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Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland

Alternate Title: Muchness

Story: 3D sucks. Not only does it suck, but imagine our horror when we stepped up to the box office and discovered that our choices were either 3D or IMAX. "But I do not want to see it in either of those methods" I cried. "I want to see it in 2D. Alas, like Alice, we were destined to fall down the 3D dung hole (more on 3D below). Our attitudes were not good at this point and we were determined not to like this latest film by director Tim Burton. The film was written by Linda Woolverton and was based on “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass” by Lewis Carroll.

Attitudes luckily can change and before long, after adjusting the annoying 3D glasses, we became enchanted. Tim Burton's style is singular. His vision has been consistent and in this, his 14th film, he lets it all hang out. He essentially sticks to the main storyline of Carroll's Alice with some tweaking here and there. Only purists will balk at his artistic license - but let's face it, that's what purists tend to do.

In Burton's Alice, she is 19 years old and is escaping an arranged marriage to one very toady man. This Alice is brave, faithful and super heroic (in a Joan of Arc kind of way). All of the expected charming characters are present including the Mad Hatter, the Dormouse, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, Absolem the caterpillar and of course the Queen(s). Burton's world is filled with details that welcome us into Alice's and his vision.

The problem with 3D is that it gets in the way of enjoying Burton's world. 3D is nothing but a mooney grabbing ploy by the studio to get each and every viewer to pay $3 more to see the film. The 3D glasses are clumsy and most important they mute, at times blur, always darken the palette and most importantly interfere with with detailed world up on the screen.

Should you see this film? I would wait until it comes on your big ass HDTV screen at home and not have to be annoyed by the 3D gimmickry.

Acting: Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter plays this role with ease. In his seventh film with Burton he has this quirky character down pat. Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh is charming and easy to watch. Anne Hathaway as the White Queen was fine but frighteningly skinny. Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen was deliciously wicked, funny and the best thing about the film. Crispin Glover as Stayne-Knave of Hearts was fine. Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum was my second favorite character(s). Alan Rickman as Absolem the Caterpillar was terrific as usual. Timothy Spall as Bayard the Bloodhound was perfect. The voices of these actors were fine as well: Michael Sheen (White Rabbit), Stephen Fry (Cheshire Cat), Barbara Windsor (Dormouse), Christopher Lee (Jabberwocky), Michael Gough (Dodo) and Paul Whitehouse (March Hare)

Trivia: Helena Bonham Carter is the great-granddaughter of H.H. Asquith, British Prime Minister (1908-1916). She is the granddaughter of Violet Bonham Carter, a Life Peeress in her own right, and the niece of Mark Bonham-Carter, who was created a Life Peer in his own right as well. Her half-Spanish mother 'Elena Propper de Callejon' is niece of Baroness Liliane de Rothschild, née Fould-Springer. She became romantically involved with her director Tim Burton after their Planet of the Apes (2001) wrapped. Instead of moving in with her in her Hampstead home in London, Burton bought two next-door houses which the couple both share today (2010).

Predilection: I like Tim Burton films.

Critters: All manner of critter.

Food: All food eaten has major consequences for Alice.

Sex Spectrum: Gads, no.

Blatant Product Placement: None

Soundtrack: Danny Elfman loud and over the top.

Opening Titles: All credits at the end.

Visual Art: A Tim Burton festival.

Theater Audience: We were alone eating our egg salad sandwiches for half of the film until a mother and her way too young child came in to watch.

Weather: Delightful in Wonderland.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Eyeball gouging is squirmy and that happens three times.

Drift Factor: I was attentive throughout. My Wednesday movie buddy, Sunjt said he drifted a bit.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: I guess a technical nod here and there would be in order.

Big Screen or Rental: For the sake of your eyes wait until it is on TV.

Length: Under two hours.