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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Mia Wasikowska
Anne Hathaway
Johnny Depp
Michael Sheen
Helena Bonham Carter
Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman
Christopher Lee.
Directors
Tim Burton.
Screenwriters
Linda Woolverton.
Running Time
103 minutes

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Alice In Wonderland
Burton and Depp get curiouser and curiouser


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Plot
Years after her adventures in Wonderland have become a dimly-remembered dream, 19-year-old Alice (Wasikowska) takes a tumble into eerily familiar Underland, a realm of terror under the mad Red Queen (Bonham Carter), who has usurped the White Queen (Hathaway). Disappointed she’s forgotten them, the Hatter (Depp) and friends insist Alice is their prophesied champion returned. Uh oh.


Review
Alice In Wonderland
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Lewis Carroll and Tim Burton: a dream team or what? Visually the certainty that the two imaginative fabulists were made for each other is, to a great extent, realized exquisitely, with spectacular 3D, a haunting design for Wonderland, a seamless meeting of live action with animation, and a great deal of offbeat, twisted charm. It is in the telling that the story -- which is not an adaptation of Alice Adventures In Wonderland and Through The Looking-Glass but really a kind of sequel that references both and incorporates characters from both -- is, it has to be said, far less Carroll than Burton taking fanciful flight with a script penned by Linda Woolverton, (screenwriter of Beauty And The Beast and The Lion King for Disney).

Woolverton’s theme is Alice becoming a woman and finding her destiny, with a little help from socio-political allegory and the most eclectic cinematic band of guerrilla revolutionaries in fantasy since the Fellowship Of The Ring, from Johnny Depp’s acutely sensitive, schizophrenic Hatter to the agitated Dormouse voiced by Barbara Windsor and the mischievous illusionist Cheshire Cat voiced by Stephen Fry.

Strictly speaking it should be entitled something like Alice in Underland or Alice: The Return. So, be warned, there is no recitation of The Walrus and the Carpenter, no Mock Turtle or Humpty Dumpty (although arguably it’s worth the trip just to hear Depp recite from Jabberwocky). That’s regrettable for Carroll enthusiasts, the most fervent of whom will lament the loss of many cherished puns and quips, riddles, recitations, logic exercises, word games, contests and game playing. At least flamingoes and hedgehogs are still abused as croquet equipment, the mad queen’s soldiers are styled as playing cards (with her henchman-in-chief Glover’s one-eyed Knave) and a positively Narnian-in-scale battle of goodies, baddies and beasties for the realm kicks off over a giant chess board.

Wrapped around the Wonderland sequences is a framing device — Alice flees a surprise engagement party when she discovers she is to wed a snotty aristrocrat — that feels forced but things soon perk up with the appearance of Michael Sheen’s White Rabbit. Hurtling down the rabbit hole and experiencing life from various size perspectives thanks to the ever-popular potions and cakes, we and Alice are re-introduced to some of the most unforgettable oddballs in literature. And actually, losing one classic line of surrealism, satire, poems and freaky stuff enshrined in nonsense literature to impose a very Burtonesque brand of bizarreness (like the castle moat that has to be crossed by stepping on offed heads) makes for an engagingly creepy and coherent story of girl power that does work very nicely. Exchanging the child Alice for an Alice who bravely infiltrates the Red Queen’s court of tantrum-driven whimsy and rage as a secret agent, rescues her comrades from the head chop and bursts beautifully into battle in armour on the back of the Bandersnatch creates a pleasing, exciting adventure in its own right.

Helena Bonham Carter’s tyrannical wacko is sensationally fun, her grotesquely enlarged head miraculously topping a diminutive body. Even Hathaway’s good queen is unnerving, her white hair at punky odds with her black brows and lips. As for Depp, in his seventh collaboration with Burton, what’s not to like? In a frizzed orange fright wig, huge yellow-green cat’s eye contact lenses and gap-toothed, Depp still has dash, determined to see him as more romantic hero than lunatic. We’re right there with him on that.

The rest of the cast is satisfyingly thick with sterling British thespians and personalities, from Lindsay Duncan as Alice’s mother to a splendid voice cast that includes Alan Rickman as the hookah-smoking caterpillar, Sir Christopher Lee the Jabberwocky, Timothy Spall as royal bloodhound Bayard and Matt Lucas digitally duplicated into the chatterbox twin Tweedles, Dum and Dee.

