I saw "Alice in Wonderland" in the theater this past weekend in 2D. I refused to see it in 3D as regular readers of my blog know that I hate 3D.
I was pleasantly surprised by "Alice in Wonderland". I was expecting it to be boring and overdone, much in the way Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" felt for me. Instead, I was entertained from start to finish.
The only thing I don't get about the film is why it is called "Alice in Wonderland". It is a sequel to "Alice", much in the way "Hook" was a sequel to "Peter Pan".
I thought all of the characters were wonderful in the film. Alice, played by Mia Wasikowska, was terrific. She was very intriguing. I was very concerned that I would not like Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter. It seemed like he was going to be an archetype of himself. To my surprise, I really liked The Hatter. I liked how in the past he wasn't always this mad. When the White Queen was in power, he had a wonderful life, but with the Red Queen now in power, the Hatter has gone mad. Depp played his Hatter with sympathy and a bit of mystery to himself. I really wanted to know the true Hatter. Depp's acting really shined when the Hatter would get angry. It was really frightening when the Hatter "lost his head".
All of the other actors were great in the film, but I did not like the look of Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. Her acting was fine, but I did not like the giant head look. It looked like she was an offspring of a "Mars Attacks" alien.
Visually the film was great. It was beautiful to look at. The effects were not the best, but it works for this type of film where everything is dreamlike anyway. There were some things in the film that made me wonder how it got a PG rating. There are a few graphic scenes involving eyes being poked out by characters and there is one scene that was so original and disturbing that only Tim Burton could imagine it. When Alice is tiny, she has to make her way across a moat to get to the Red Queen's castle. How can she do it? Well the Red Queen disposes of decapitated heads by simply throwing them in the moat. So Alice simply jumps from head to head to make her way across. It was visually stunning.
"Alice in Wonderland" has not had the best reviews. People feel that there is not enough character development within the film, but I didn't really mind it. I thought it was fine. It is far from being a great movie with the few faults it does have. The worst thing about the film is Depp's dance sequence, but overall the film was extremely entertaining and enjoyable.
B+ I recommend it.