Alice in Wonderland
Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonhan Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall
This dark fantasy is loosely based on Lewis Carroll’s novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and it tells an anachronistically feminist story of a 19-year-old Alice who returns to Wonderland (here Underland) to become an independent woman. It’s unmistakably a Tim Burton film: Johnny Depp plays a wacky but tragic freak, it’s scored by Danny Elfman, it’s rich in visual details and the script is a muddled mess. Burton manages to cram most of Carroll’s imaginative creatures into Alice’s episodic journey, but he has no time to develop them into proper characters who serve a purpose in the story. This film is all about design, and it’s almost entirely created in post-production. The fantasy world is admittedly vibrant and inventive, but so unreal that you never feel like anything’s at stake. Apart from Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, the human performances are nothing to write home about.