Shot in 2D and 3D’ed up subsequently a la The Nightmare Before Christmas, this has obvious appeal in either option and, no doubt, in its DVD edition which supposedly follows, in a groundbreaking policy, in a mere 12 weeks.


Verdict
Sadly Lewis lite and not without flaws but this is as Burtonesque as one could wish for, a real treat for fans of his twisted imagination and great British character actors.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Alice In Wonderland
Empire Star Rating

A very interesting movie for very interesting reasons. There are a lot of ups and downs, but mainly a step down for Burton, who sacrifices soul for souless, bland, (though good) special effects. But the knowing Burton pulls it of. I'm just wondering what the actors were doing backstage. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Darren47 at 13:02, 12 October 2013 | Report This Post


Alice in Wonderland Review

Tim Burton's Alice sacrifices the book's minimal narrative coherence and much of its heart, but it's an undeniable visual treat. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 12:52, 11 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Oh no Tim

This movie had its ups and downs...I would have to rate it as an average film. Depp did a better performance in the Pirates of the Caribbean but I did like the special effects in the movie and costumes looked good. I think they should have called it " Alice Returns To Wonderland" seeing as how this is the second time she has been there. I would give the movie a 7 and that is about it. Jon  ... More

Posted by jwb818 at 18:47, 04 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE:

Alice in Wonderland I'm actually a little surprised how much I enjoyed this. I haven't liked anything Burton's done in years (Sleepy Hollow was maybe the last thing he did I liked), but this was not bad at all. Properly Burton-esque odd, but avoids overdoing it to the point of distraction. And, apart from one brief toe-curling moment, which is at least part of the story, no cringeworthy 'musical' interludes. 7/10 ... More

Posted by KeithM at 00:26, 03 May 2011 | Report This Post


After all the dodgy reviews was a bit hesitant about seeing it as I was really looking forward to it, and thankfully I really enjoyed it. It's got Burton all over it, love all the characters and the style that makes Burtons movies so great. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lukejt02 at 21:38, 28 March 2011 | Report This Post


Burton at his best!

Explains exactly what it says on the tin because it literally is Tim Burton at his ultimate best, going better than he ever has before; mixing real perople & CGI to make a surrealistic land that everyone has imagined time & time again in their minds after reading the original novels. Along with an amazing cast & crew, Burton definitely outdid himself, along with the 3D, which made that make belief land all the more real. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tonidepp16 at 16:19, 04 March 2011 | Report This Post


Burton at his best!

Explains exactly what it says on the tin because it literally is Tim Burton at his ultimate best, going better than he ever has before; mixing real perople & CGI to make a surrealistic land that everyone has imagined time & time again in their minds after reading the original novels. Along with an amazing cast & crew, Burton definitely outdid himself, along with the 3D, which made that make belief land all the more real. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tonidepp16 at 16:19, 04 March 2011 | Report This Post


Average. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 12:00, 03 November 2010 | Report This Post


Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll’s n Wonderlanden adapted for the screen many times, even if it’s difficult to replicate what made the book so special with actors and a camera. The book is mostly made of conversations and dream logic, which rarely works as well for movies as it does for a written novel, which is probably why so many adaptations of the story, including Disney’s animated version back in 1951, fall flat on their face. However, if there’s anyone who could make a great film from this source material, ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by McGeesJabberwock at 18:49, 26 September 2010 | Report This Post


Disappointing

I was expecting American McGee's adaptation, not some shit about her in a square-go against Helena Bonham Carter. Really, really drawn out and dull, but it keeps your attention somehow. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 17:31, 21 September 2010 | Report This Post


The greatest fantasy of all time

Alice in Wonderland is a brilliant film it is a bit dark for a PG film but good for fans of the book and Tim Burton. The special effects are amazing. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by 1movieguy1 at 13:28, 28 August 2010 | Report This Post


Really poor

I gave this the benefit of the doubt...... but the only thing wonderous to be found here is the the fact that such a large budget has been squandered on such a tedious and dull film. It takes quite a talent to create a story so devoid of fun and imagination, but Tim Burton is the man for the job. Not even a cast full of people like Alan Rickman and Steven Fry can save this train wreck. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rich at 13:50, 01 July 2010 | Report This Post


Tim Burton does it again

I have seen a lot of films of Tim Burton and he has a talent for the extraordenaire. He always delivers great work if he works with Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp. But also Alan Rickman and Timothy Dalton and Micheal Sheen are in there element. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by EmilyCarmen at 15:31, 27 June 2010 | Report This Post


Tim Burton's Best YET!

