Wonderland or Underland?

There are fewer gardens more spectacular than the one in which Alice lands when she falls down the rabbit hole. Thanks to Disney and Director, Tim Burton, the Lewis Carroll classic gets a colourful makeover.

Australia’s own Mia Wasikowska leads the cast and almost manages to steal the limelight from the Mad Hatter himself, played by Burton’s trusted servant, Johnny Depp. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Tim Burton movie if there wasn’t a part for his wife, Helena Bonham Carter, who is unrecognisable as the bulbous-headed Red Queen.

Blatant nepotism aside, the partially animated cast does have a host of actors who easily take ownership of their cartoon alter egos. Alan Rickman as the Blue Caterpillar, Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat and Barbara Windsor as Dormouse provide just enough humour in this darker version of Alice’s tale.

Burton is not know for a light, breezy storytelling technique and this version of Alice in Wonderland, or Underland as it is affectionately known, portrays a certain amount of artistic license. In order to depict a darker view of life through the rabbit hole, Alice is aged a few years and appears as a 19-year-old who is plagued by dreams of tea parties, talking caterpillars and of course, the Mad Hatter. This allows the story to be progressed a few years and builds on Carroll’s original tale, rather than trying to recreate something with which moviegoers will be familiar.

The scenery is fantastic, although I would have to say that the 3D version was perhaps overkill. There was so much to take in that having characters and effects come at you from the big screen was a little disconcerting.

Disney may have reined in the darker side of Tim Burton to make a more commercially viable movie but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. Perhaps not a Disney movie for younger audiences but still an enjoyable trip to the cinema.

Watch out for the rabbit holes.

Reviewed by Debbie McTaggart

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