By Risa C’DeBaca
Director Tim Burton’s highly anticipated “Alice in Wonderland,” starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Mia Wasikowska, proves to be a kaleidoscope of visual imagery as expected, but still disappointed many fans of both Burton and Lewis Carroll. The film is an adaptation of both Lewis Carroll’s “Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass,” taking bits and pieces from both books, and adding in a new, unrelated back-story as well.
Although Burton usually confuses his audiences with his remakes of classic films that were once novels, he seems to have turned a perfectly entertaining story into a mixed-up tale. The quirky and eccentric director played it safe by casting Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as the scene stealers of the show.
Although “Adventures in Wonderland” contains the most well-known characters, such as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat, and the Hookah-smoking Caterpillar, characters such as the White Witch, played by an overly dramatic Anne Hathaway, and the Jabberwocky, only appear in the lesser known “Through the Looking Glass.” This makes for a decent, but disappointing adventure for Alice in the film’s Underland.
The film starts with Alice (Wasikowska), who at 19 is much older than the seven-years-old that the novel states she is, expected to marry a suitor, she happens to loathe. However, she is distracted at her engagement party by the famous running White Rabbit.
Throughout the film, there is a combination of both of Carroll’s novels that puzzle the audience, but keep enough of the original characters to satisfy fans.
As the Mad Hatter, Johnny Depp was predictably superb. More often than not, Depp can undoubtedly turn a flat character into a masterpiece. However, it was Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen that was far more memorable. The Red Queen is a character from “Throught the Looking Glass,” but in the film she has a mix of characteristics of both the Red Queen and the Queen of Hearts from “Adventures in Wonderland.”
When Alice’s Wonderland is revealed to be named Underland, not Wonderland, it highlights that the film literally left out the wonder and failed to impress and exceed expectations.