Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland Review - with Hi-Res Pictures

I was invited last Tuesday to the press screening of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, and i loved it! The movie is released today in the U.S as well as in the UK and Ireland, is already released in Germany and will be released in France March 24.

One of the most important thing when you go to watch a movie is probably to have the right mental image, i.e to don't await of it something that doesn't exist. As all of you are Disney fans who probably have seen the Disney animated there is a danger to compare this new live version to the 1951 version, which obviously would be a big mistake. Also, if you've read Lewis Caroll's books - "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" - you have to know that more than a strict adaptation of Caroll's books the movie was done from an original script written by Linda Woolverton.

So, let's put it this way: no, Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland is not a "candy" adaptation of Lewis Caroll's famous tale. However, Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland is a world where Imagination "have the power" and it's totally the case in Burton's movie. The "spirit" of Alice in Wonderland is there and it's all what matters. And yes, you will find back all Alice's famous characters whether it is the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Blue Caterpillar, the Cheschire cat, the Red Queen, etc... and all of them are just as odd, crazy, lunatic as they were in the Disney animated or, more simply, in the original tale.

BUT, as it is a Tim Burton's movie, Alice's "Wonderland" is also a place that can be uncertain, dangerous, although not nightmarish. Which on a certain point of view is logical as there is no reason why a world with such mad characters would be reassuring, right? However, the movie is not too "dark" and have a lot of funny scenes so if you have young children who are at least seven years old you can bring them to watch Alice in Wonderland, they will probably love it.

The other important thing to know, and it's not really a spoiler, is that it's more a "Return to Wonderland" as Alice, now almost 20 years old and on the point to get married with a young British lord - that's the opening sequence - went previously to Wonderland when she was seven. Although she don't remember it really, since her first trip she regularly had nightmares, and it's fair to say that her subconscious is still impregnate of all the strange characters she met when she was a child... Until this fateful day on which Alice, once again, will fall inside the tree hole and will be back to Wonderland.

I don't want to tell you more about the story line itself to don't spoil anything but what i can say is that technically and artistically speaking the movie is gorgeous. Wonderland looks really like a place out-of-this-world with giant mushrooms and flowers which can talk but also amazing creatures - all CGI animation is perfect, special award for the white rabbit, although all of them whether it is the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Blue Caterpillar, The Dodo Bird or the Jabberwocky are really great.

The casting, too, is perfect. Johnny Depp is playing the Mad Hatter with all his genius and probably nobody else could have played it so well. The young Mia Wasikowska who plays Alice have the right ingenuousness and Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway respectively playing the red and white queen are very good too. Interesting to note also the "voices" of talented actors like Alan Rickman - the voice of the Blue Caterpillar - or the great Christopher Lee - the voice of the frightening Jabberwocky.

The movie is released in 3D and what a great 3D! Generally in live action movies they use the 3D to give more dephts or an immersive feeling - this was the case with James Cameron's Avatar - but they try to avoid "pop-up" effects. One of the reason is that directors try to avoid that the movie looks like a theme park attraction. But here, in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland it's not the case: the 3D is used to give more depths but you will also enjoy some great pop-up effects all done elegantly and with a perfect timing.

I, personally, think that "Alice" should be very successful at the box-office - not as Avatar, of course, but Avatar is the "exception that confirms the rule" - and i'm pretty sure that children of all ages will love it. So, if you live in the U.S, in the U.K, in Ireland or Germany go to see Alice this week-end - and in 3D! - as for all the reasons explained above Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is an extremely enjoyable movie. And to tell the truth, i loved it so much that when the end credits appeared i already wanted to see it again!

Let us know in the comments if you've liked it or not!

All pictures: copyright Disney


Edgar Torné said...

I don't understand why the Queen of Hearts is called Red Queen here, since the Red Queen was a chess piece (and the White Queen's sister) in Through the Looking-Glass, the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Tim Burton tends to take these annoying liberties with other people's material.

Alain Littaye said...

Not really. If you go to see the movie, you'll see that the "chess" part of the Red and White Queen is not forgotten, and especially in the end "battle" sequence.

Gilad said...

Me and my friends can't wait anymore for this movie to come out here in Israel. I love Burton movies.
We baught Disney ALICE t-shirts in Castro (israeli brand) for the premiere in 18/03/10 ( ).

Guido said...

