Director Tim Burton is known for his dark, gothic style movies: Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, the list goes on. The majority of them have Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in them too. (Burton is married to Carter.) After re-visioning the timeless classic Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, he’s rubbed his hands all over Alice In Wonderland, giving it his magic touch.
The casting is second to none. Alice is played by relatively unknown Australian actress Mia Wasikowska. We begin with a young Alice, who has already experienced her time in Wonderland. Her father is her idol, an explorer who is a heavy business dealer, but loving father. Fast forward 10 years, and we meet a mature girl-cum-lady, who hasn’t fully let go of her childhood. Her portrait of everyone’s favourite daydreamer is magical.
Being rebellious but maintaining the innocence, Alice has been thrown into the deep end of the classic arranged marriage to a Lord who is quite the upper-class twit. After realising that this new world in front of her is just not her thing, her imagination starts creeping into everyday life, with discreet appearances by The White Rabbit. After seeing visions, Alice follows the rabbit, into the well known rabbit hole. As the story unravels, we all begin to meet the characters: Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, Dormouse, Mad Hatter, Tweedledum and Tweedledee… they’re all there. But we soon discover that she’s been to Wonderland before, and they don’t fully recognise her as she’s all grown up. However, as the awareness begins to unravel, the familiar story falls into place.
The CGI used in the film is a visionary experience. The sceneries are enriched with colour and tremendous detail, including managing to get The Red Queen’s head (Helena Bonham Carter) larger than her actual body. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter is hilarious, especially when we first meet the crew at the tea party. Anne Hathaway as the White Queen is gorgeous, with enough white to make you go blind. The mindless slapstick with Matt Lucas playing Tweedledum and Tweedledee is funny, that oozes throughout the film. The kids will find the film visually brillant, while the adults will get a kick out of the layer of humour to get through the 2 hours of entertainment.
With an all-star cast (try and spot the voices), this will take you back to your childhood. There is slight violence, such as eye poking and the odd beheading, but a fun family film that everyone will love.