The conceit of Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is that Alice, having visited ‘Underland’ in dreams during her early childhood, is now a grown up woman at 19 iv Victorian England and is getting ready to be married to a Lord.
And Alice, played by newcomer Mia Wasikowska is not happy about that one bit. Alice is the archetype modern version of the Victorian lady, the “Girl Who Knows Her Own Mind”, rare in the actual period, but prominent in 21st Century depictions of the same. She wears neither a corset (good for her) nor stockings (not so good, as a shapely female leg is always enhanced by a silk stocking.) Alice is to be married off to a tone down version of an Upper Class Twit in a kind of business transaction with her late father’s business partner. So Alice does what any “Girl Who Knows Her Own Mind” would do; follows the White Rabbit, voiced by Michael Sheen, down the hole to Wonderland or, as it is properly called in this version, ‘Underland.’
Some of the story parallels the original tale, with the shrinking potion and the enlarging cake. But in short order Alice becomes reacquainted with some old friends.
Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter, a strange, orange haired fellow who swishes about kind of like Captain Hack Sparrow and, at one point, moonwalks like Michael Jackson.
Helena Bonham Carter voices a CGI version of the Red Queen, a short, big headed version of Good Queen Bess on angel dust who seems to have taken over the place with the help of her minion, The Knave of Hearts played by Crispin Glover, the Jabberwocky, voiced by Christopher Lee, and an army of red playing cards.
Opposing the Red Queen is the White Queen, a painted up version of a Tolkien elf sans ears played by Ann Hathaway. Her army consists of chess pieces and she is somewhat constrained by a vow of pacifism. Hence, the White Queen needs a champion, which is, unfortunately, Alice.
Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat, and Alan Rickman as a hookah smoking Blue Caterpillar round out the cast.
Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is phantasmagorical enough, with its CGI rendered background and characters. The story is sometimes quite confusing and inconsistent, as a dream sometimes is. There is a feminist, girl power sub text, with Alice learning how to decide things for herself during her grown up adventure in Wonderland, which might serve her in good stead in the real world. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is a visual treat and not half bad as a story when one can follow it.
‘Alice in Wonderland’ is rated PG for fantasy violence and depictions of smoking.
Source: Alice in Wonderland, IMDB