"Bonham Carter generates the most laughs as The Red Queen"
Tim Burton producing and directing a 3D version of the Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland just makes sense. Very few filmmakers have the vision, style and off the wall imagination to do the story justice. The question is how much is too much and at what point do you go from creative film making to hallucinogenic mayhem before losing a little interest?
A chalked-up Depp gives that famous creepy yet endearing quirky man performance another spin as the Mad Hatter. Bonham Carter generates the most laughs as The Red Queen, she is amazingly outstanding in her courtroom while her patronising subjects are shown to have normal features. W.C. Fields who played Humpty Dumpty in the 1933 version is replaced by current Matt Lucas, a double duty character, playing both Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee and portrayed in a much rounder and lovable proportion. Some added cast like The Knave of Hearts is a surprising treat to watch.
Tim Burton relies on his signature set design and you see his fingerprint all over this one. His use of exaggerated features, odd camera angles and vibrant colors make every scene pop from the drink to shrink, the cake to grow, the Cheshire grin (my personal favourite), the flamingo as a croquet mallet and the Mat Hatter's tea party - and all flying at you in 3D!
The White Queen (Anne Hathaway) was in position to be the most complex element of the film. I suppose her role is to assume power in the event that her sister is dethroned but we couldn't help giggle at her every time she floated across the screen. Also, for a girl who can't remember anything, Alice is never surprised. She sees giant creatures, she shrinks, flies on a hat, all with very little emotion.
Sadly Depp's talent alone will not save Alice in Wonderland. The film does have its moments, but it tries too hard to mix a great children's story with a mythology and magic and kidnapping and revenge and other dark themes. In my opinion, it was mildly enjoyable but will undoubtedly be appreciated by Depp and Burton fans. At worst it was just an underwhelming experience.