Just to preface, I am not a fan of Alice in Wonderland. I haven't read the book or seen the Disney movie or any other adaptation of the book to film. I do like Tim Burton and enjoyed Sweeney Todd as well as the Batman films he made a while back. So maybe this is a good review for people who don't know much about the story and I am unbiased since I have no other Alice source to compare it to. But if you're a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and Tim Burton forgive me.
Well, me and my friends walked into the theatre with little expectation. My friend, who wanted to watch it, was in a severe sleep deprived state and my other friend used a free ticket coupon, and I was hoping it would kind of be like Hook. For those who don't know Hook was an awesome adaptation of Peter Pan released back in 1991 and had a similar premise to Alice. Hook was about adult Peter Pan going back to Neverland and Alice is about an older Alice, about 20, going back to Wonderland. However, the similarities stop there. Hook had heart; it had characterization and story; it was a wonderful movie with the simple themes of time, family, and the inner child. Alice had computer graphics; it had fat heads and no focus; it was at best a mediocre movie that may be enjoyed for its visuals in 3D rather than as a film or even a story. For those who don't know the original story, the film may even be more of a confusion than a refreshing take on the famous children's book. Alice, played by Mia Wasikowska, is confused herself and we hardly know anything about her let alone the rest of the characters. The only redeeming character here may be the Mad Hatter, played by Johnny Depp, who manages to ooze the most sympathy out of the audience. The Red Queen, Helena Bonham Carter, is mostly annoying like a spoiled child while Anne Hathaway, the White Queen, waves her hands in the air like a damsel in distress waiting for some champion to save and return her kingdom back to her.
The problem for me wasn't the simplicity of story, but rather the lack of heart and emotion in the story. There wasn't any depth or attempt really to invoke the audience's involvement in the characters and who they are. The story of good and evil has been retold forever and ever. George Lucas was one of the first to tell good vs. evil in a refreshing way and also ruined it by consuming the franchise in CGI substituting good story and characters and now we suffer with having to know that Jar Jar Binks exists in the movie world. I wish Tim Burton spent more time developing the story and saved the CGI until after. The visuals are wonderful and in 3D probably even more wonderfuller, but here it's just like trying to put cover up on a big pimple that everyone will notice. Sorry folks, maybe rent it if you want, but I wouldn't. I want my money back.