Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was very different to Disney’s animated version of the story. Having read both of Lewis Carroll’s books (Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass) I think that I can say that this movie is both like and unlike the books. It takes Alice’s story to a deeper, darker level- curiouser and curiouser- to the point.
Tim Burton likes the darker side to life typically, so I’m not surprised that Alice mistakenly calls it Wonderland when in the movie’s version it is actually called Underland. It has an interesting parallel between the light and the dark, the white queen and the red queen.
The movie is visually stunning and I have always loved Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter’s partnership in Burton’s movies. Mia Wasikowska as Alice was also a brilliant choice on Burton’s part. She is definitely an Alice- whether she is the real Alice… well, one can only speculate. Rumor has it that Burton actually wanted Anne Hathaway to play Alice and have Nigella Lawson play the White Queen because she was his inspiration for the character. True Story.
The film is truly based on the books but cannot be watched with the expectation that it will follow the books’ storyline in any way. Perhaps that is why I actually enjoyed the movie, because I was viewing it as a completely unique version of Carroll’s stories. It has a different take on Wonderland… Wonderland is all trippy and delicious whereas Underland is all dark and quirky. Both the movie and the books take you down the rabbit hole on an adventure that is scary and nonsensical at the same time.
The March Hare for me was absolutely hysterical! That rabbit looked as if he had survived being strapped to dynamite- brilliant, totally brilliant! The Red Queen and her massive head also had me in stitches. I was slightly disappointed with Anne Hathaway’s performance however. She looked stunning but I was waiting for some talent and grand acting. I just got looks. She was a poser in the movie, not an actress. Her role was completely overshadowed by the fantastically wondrous White Palace and the faithful hound.
In my mind I wanted Alice and the Mad Hatter to end up together. My friend Robyn gave me the idea while I was reading her blog post on the movie and I completely agree with her. Why did Alice leave wonderland? She could have stayed and her and the Hatter could have had weirdly wonderful babies and had a tea filled, hat making, rabbit chasing rest of their lives together. On the other hand I liked it that Alice didn’t end up with anyone. This may sound like women championing, feminist fluff but I don’t care. Alice didn’t need a man to end her story. She asserted her independence from that stereotype and went into a business venture instead- sailing off into the distance in style!
All in all I liked what Burton did in his movie but I also recommend that people read Carroll’s books. My friend Robyn said that Disney’s animated Alice in Wonderland was full of mean people and I see her point. The flowers called Alice a weed, the caterpillar had an anger problem, and the queen was out to get her head. Disney didn’t let poor Alice catch a break! I love them all.. I can’t choose! Anyone that can take me down the rabbit hole has automatically won me over because it is there, in that fantastic Wonder-under-land, that I never fail to have an absolute blast!