Alice in Wonderland—Movie

A smoking caterpillar, jabberwocky to be dealt with, butterfingers comprised of real fingers. Welcome to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. As directed by Burton with screenplay by Linda Woolverton, Alice in Wonderland is imaginative and beautiful to watch.                               

Burton’s Alice is 19 and on the verge of being proposed to by the son of her deceased father’s business partner—a man no want would want as a fiancé. In a panic, she runs off and falls down…a rabbit hole. There’s she’s reunited with friends from her childhood’s past adventure in Underland, led by the Mad Hatter. Her mission in Underland? Restoring the White Queen to her rightful throne.

Relative newcomer Mia Wasikowska is outstanding as Alice. She reminds one of a young Gwyneth Paltrow. Strip away the make-up and you find a playful, always interesting Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. It’s fun to think about what roles he might be taking on when he enters his 60s. There seems to be nothing he can’t do.

Alice features a terrific supporting cast, mostly unrecognizable underneath fantastic make-up and inspired costumes or just the voices in some cases—look for Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter as the White and Red Queens respectively, Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar, Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit, Crispin Glover as the Knave of Hearts, Christopher Lee as the Jabberwocky and Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat.

Alice in Wonderland is shot in 3-D, which is not necessary. A combination of animation and live acting, the other effects are so visually stunning, 3-D seems like a toy with which Burton wanted to play. Sometimes less is more.

Only 108 minutes long, the film seems longer and does drag in spots.  But if you’re looking for a treat to the senses with a healthy dose of great acting, you’ll enjoy your visit down the rabbit hole.

2 ½ nuggets out of 4

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