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Reviews Comments: Pretty On the Surface But That's About It. Alice In Wonderland 2010 film/book review by Maia White

As a warning, there will be spoilers in this.

At first glance Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland isn't a bad film. It had quite a lot of good elements with stunning visuals, superstar casting, and a director that is known for making good movies. Unfortunately there's a lot left to be desired with this film as well.

First I'll start with the plot. Somehow we've lost the delightful nonsense of Alice in Wonderland and we've turned it into a cliched Chosen One story. Alice has run away from her almost fiance and stumbled into Wonderland once again, only now she's the only one able to defeat an unkillable dragon and free the kingdom from tyranny. Any tension about whether or not Alice can really do this is lost immediately with the introduction of the Oraculum, an illustrated calendar that shows something happen everyday of Wonderland, which says that Alice will kill the Jabberwocky, whether she wants to or not. And the rest of the plot tells us all that You Cant Fight Fate when everything that Alice does leads her that much closer to her destiny. After defeating the Jabberwocky and returning home, Alice cleans up lose ends and runs off to expand her father's business (or bring Opium to China depending on your view.) The story just seems cliche and the writing feels lazy.

I do have to say that the acting is pretty good. Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp are as good as they ever are and they bring the characters of the Mad Hatter and Red Queen to life and make them real and sympathetic. Mia Wasikowska tends to have dull surprise as her main emotion, but she does have the justification of Alice thinking everything is all a dream for most of the movie. The voice acting is very nice as well.

The visuals are very nice. As per usual, Tim Burton there is quite a lot of Scenery Porn. The CG is smooth and the 3D is alright, if a bit bandwagony. Personally I miss the old Burton style of using puppets and claymation, but the art changes with the times, I guess.

I can't say that I dislike this movie, but I don't really like it either. It really is pretty average, but that could probably be blamed on lazy writing.


  • 12th Sep 10
Interesting review. I'd say one thing you didn't mention was the quirky characters. I thought they were written fairly well and made up for a flawed, cliche story. Well, not completely, but...

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