. At the screening I attended in Salt Lake City, the audience didn’t seem too amused by anything. There may have been a silent chuckle here and there by the few and far between moments of humor. Jack Garcia of Salt Lake City shared my sentiments: “I loath this movie. What a dissappointment, considering the original is so cleverly written.”
The filmmakers seemed to have sqeezed as much substance and wit as they possibly could from the story and the characters. Having recently re-read the classic book, I was most surprised that this film didn’t even have the decency to treat the characters with reminiscence to the original. Would the characters from the original story have remembered Alice? I have serious doubts about that. The thing that needs to be remembered is that Wonderland(the original) is a world of nonsense, where everyone is mad, and nobody knows which way is up. The Mad Hatter and the March Hair don’t care who Alice is, they’re just excited to have a tea party with someone. The White Rabbit certainly didn’t care either, in fact, in his hurry, he mistakes her for his maid and calls her Marion. Now, suddenly, these characters have sense and logic, and it is unfitting to their nature.
Of the many dissappointments, I must say that Johnny Depp’s performance is one of the few from him that is utterly unwatchable. I feel slightly embarrassed at seeing him in this film. He is a talented and intriguing actor whose imagination has been dumbed down by an ordinary, humorless film. In fact all of the performances – besides that of the excellent Helena Bonham Carter – are noteworthy. The characters seem completely bored to be there, even the computer-generated ones.
If you choose to ignore this review and see the film, I’d recommend saving a couple of bucks and seeing it in 2-D as 3-D films in the SLC area can cost up to 12 dollars per ticket, and the 3-D effects are annoying and unnecessary. You can find the film playing in almost every entry-level cinema in the SLC area.