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Alice in Wonderland
Reviewed by Jeff Ward, © 2010

Format: Movie
By:   Tim Burton
Genre:   Fantasy
Review Date:   March 17, 2010
RevSF Rating:   7/10 (What Is This?)

I bought a ticket so I could see the Tron Legacy trailer, and I figured I might as well hang around for the movie. The title suggests that this is Tim Burton's ]Yet Another Adaptation of the Novel Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, but it's not that. It's more a traditional fantasy story based on the two novels Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Whether intentionally or mistakenly, Burton has mixed the two separate realms of the two separate novels into one. Wonderland's Queen of Hearts is called the Red Queen (like the Looking Glass character), and the White Queen and the Tweedle twins are in Wonderland, as well.

Also, the Jabberwock is present, though they persist in calling him "the Jabberwocky," even though the Mad Hatter recites the part of the poem in which he clearly is named "the jabberwock" without that extra letter on the end.

Helena Bonham Carter is delightful to watch as the Red Queen. She hams it up all the way to 11, and it fits the role. Also, Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry are fun to hear as the Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat. Anne Hathaway as the White Queen delivers her lines well enough, but she keeps doing this weird thing with her hands held aloft with the palms facing outward. I don't know who thought that looked regal, but I thought it looked silly.

Mia Wasikowska played Alice, and I knew I'd seen her before, and I didn't think it was that she looks like a young Cate Blanchett. Thanks to IMDB, I am reminded that she played the title character in the short film. I Love Sarah Jane. (I talk more about that here)

Hathaway's weird hand posture aside, this is a beautiful film, and it's not what you might expect.

To say any more would venture into what I think would be spoiler territory, so . . .

What? You're still reading this?

Well, OK.

Like I already said, this film isn't a retelling of the original novel. This is Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland 2: The Frabjous Day.] Alice is a young woman nearly twenty years of age in this movie. She ends up in Wonderland in the usual way, but the story that follows is similar to every fantasy novel which regard an evil dictator and the efforts to replace the dictatorship with a benevolent ruler. This movie most resembles the plot of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in that the person who accidentally ended up in this magical world is also the one expected to free the land of the evil queen.

So Burton not only mixed Wonderland with Looking Glass, he then took that alloy and mixed it with traditional fantasy. I don't know whether to be impressed or insulted, but it ended up being kinda cool.

Jeff Ward is late. Not for a very important date, though. Those he makes good and sure he's on time for.

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