* CONTAINS SPOILERS
Alice in Wonderland (2010) is directed by Tim Burton and stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter. I’m a little slow. It took me awhile to realize the story is set several years after Alice first visited Wonderland. “Why is she so old?” I kept grumbling to myself. I think it took me so long because I was preoccupied with Mia Wasikowska’s dresses being so skimpy in the first half of the movie.
Alice in Wonderland is a bit of departure from the adventures depicted in the classic books. Life in Wonderland is darker and harsher since the Red Queen took the throne from the White Queen. Instead of merely exploring Wonderland as she did in the past, Alice embarks reluctantly on a quest to remove the sinister Red Queen from rule and to slay the fearsome Jabberwocky. However, since Alice cannot remember ever visiting Wonderland, and even though all the characters insist it has been foretold, she continuously denies having any great destiny to fulfill. Eventually, the fateful day closes in and when the Red Queen threatens the life of her closest friend, the Mad Hatter, Alice finally decides to accept her destiny and take a stand.
Keeping in mind the movie is only supposed to be inspired by the books, Alice in Wonderland really is just an action movie that’s set in Wonderland and borrows characters from the books. It almost felt like the screenwriter tried to throw in as many book references as they could. However, the movie is fun and entertaining, so it wasn’t a big deal to me.
I really enjoyed the casting of the movie and the voiceover talent. Although I have some misgivings about a twenty year old having adventures in Wonderland, I thought Mia Wasikowska had the right kind of vulnerability and sweetness to play Alice. Johnny Depp was wonderful as the Mad Hatter, equally funny and charming, and not as over-the-top as I thought he would play the role. Anne Hathaway was beautiful and elegant as the White Queen and to my surprise, provided some comic relief. However, my absolute favourite character was the Red Queen played by Helena Bonham Carter. Even though she had that hideous, bulbous head, I loved her chilling severity and the way her voice echoed whenever she executed an order.
Although it took me some time to warm up to the movie (and Alice as an armour-clad heroine), I recommend Alice in Wonderland as an action movie inspired by the classic books. Apparently, a sequel is being produced with Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp returning, so it will interesting to see what they do next. A thirty-year old Alice in Wonderland, perhaps?
I read Through the Looking Glass and watched Alice in Wonderland as part of my Book to Movie Challenge.