The scary world of ‘Alice in Wonderland’



We all know the timeless Lewis Carroll classic tale of a curious little girl who falls down a rabbit hole into a magical world where everything is what it isn’t and, contrariwise, what it isn’t, it is.  But we don’t know what happens after she climbs out of the rabbit hole again.

At 19 years old, Alice Kingsley (Mia Wasikowska) is the odd one out in her social circle of garden parties and dances and very proper society. She wants to think about odd things, wear odd clothes in odd ways, and do odd things like climb trees. But when she falls down the rabbit hole again, she lands in the oddest place of all. But she has no memory of ever being there. The White Rabbit and the various friends she made in Wonderland on her last trip have been trying to lure her into their world, but now that she arrives, they aren’t sure she is the right Alice – the one who was there before. But the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) has taken over all of Wonderland, which is actually called Underland, and it is prophesied that the Alice will bring order back to Underland. Her rabbit hole friends don’t know if she is the right one though, so can the prophecy still be fulfilled? Her friends don’t believe in her. She doesn’t believe in herself. But one person does, although he is mad as a hatter…

Johnny Depp stars in this surprisingly political fantasy movie that leaves you unimpressed in the theater, but grows in your mind afterwards and days later you find yourself wanting to see it again and again. The expectations are set high for the Depp/Burton team who have joined together on “Corpse Bride,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to name but a few. But this one is a surprising let down in the theater.

Burton is known for his dark gloomy scenes, but takes it a bit too far this time. The character designs, in part, seem to be taken from the Lewis Carroll etchings from the book, especially the noticeable big head of the Queen of Hearts, and that was entertaining  but when you combine the fact that it is so dark, and you never know what something is supposed to look like, then add in made up words in a handful of different accents, it is frustrating. But the little bit of the movie that gets through is all that sticks in your head. And now three days after this reporter saw the film, another trip to the cinema is already planned. It wasn’t great at the time, but when you think about all that is going on, you need to see it again.

And on a side note, Disney had the best 3D system out there.  Had. Thanks to James Cameron, we now see how good 3D can be and that leaves audiences all over the world disappointed with 3D by anyone but his system.

The 3D that began with “Chicken Little” for Disney that once was superb seems almost a joke now that we have seen “Avatar.”  So don’t shell out the extra $5 for the 3D on this one. You aren’t missing much.

Rated PG, this film is good for anyone 10 and up. It may scare the little ones because some of the animals in this weird world are loud and scary-looking. I give this film 3 out of 5 stars. “Down with the bloody big-head!”