It looks like Alice, but it’ missing some of the heart and some of the wonder. The film tries to make up for a lesser story with great visuals. This didn’t feel like Alice In Wonderland should have felt.
In Tim Burton’s version, Alice is a teenager. Faced with the prospect of grown up decisions, she follows the White Rabbit into the forest and falls down the rabbit hole. Believing she is having her recurring dream, Alice begins to realize she has returned to the familiar Underland, and reunited with some familiar friends. She is then charged with the quest of ending the Red Queen’s reign.
As I recall, original story is filled with characters taunting and misdirecting Alice on her way home. The imagery is dark and the ideas are a little scary. This story is seemingly happier, even with the Red Queen and her constant requests for beheadings.
What is fun about his is the cartoon-esque hallucinogenic world that Burton creates. He had help from one of the visual designers from Avatar, and Wonderland is fantastic looking.
The characters, some old, some new, seem to be there more out of a convenience. They are clever and interesting to look at, but it felt as if Alice could have made her way through without the advice of the hooka-smoking caterpillar. Isn’t he supposed to be a key player? Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter was a treat.
Another problem is Alice’s journey, which resolves in a gigantic climactic battle. Isn’t Alice on a journey of finding herself, while finding her way home? Why does she need a dragon to slay? I guess it helps pack the film with some more action.
This movie leaves you feeling like you saw something impressive, just not a better version of the story. Something is missing. By the way, the 3D format did nothing to improve on the story, and serves more as a distraction.