It’s been a very important date for the last few weeks, but March 5th saw the opening of Tim Burton’s long awaited “Alice in Wonderland”. The 3D spectacle sold out at Lincoln’s Odeon on the evening of release, and with fantastic performances from the star-studded cast – it’s easy to see why.
There has been controversy in recent weeks as to whether the movie would be shown at the three major cinemas in England, but since they agreed to screen it despite the contract contradictions, it seems to have been a major success.
The stellar cast is typical of a Burton production, as he tends to use the same actors and actresses over again, and this feature is no different. Helena Bonham Carter plays the nefarious Red Queen; Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter; Christopher Lee as the Jabberwocky; Anne Hathaway as the beloved White Queen; and Matt Lucas as the comedic Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee. However the lead role goes to a yet unheard of actress, Mia Wasikowska, who steps up to the mark beautifully as Alice.
Tim Burton is well known for his quirky and unusual pictures, such as “Corpse Bride” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, and this re-imagining of the classic story is no different. Burton has taken the well known Disney original and added his own mark. Screenplay is by Linda Woolverton, who has worked on many other Disney features, such as “The Lion King” and “Mulan”.
The story unfolds as Alice, now 19, is enticed down the rabbit hole and into Wonderland again. However things are not as they once were, as shown by the creepy fantasy landscapes. The Red Queen is ruling the lands with terror and has many agents to carry out her misdeeds. Though there is a prophecy that shows Alice back in Wonderland and defeating the Red Queens’s most terrible warrior, the Jabberwocky, which will right Wonderland and return the peaceful White Queen to power.
There is confusion as to whether Alice is the ‘right’ Alice, as she doesn’t want to be told what to do, and is disbelieving of the prophecy. But when the Mad Hatter again lays eyes on Alice, he is sure she is the one to help them through their troubles.
The film was made combining live action and animation, and provides an undeniable visual treat. However this film, like many other CGI features, becomes increasingly normal in the build up to a generic spectacular ending.
The story for the original 1951 Disney film was based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, whereas this new feature combines this with “Through the Looking Glass” and his poem “Jabberwocky”. This combination provides a whole new story and the chance for Burton to add his own personality to the film. There could also be a moral undertone to the story, as Alice is faced to choose between what is expected of her and what she wants, and this could be posed as a question to the audience.
Overall, this film is a charming take on the old tale with a few new twists and turns. The flawless animation allows for each actor to put their mark on the character and provides a very different landscape to the previous whimsical Wonderland. With the odd mix of actors and the tell-tale signs of Tim Burton, it truly is a film that just gets curiouser and curiouser.