Recently, I was able to attend a screening of this long-awaited movie from the director of Edward Scissorhands & Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.
And here is my review...
(CAUTION! SPOILERS AHEAD!)
For those of you who have been living in a cave for the last century or so, let me give you the entire story in one sentence: A young girl in search of an adventure falls down a rabbit hole into a magical world populated by strange creatures.
I have always found Tim Burton's films to be an acquired taste. I first heard of this film after seeing a teaser poster while attending a screening of Star Trek with Mr. A. After some cursory research I learned that Tim Burton would be directing this adaptation of the Lewis Carroll story. Needless to say, I thought it would be a perfect fit, but whatever initial expectations I had lowered after seeing his ho-hum adaptation of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.
This movie is right up Tim Burton's alley. The source material is well-represented here, and Burton does his best to give the characters some sense of emotional depth. I found it quite refreshing in HOW the story was told (i.e. Alice is returning TO Wonderland after a 13-year absence.) I also was interested to see that characters from other Lewis Carroll writings (primarily the Jabberwocky) were included in the film.
From an acting perspective, I found the entire cast (including Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen & Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter) quite entertaining. In fact, in an odd way I found the movie reminiscent of the classic screwball comedies of the '30s & '40s. I found the performance of Mia Wasikowska as Alice pitch-perfect, providing what Roger Ebert called, "the baseline of sanity" needed to enhance the screwball effect of the movie.
I was quite entertained until the 3rd act. The movie loses steam once the "final battle" starts (which makes perfect sense, seeing how that's when the story is at its most conventional.) Another flaw with the movie is the ending, which may leave some audiences dissatisfied. Despite its flaws, I give Tim Burton credit for not only bringing the skewed reality of Wonderland to life, but for making a film that I actually liked after leaving the theater.
~Totoro (Otaku 5-0 Executive Producer)