This is by far Tim Burton's Best YET! I don't know how he does it. He has a great imagination. Everything other than a few flaws makes this movie stand out from the rest. Even Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are terrific as per usual. But sadly a few flaws spoil the fun. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JackS1351 at 16:27, 23 June 2010 | Report This Post


Alice in Wonderland definitely isn't for everyone. Woolverton and Burton together create a world so strange and outright bonkers that it's easy to forget that there are themes and characters in there too. But it's talented stuff nonetheless, as Woolverton paints a beautiful film which is always open to debate and Burton delivers a spectacle which is undeniably entertaining. The cast gives its all also, as the various voice acting is immensely superb and Johnny Depp portrays a character which i... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by djphilips at 21:00, 10 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Passion of the...Alice?

And enjoyable Nacho fantasy! It's not that bad,there are worse films out there. It would be better to see in the cinema though. ... More

Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 00:37, 07 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Passion of the...Alice?

L: bozo I enjoyed Tim Burton's latest. I little CGI-heavy, but fun and original. greed. Watched it this morning for the first time on BD and it was thoroughly enjoyable, silly and decent fantasy popcorn entertainment. ... More

Posted by UTB at 16:27, 06 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Passion of the...Alice?

I enjoyed Tim Burton's latest. I little CGI-heavy, but fun and original. ... More

Posted by bozo at 13:28, 06 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Passion of the...Alice?

Hey,i love Nachos!!! Extra peppers please! No anti-Nacho sentiment here please...besides,the worst offenders at cinemas are those who bring their friggin huge plastic bags full of even smaller plastic bags while us silent nacho eaters sit there trying to figure out Burton's latest ego-fest(kiddin! ... More

Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 08:54, 06 June 2010 | Report This Post


Almost 4 stars...

A visual treat to the eyes, and a predictably perfect voice cast to the ears...plus Johnny & Helena. Tim Burton's long-awaited venture into Wonderland, dominantly doesn't disappoint. Alice's character IS NOT boring and ill-performed, but dreamy and endearing. Depp provides a neat performance as the Mad Hatter, stop thinking "it's Johnny again" and you'll only enjoy it more. And Helena Bonham-Carter fits well as the Blackadder-Queenie styled role of the Red queen. The stand-out criticisms notabl... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by IJustWantToBeAHero at 23:31, 05 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Alice in wonderland

I enjoyed it, Johnny Depp seems to enjoy channeling rock stars at the mo' - Robert Plant and Bono next time pretty please! - This time it's Ziggy Stardust, no spiders, no planet Mars just in Underland, tea check, the raven and the writing desk, check....split personality disorder....didn't see that coming. A very sexy glasgow accent I have to say. So this is like return to Oz only not as conclusive, Alice is not liking the idea of forced engagements so she runs after the white rabbit - as... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Sphinx at 20:25, 05 June 2010 | Report This Post


Alice in wonderland

I good is film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Alsadairp at 10:58, 04 June 2010 | Report This Post


Alice in wonderland

I good is film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Alsadairp at 10:57, 04 June 2010 | Report This Post


as Burtonesque as one could wish for ????

I don't agree with that. A really good Tim Burton film usually deals with the condition of being a freak, an outcast. Had Tim Burton made this film in the beginning of the 90's, The Red Queen would not have been the grotesque villain of the piece but a real interesting and tragic character. And please, most of the time it doesn't even LOOK like a Tim Burton movie. It's so coloured that it looks more like a Joel Schumacher Batman film. CGI is the worst enemy of Tim Burton's cinema! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Toursiveu2 at 04:26, 03 June 2010 | Report This Post


Madly Terrible

Although,Wonderland looked brilliant.It was terrible,Alice reacted the exact same way to everything,the funny parts weren't funny and it was just so lazy.I realize that it was for children and it shouldn't require any thought to follow,but it was just so over the top downright stupid.I wanted to leave the cinema so much but my dad surprisingly liked it.It was so predictable,it was narnia except worse and with a dose of Tim Burton. The Mad Hatter dance at the end wanted me to smack my head again... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JohnPaul1996 at 17:15, 02 June 2010 | Report This Post


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