Alice in Wonderland : 3 of 5
Since I generally like Tim Burton's movies and practically anything Disney (especially animated features like the original Alice in Wonderland), I thought this film would be an interesting yet bizarre combination of the two, so I was happy to see it on opening day with my pal Melinda. There are plenty of good things about this movie, but overall I have to say it's just not what I wanted to see. This film is really Tim Burton using the Lewis Carroll characters to tell his own story, which happens to be a fantasy action adventure that feels much more like The Chronicles of Narnia combined with The Wizard of Oz rather than the fairy tale that this movie should have been. This may be justified somewhat since this is actually more of a sequel, in which Alice returns to Wonderland (or Underland, as we discover) as a young adult who only remembers her first visit in dreams. I enjoyed the look of the movie, and I thought all the bizarre digital distortions turned the characters into living versions of the illustrations found in the original book (I especially loved the Cheshire Cat and the Caterpillar). Johnny Depp did what he could with the role of the Mad Hatter (who is obviously trying to be the Scarecrow), but even though the script attempts to broaden his character with sudden bursts of self-awareness, it's definitely not a surprise that Alice would want to go home rather than stay with him. Speaking of Alice, she's cast well, but no matter how good the actress is, I just can't get into an Alice who puts on armor and kicks butt (in the obligatory huge CG battle at the end of every movie released in the past few years). Actually, I thought the inclusion of the creatures from the poem Jabberwocky was a cool idea, but making them a central part of the plot seemed like a Tim Burton stretch to get some scary images on the screen. Alice in Wonderland will certainly make a lot of money, and people who are out for an exciting adventure will definitely enjoy the movie, but I would much rather watch the classic animated feature which is wonderful enough for me!