For many, the phrase, “down the rabbit hole” connotes something quite enchanting and memorable. For me, Tim Burton’s journey down that bunny’s burrow was quite the opposite. Instead of the magical world of Wonderland that we know, filled with beauty and whimsy and all that inspirational hooey, we’re given a half-hearted attempt at a “sequel,” of sorts. It comes across more like a dull retread of the original story, advanced a few years and with a “girl power” ending tacked on.
I can say that my initial worries about the film – that it would basically end up being “Johnny Depp in Wonderland,” – were mostly unfounded, and I was happy to see that his role in the film wasn’t as bloated as I suspected it would be. However, his character provided little to the film, aside from confusion. His accent veered from a twangy lisp to a Scottish brogue without any real indication as to why. Also – spoiler alert – he was responsible for the biggest, “Whoa, why is this happening?!” moment of the film, right at the end. I won’t spoil it too much, but suffice it to say that it left the untamable and distinct flavors of ridiculous and awful in my mouth.
Despite the fact that the film is set in the mythical Wonderland, which by its very name and definition should be full of “wonder” and beauty, it ultimately came across as a missed opportunity to make a visually orgasmic film. Instead, it was a bit overdone, packed with CGI that often seemed shoddy, at least by my uneducated standards. For the most part, it looked like an overzealous kid got violently ill in a candy store.
The curiosity of the original tale is also lost on the staunchly predictable plot. Not only did it not differ much from various other versions of “Alice in Wonderland,” but it didn’t have the artistic merit to make up for it. I’m of the opinion that classic stories shouldn’t be revisited/remade/retread/reimagined/rewhatever unless it would add a completely new, useful, and stimulating perspective on the original. Ultimately, that opinion means that I found this film a completely pointless endeavor.
Sadly, the film is as dry and unimaginative as Tim Burton’s career has become. With each semi-dark, “goth fodder” reimagining of some other story (always starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter) that Burton makes, he gets farther and farther away from the excitingly original director who gave us the likes of Edward Scissorhands and my childhood favorite, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Aside from the that “girl power” aspect that I actually didn’t loathe, and some strong performances from the actresses – Anne Hathaway’s goofy but regal White Queen was perhaps the best part of the film, and relative newcomer Mia Wasikowska gave a memorable turn as Alice – Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is unnecessary as washing your car during a rainstorm.