I’d like to take a quick moment to talk about a hero of mine, Tim Burton. The man gave us some genuine creepy, funny, and heartfelt movies throughout the years. When I heard he was doing a version of Lewis Carroll’s classic, and Johnny Depp was going to play the Mad Hatter- a actor I used to love by the way- this movie quickly became one of my eagerly anticipated. As many would say, Burton’s quality has nosedived over the years, so where does Alice lie?
Alice was a little girl with a sunny smile and strange dreams. Ten years later, she’s nineteen and depressed after losing her father. Life is dull and kind of crappy; her mom wants her to be ladylike, she’s getting pushed into a marriage with a boring snob, and her sister’s perfect marriage is a lie. The snob proposes to her but she runs away, tripping down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Sadly, Wonderland is not such a safe place for Alice, full of beasts and the tyranny of the big headed Red Queen. A prophecy unfolds around Alice told to her by a smoking caterpillar that she would be the one to free Wonderland and restore the throne to the White Queen, but she refuses and is confused why everyone acts like they know her. Were her dreams dreams after all?
Many blame the decline of Burton’s quality on this movie and in some ways, I see that. Burton’s tropes are heavy as hell in here: Johnny Deep and Helena Bonham Carter, the dark, goth pallet to the color, and everyone is super pale. Oddly enough, he doesn’t make so much of a WTF story here as you’d imagine and the source material demands but the story feels like a simple epic with Alice characters tacked on. I really like the score and visually the CGI is cool to look at. Depp as the Hatter stands out but mostly the characters are on the verge of flat. In the end the movie isn’t bad and worth watching but it isn’t Burton’s best. May the gaming gods bring you glory.