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Running Time: 108 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG
Country: United States
The modern day king of stylish eccentricity takes on the opium-fuelled madness that is Alice in Wonderland – it was only a matter of time really. The result is a super stylish Wonderland with all the classic characters with an added Burton twist but a standard conclusion.
Alice in Wonderland is a kind of sequel to the previous adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s novel. In this modern rehashing, Alice (Wasikowska) revisits Wonderland and teams up with her slightly odd old friends, including the Mad Hatter (Depp), Cheshire Cat (Fry) and White Rabbit (Sheen), as they attempt to take down the deliciously evil Red Queen (Bonham Carter) and replace her with the permanently-stoned White Queen (Hathaway).
Not much is vastly new here but that’s surely a good thing. Burton rather retraces old steps in his unique way and pretty much tells the same story but in a little darker fashion. It’s the little laughs and the cameos that give the film much of it’s charm. Many of England’s finest pitch in with show stealing performances – Paul Whitehouse turns the March Hare into a character from Trainspotting, Alan Rickman simply puts on his most orgasmic voice as the hashish-smoking Blue Caterpillar and the aesthtically interesting Matt Lucas stars as Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Then, of course, there is Johnny Depp who, as always, turns in a very strong performance as the Mad Hatter and Helena Bonham Carter comes over all Queenie from Blackadder as the bulbus headed Red Queen.
All the good work does unravel a little as it reaches it’s conclusion, as it seems like you can’t end a kiddies fantasy flick without a big sword fight nowadays and Alice in Wonderland doesn’t prove the exception. Seeing the Mad Hatter scything down bad guys is pretty disturbing and transforms him from a harmless loon into a walking public service announcement warning about the dangers of prematurely releasing mentally insecure inmates. The epic climax is out of sync with the oddities that precede it and Burton tries too hard to mimic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as Alice jumps around chopping the heads off mammoth beasties. Wrong Lewis, mate.
It's Got: A beautiful Wonderland, a plethora of strong performances, a rather strange story.
It Needs: To keep its edginess right 'til the end.
Tim Burton’s rehash boasts a cast that lives up to its billing, a lavishly recreated Wonderland and lovely flashes of humour, it’s just a shame that Alice in Wonderland is a little formulaic in the end.