It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.
Alice, an unpretentious and individual 19-year-old, is betrothed to a dunce of an English nobleman. At her engagement party, she escapes the crowd to consider whether to go through with the marriage and falls down a hole in the garden after spotting an unusual rabbit. Arriving in a strange and surreal place called "Underland," she finds herself in a world that resembles the nightmares she had as a child, filled with talking animals, villainous queens and knights, and frumious bandersnatches. Alice realizes that she is there for a reason--to conquer the horrific Jabberwocky and restore the rightful queen to her throne. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
While Alice is riding Bayard, her wound from the Bandersnatch disappears momentarily. See more »
Charles, you have lost your senses? This picture is impossible.
Precisely. Gentlemen, the only way to achieve the impossible, is to believe it's possible.
See more »
The ending credits have flowers going from dead to blooming, a sun rising and setting, and vines moving around. See more »
Johnny Depp... as Willy Wonka, if Willy Wonka hadn't been Michael Jackson
Mia Wasikowska... as a winsome young lady Alice who discovers her inner fortitude
Crispin Glover... who doesn't dance, unfortunately
Helena Bonham-Carter... with a big head
Matt Lucas... as two Matt Lucases
Stephen Fry... who does actual voice acting and doesn't just read his lines
Paul Whitehouse... who against all my expectations, still does know how to be very funny
Alan Rickman... who nearly steals the movie, just by doing what he does best
Christopher Lee... who actually steals the movie with just two lines
Babs Mitchell-Windsor... playing a character her actual, real size
I can see why the they've not really wanted to call the film a proper sequel. It is that, being the story of a nineteen year old Alice who returns to barely-remembered Wonderland, but it also lifts dialogue and scenes from the original books. The story is your standard journey, emotionally, but all set in a very Tim Burton Wonderland.
Which, of course, looks astounding. Wonderland is an amazing place, often colourful, but equally often ravaged and desolate. It's a treat for the eyes, with the imagination and design shining through the technology. (It's very, very good, but strange things happen if you look somewhere the 3D doesn't want you to look and there's the odd moment of strangely stiff animation, especially when human(-like) characters are completely CGI-ed up.)
Unexpectedly, it sometimes feels like one of the Narnia films (though makes those movies look like accountant-led spreadsheets that have been printed out on toilet paper and left out in the rain), but mainly it's exactly what you'd expect from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. It's a great big treat of a movie, to be sure. Given that it's Tim Burton working with Disney, it's often gruesome and scary, but not too much. It makes you laugh at times, it pins you to the back of your seat at others, it gets you leaning forward trying to drink in every detail of the place, but it's not ever actually surprising. You know what's up, you know where things are going and you're never shocked. (Maybe once, in a quiet, horrible scene that stands out, even amongst the rest.) Even if you've not seen a single still photo or second of footage, if you know Wonderland and you know Tim Burton, you can picture it yourself effortlessly.
So much of it is still in my head this morning, but it's all visual. There's no heartache or sense of triumph that lingers after a great story. Funny as it is, there's only one line I'm ever likely to quote (a single word). I just have these amazing images left in my brain. In that sense, then, it's appropriately dream-like.
I doubt I'll go back and watch it again at the cinema, but I'm most definitely getting the Blu- Ray when it comes out next week, or whenever Disney decided they should bring it out.
If it feels like I've damned it with faint praise, I don't intend to. It's all pretty wonderful for the two hours it takes to speed past you, but I just want to make it clear - nothing that goes into your ears or your heart ever quite matches what goes into your eyes.
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