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REVIEW: Alice in Wonderland

A remake done for all the wrong reasons

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Concept art from "Alice in Wonderland."
  • Concept art from "Alice in Wonderland."
  • Mia Wasikowska as Alice in "Alice in Wonderland."
  • Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland."
  • A scene from the film "Alice in Wonderland."
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One pill makes you larger.

And one pill makes you small.

This one from Tim Burton, well…

Asleep you will fall.

After an okay intro, and a fall into the rabbit hole, things go downhill fast. In the classic story that once reminded me of an English tea party where someone slipped something funny into your drink…this version reminds me more of someone slipping ecstasy into your drink at a rave.

And why in the world call the movie Alice in Wonderland if you’re doing a completely different thing with the characters? Maybe call it The Rabbit Hole, and you won’t offend the diehards that feel Burton was spitting on the source material. This movie looked more like Lord of the Rings than Alice in Wonderland.

When Johnny Depp and Burton remade Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I wondered why they remade a film that still holds up. And with those two teaming up yet again, I’m wondering if it’s maybe time for them to take a break.

Depp can certainly find other directors that will give him quirky things to do.

Helena Bonham Carter steals the show as the Red Queen, and is one of the few comedic things in the film. We chuckle as she uses animals as furniture (not in the way Ted Nugent does); and laugh when she gets angry at someone in her court and shouts “Off with their head!” It gets funnier each time she yells it.

Strangely, it’s the only funny thing I remember from the film.

Even Tweedledee and Tweedledum, who look funny with their bulbous heads, aren’t given anything witty to say.

Burton spent $150 million to make this. Why not give a few hundred thousand to a comedic screenwriter that could’ve punched it up?

It pains me to know he spent that kind of money, when I recently read a story about filmmaker P.T. Anderson not getting $25 million from the studio to make his latest movie (about a cult leader played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman). What is wrong with the film industry?

In an effort to give full disclosure, I fell asleep for 15 minutes in the middle of this, so I may have missed something. I’m guessing I didn’t.

In the 1980s, if you wanted a crazy actor to play the Mad Hatter, a good choice might’ve been Crispin Glover. I haven’t seen him in a film in years, and he plays it straight as a character named Stayne, who is the Red Queen’s right hand man (with benefits).

As with all Tim Burton films, there are some amazing visuals, but so what. Maybe I didn’t appreciate the 3D, because many elements are similar to the planet of Pandora that we just saw in Avatar (I understand a few of the same filmmakers were used).

I’m really not sure who this movie is geared towards. The 3D lovers are going to be disappointed. It’s certainly not for little kids (it’s rated PG and on the violent side). Teens and adults will probably be bored.

Burton got his start with the Pee Wee Herman movie. And Pee Wee is making a comeback and doing some live shows. Maybe Burton can hook up with him and do another fun Playhouse film, and let Depp get back to giving us interesting, serious characters.

At the theatres in Fashion Valley, I smelled people smoking pot. Maybe that’s what I needed to do to enjoy this movie.

If you’re going, skip the Goobers and bring a hookah.

I give this movie a D (for those that see it sober).