OK, let me say these things first, so you'll get the rest of the review. They're the "DO NOT"s. First, DO NOT go to see the new Alice in Wonderland expecting the Disney animated classic. Just watch the classic if that's what you really want. Second, DO NOT treat this like it's going to be another Tim Burton movie. It's PG, and it's adapted from a classic children's book, sort of. So it's not going to be another Sweeney Todd. Third, DO NOT expect anything. If you do, you won't know what to make of the movie.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about the first "must-see" movie of 2010.
It's been thirteen years since Alice's (Mia Wasikowska) fateful fall down the rabbit hole and into a world that seems as if it could only be thought up while under the influence of drugs. In that time, she's convinced herself she's dreamed it all up. And who can blame her, really? It's a lot easier to believe it was just a figment of a mind that's gone 'round the bend. Now she's in a rather uncomfortable situation, as she's being proposed to by a downright undesirable fellow with some stomach unrest. She takes the initiative when she sees a white rabbit to follow it. Who can blame her, really?
Of course, she ends up in Wonderland.
Actually, it's called Underland, she just got it wrong the first time. No not that Underland. The Mad Hatter (the one and only Johnny Depp) has a prophecy that concerns Alice, and she's been brought back to fulfill it. What is this prophecy? Well, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) doesn't like it at all, and neither does the Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover). Why? you ask, because you're naturally getting curiouser and curiouser and haven't read all the reviews that have previously come out.
To slay the Jabberwocky (voiced breifly by Christopher Lee!).
I actually enjoyed this movie quite a bit, because I listened to my own "DO NOT"s. It makes no sense and perfect sense at the first time. There are a lot of nods to the books, even though this is a sequel to them. While I wouldn't suggest the youngest audiences watching this movie, it's suitable for a PG crowd. My favorite of Burton's little details in Wonder/Underland is the inclusion of rocking-horseflies. Which is pretty awesome.
The acting is all quite nice, with Depp's Scottish Hatter and Bonham Carter's Queen stealing the show in every scene they're in. Except when Alan Rickman is in there. Or perhaps the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry).
Also, the character of Alice has a nice arc in this movie. She starts from being more like the passiveAlice we know from the original, thinking it's all just a dream and such, but slowly becomes more active until she actually does some pretty heroic stuff. And it's all with the half-useless advice of Absalom the caterpillar (Alan Rickman).
There's a lot to enjoy, and if you listen to the "DO NOT"s you'll have a good time. Plus, you'll get to see perhaps the most outrageous Johnny Depp moment ever put on screen.
My rating: 8.5/10
Coming Soon: Young Frankenstein and Peter and the Starcatchers.