I’m going to try and be brief about it. Mainly because I don’t think there’s all that much to be said about Alice in Wonderland (2010). That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad movie – it’s just so mediocre, that there’s very little to say. You either like it, and look over it’s little flaws, or hate it, and inflate the flaws to boiling point. I’m one of the latter people.
The premise is simple enough – and pretty much has the American McGee idea: Alice, returning to Wonderland (now baptised “Underland”, because that’s just a smart thing that no one else ever could come up with), faces the biggest demon of all: her on insecurity. Oh, and a Jabberwockee (did I spell that right?).
Now, with said Wockee comes the first problem the sub-par screenplay runs into: the premise is so absurd that they need to introduce it at the start of the movie in a prophey, then ram it down our throats five more times until we finally believe they would actually pull a stint like that. And the movie does not disappoint in its perseverence: a hundred minutes later, Alice is indeed dressed up as a Pevensie, and fighting that Jabberwockee. You’ve been warned, the movie seems to say. You’ve been warned.
Sticking it to the man
But that’s okay, apparently: Alice in Wonderland – the movie – might be the complete opposite of what the books were about, the movie at least looks good. There’s loads of colour, the constant shrinking and growing is awesome, there’s some excellent acting going on (Helena and Stephen, I’m looking at you), the art design is superb and the costumes breathtaking.
And that’s the tone this movie (and, in general rule, Tim Burton movies) sets: an idiot came up with this story, but at least it looks good. There’s so many dramaturgical inconsistensies, and sometimes I even think I’m starting to nit pick and pull it apart too much, but who am I kidding? These things are just there. Those five characters in the opening of the movie, the ones you don’t get to know nor do you care about them, and they all get to have their asses handed to them by Alice at the end of the movie (because she learned something! and the audience won’t know unless she says it out loud! like in school!)… those characters are just there. Even though four of them shouldn’t be. But they are.
There you go, off you go now. Now you can watch the movie in peace, knowing what to expect. You’ll probably come knocking on my door afterwards, saying “but Bert, it wasn’t that bad”, and I’ll say that that is because I warned you. So better bring me flowers and candy instead.