Saturday, 1 January 2011

Film Review: ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010)

Director: Tim Burton
Running time: 105 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

UK release date: 5th March 2010

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 1st January 2011.


I have never seen the 1951 Disney animated feature which tells the story of Alice’s first trip to Wonderland. You see, she has grown up now and this film tells the story of her second set of adventures in Wonderland. I’ll give you a brief summary before I tell you my thoughts (summary haters please tell me why A Raven is like a Writing Desk… It’s been bothering me all day…).

Alice is now nineteen and it has been arranged that she shall marry Hamish, the son of a Lord, but she is not really interested in marriage. It is decided that he will propose to her publicly at a party thrown by his family. The unpretentious Alice is distracted as the big moment arrives and finds herself compelled to follow a white rabbit just as he comes out with the words. As you might guess, the rabbit disappears down a hole and is soon followed by Alice. Having made herself the right size by drinking a potion, she enters Wonderland, a place that looks kind of familiar, but she can’t place from where. Here she meets many characters, including the Mad Hatter, The Cheshire Cat and the Red Queen. At first there is some debate as to whether she is the right Alice, and she has reservations herself. You see, if she is the right Alice, then she must perform a very heroic task and she’s not sure she’s up to doing that. I really don’t want to give it away, so I’ll leave Alice down the rabbit hole for now.

This is unmistakably a Tim Burton film. All the quirks and outlandishness that mark his style of filmmaking in abundance. It is beautifully made with great attention to detail. I saw the 2D version which, I’m told by those who know about these things, is better than the 3D cut. Great performances all round, particularly from; Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. I should also give honourable mentions to Crispin Glover as Stayne - Knave of Hearts, Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the voice talents of; Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit, Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat, Alan Rickman as the Blue Caterpillar, Barbara Windsor as the Dormouse, Paul Whitehouse as the March Hare and Timothy Spall as Bayard.

Although this film is beautifully made with some great performances, I found it ultimately unsatisfying. I think because I know the story quite well the awe and wonder of seeing it for the first time is lost and that detracts from the viewer’s enjoyment. There are some great comic moments and some truly magical scenes, but as a whole it kind of lacked something for me. It’s worth seeing, but I wouldn’t rush to buy the DVD… even so, recommended.

My score: 6.4/10

IMDb Page:
Official Site:


Nathanael Hood said...

I have lost all respect for Tim Burton. The man used to be a well-spring of creative genius...but he's sold out. He's content to spend his time doing lackluster sequels and remakes...

Breaks your heart...

SteelMonster said...

I agree Nathanael... Since he sold his soul to Disney he hasn't made a decent movie... Very sad...