We'll go on wednesday. You can see the movie here in germany since yesterday (3.3.2010), so we were first :-P The more I read about it, the more I can't wait. Thanks for your posts, Alain!

Eric Scales said...

If you read "The Annotated Alice" (an amazing book)several experts go over the original manuscripts of both original books, and there's much speculation that the Red Queen and the Queen of Hearts are supposed to be the same character. Many Wonderland characters seem to secretly play a second role in "Through the Looking Glass". None of this is ever proven definately but Lewis Caroll's stuff is full of enough wordplay and puzzles to suggest many hidden meanings.

That being said, I find it funny that some of the early press stuff for this movie said something along the lines of "Many earlier Alice films mistakenly merged the characters of the Red Queen with the Queen of Hearts. The Queen of Hearts is from the first book, the Red Queen from the Second. Tim Burton's Red Queen is true to the Original story"- basically whoever wrote it didn't realize that Tim had done the same thing- used the look of the Queen of Hearts and yet called her the Red Queen.

Mastahh said...

Excelent movie.Has been launched today. You can watch it already today on

Edgar Torné said...

Well, maybe Carroll intended to make the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen the same character (in the same way as the Mad Hatter and the March Hare appear in both books), but they finally became two very different characters. Tim Burton didn't respect that and other things, such as making the Dormouse look like a mouse, or the Queen of Hearts' soldiers look like "hearts" cards, when they should have looked like "clubs". I don't know why people say Burton's made the best adaptation of Carroll's work, when it's clearly not.

Trumple said...

I just saw the 3d-version in the cinema. It is a really fun movie, but the dance right after the great battle just didn't make sense :P

Anonymous said...

Like Burton's ending to Planet of the Apes?

Robert/Cologne said...

Great pics and looking forward to seeing it next week.

Marco Antonio Garcia- São Paulo, Brazil. said...

Trumple, Alice is not supposed to make sense at all, that's why it belongs to a literary movement called nonsense. As for the movie, I can not wait to see it, but we in Brazil will unfortunately have to wait more than a month to have this privilege. Hope that they at least show it with subtitles, as people here tend to bring Disney (including Pixar) movies to the cinema just in dubbed versions that are terrible!
By the way, it was a great idea to have the Jabberwocky character on this movie- my favorite nonsense poem!

Anonymous said...

If you're wedded to Carroll's books, then don't go see the film. In fact, if all you ever expect from a film of a book is a page-by-page literal translation, do yourself a favor and just stay home.
However, if you're mature enough to enjoy a variety of interpretations on a theme of interesting novels written by a great artist who also happened to be a pedophile and drug user, then by all means...enjoy both the books and the films.
Otherwise, give it a rest already.

Anonymous said...

Saw it today. I was so disappointed by the story, effects, and overall lack of creativity. I felt bad watching it because most people didn't like it in the theater and were leaving. I wanted to leave but felt sorry for lewis Caroll's book to get such a horrible movie!

Alain Littaye said...

I say in the article that "more than a strict adaptation of Caroll's books the movie was done from an original script written by Linda Woolverton" and it's probably more important to remember this than anything else.

It is NOT a adaptation of the books, so, as a previous comment said, if you're looking for that you take the risk to be disappointed and if you think you can't go see it without that mental image coming from your readings may be ilt's better that you don't see the movie.

Anonymous said...

One of the worst movie's I've ever seen in my life. I have to GREATLY disagree with those people saying that it is a wonderful adaptation and artistic interpretation of the book. The characters were too drastically different from the book to be considered an artistic interpretation. "Tim Burton directs another movie to cash in on with Johnny Depp."

I do not recommend it to anyone under the age of 15.

Alain Littaye said...

Nobody is saying that it is "a wonderful adaptation and artistic interpretation of the book", everybody - beginning by me - keep saying that you must NOT expect a strict adaptation of the books.

FYDSigne said...

Movie was fantastic the first time around in the theatre and even better on DVD, now that I can watch certain scenes over and over again. My 6 and 4 y.o. kids are still a bit too young for this entire version of AIW, but they love things like seeing Alice fit in the teapot and the Mad Hatter's Futterwacken dance.

Lots of rebate offers out there on the DVD, for those who are thinkng of buying it. Check out for rebates, free movie poster offers, as well as $50 FYE gift card sweepstakes with daily winners!