Reviewed Aug 15, 2012
Tim Burton goes light!
Alice In Wonderland marks the directors most accessible offering in years and proves that as adept at turning out the dark fantasies as he is, Burton can reel it in when needed and deliver something of a not quite so heavy tone. If he had taken this route with Charlie & The Chocolate Factory things could have turned out so much better for that movie.
Alice still looks like a Tim Burton movie though. The designs are lavish, the costumes fanciful and it features Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Playing the straightest character in the story, Mia Wasikowska has her work cut out for her but she conveys Alice in a charming and engaging manner. Burton has wisely chosen to make his movie lie somewhere between a sequel and a remake lending the story a bit more of a tense spin with the added likes of a jabberwocky, though at times it is taken for granted that the audience will be overly familiar with the original.
Johnny Depp is as reliable as ever in his performance as the Mad Hatter and Matt Lucas provides a number of good chuckles as Tweedledee and Tweedledum but this movie belongs to one person only and that is Helena Bonham Carters Red Queen. Evoking memories of Miranda Richardson's Queen Elizabeth in Blackadder, Carter is an absolute riot here, providing much drama and much comedy in almost every second she spends on screen.
The 3D rendering on the movie does not provide as much to the film as it did with Avatar and the effect is not quite as jaw dropping but there are many instances which benefit from it. But whereas Avatar dipped badly with its narrative and relied upon its effects to make it the classic it is, Alice's story is compelling from first to last, with the 3D as more of a nice addition rather than the show stealer.
Tim Burton has created a rich and vibrant movie, a whole lot of fun to watch, a great realisation and addition to a classic story.