- 15 Mar 10
Mr. Burton’s latest big budget 3D entertainment is a happy, if rather obvious marriage of director and content.
It’s difficult to pinpoint when Tim Burton brand of gothic became a mainstream flavour but it’s ironic that his best work – Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks! – made only tiny ripples at the box office. Alice in Wonderland, like Charlie And The Chocolate Factory before it, is Burton Lite and thus Burton at his most lucrative.
You know, for kids. And studio executives.
Mr. Burton’s latest big budget 3D entertainment is a happy, if rather obvious marriage of director and content. Alice is no longer a kid but a 19 year-old child-woman (Mia Wasikowska), who, rattled by a marriage proposal from her parentally approved suitor, takes off after the White Rabbit. Back in the Underworld, she must battle a fierce Jaberwocky controlled by the wicked Red Queen but not before she hooks up with her old chums and a chain-gang of British character actors, including Absolem the caterpillar (Alan Rickman), the Cheshire cat (Stephen Fry), Tweedledee and Tweedledum (both Matt Lucas).
Johnny Depp’s decidedly bipolar Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the bobble-headed Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) provide decent comedy schtick and the set designs are suitably lavish, if a little predictable.
Unhappily, all these pretty pictures can’t quite compensate for the storyline. If, as Linda Woolverton’s script does, you take away the Euclidean geometry from Lewis Carroll’s novels, there’s not a great deal left to hang onto. Hell, even The Matrix – the movieverse’s most successful Alice adaptation – managed some Baudrillard.
Still, if it’s not the blistering burlesque we hoped for, HBC channelling Blackadder’s Queenie more than justifies the admission price.