Film Review: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland
Grade: C
Starring: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska
Director: Tim Burton

When I found out that Tim Burton was making an Alice in Wonderland film, I almost died. Being a fan of the director since Edward Scissorhands, I know that the creepy and crazy wonderland of Caroll Lewis will vividly come to life in Burton's hands. His visual style -which I coined as "gothic technicolor"- is a perfect match to Lewis' colorful mad world. In addition, the movie is also under Disney and there are a lot of talents in it. So it's just normal that I would expect a lot of good things about it. Unfortunately, however, reality doesn't always align with your expectations.

But I'm not saying that Burton's Wonderland is a total disappointment. It just didn't meet my high expectations. There are a lot of good things about it. The visuals, especially, is remarkable. Burton did capture that creepy yet colorful setting of wonderland. Most of the actors also did well. Mia Wasikowska played her part innocently and beautifully. Then there's Johnny Depp who did put the mad back in the Mad Hatter.

Burton also tweaked the story a little bit, which made and killed the film for me. Unlike the 50's animation or the books, Alice is already in her late teens, going into her 20's, in Burton's revision. It actually made much more sense that way. Because a younger Alice won't be able to stand a chance against all the torment the wonderland has to offer. The downside about the storyline tweaking is that Burton ended it with a battle (the worst battle I've seen in any film) between the armies of the White Queen and the Red Queen, as if he just ran out of ideas.

All in all, I would say that Alice in Wonderland is a mediocre film. Probably one of Burton's worse film too (though Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is still the worse for me). It started pretty well, however, and the visuals will get your attention. But as you get near to the end, the story falls flatter and flatter, then goes out in a whimper. Still, if you have the extra cash, I encourage you to watch it. If you're broke, avoid it as much as you can.

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