Alice in Wonderland – A Wonderful Watch?

Tim Burton has done it once in again in Alice in Wonderland. While his trademark style and Lewis Caroll’s story do not combine to make a genius and a wonderful combination as one might expect, the characterization and 3D effects still make it money well spent. Alice in Wonderland was released on 12th March, 2010 in India, and parental guidance is recommended in lieu of scary images and situations. The cast includes Burton’s favourites Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter along with Mia Wasikowska (playing Alice), Anne Hathaway White and voiceovers by Stephen Fry Micheal Sheen, Alan Rickman and Barbara Windsor.

The title suggests that the movie is simply Tim Burton’s interpretation of the original book when in actuality it is a sequel of sorts. While the story doesn’t necessarily match the original version, scenes and dialogues have been lifted off the book as connectors.  Nineteen-year-old Alice, caught in a fix (of the marital kind) in the real world, falls into the magical world of her childhood in order to fulfil a prophecy. Her aid is needed to vanquish the reign of the Red Queen. The biggest hurdle that stands in her way is her own disbelief in Wonderland’s actual existence. Alice is convinced that her adventure is just a dream, and her friends are figments of her imagination. The question then is: can she overcome her self-imposed obstacle? And can she save Wonderland from the Red Queen?

Character’s from Lewis Carrol’s book come alive onscreen and are indeed animated as close to the reader’s imagination as possible. Be it the Cheshire Cat’s smile that fills the screen, Mad Hatter’s groovy moves or the Red Queen screeching “Off with their heads!” – Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, even if it isn’t wildly unpredictable or pleasantly suprising, is still a visual treat. Johhny Depp playing Mad Hatter and Helene Bonham-Carter as the Red Queen pull their roles off splendidly, their performance only comparable to their stellar work in Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Another character that specifically appealed to me was that of the Cheshire Cat, who’s voice was done by Stephen Fry. The mixture of enigma and surrealness that the Cheshire Cat ooze was only enhanced by Stephen silky voice, and I can only say that Stephen Fry has really outdone himself this time. The dialogue is quirky and may sometimes leave the audience chuckling in their seats. Being a Disney production and by extension a children’s film, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland has just that much violence to make the story work.

The film has received mixed reviews from critics because it is exactly what is expected from Tim Burton. Personally, it was a wonderful couple of hours spent and the movie really captured what was a big part of my childhood. But will I buy the DVD and watch it again? And will you, like Alice, consider it an important date to keep?

Probably not.

Rashi Rathi

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