Alice in Wonderland Review
by H. Thomas
‘Alice’s figure as someone who breaks social norms in the “real” world, but who is completely accepted in Wonderland once it is decided that she is the “right Alice,” constructs a beautiful message that spins the concept of “normal” on its head.’
Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter & Anne Hathaway
Thirteen years after her initial fall down the rabbit hole, nineteen-year-old Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) has lost both her imaginative father and her belief in the place she called Wonderland. On the verge of being forced into a restrictive marriage, she runs away, distracted by a white rabbit, only to fall straight back into the world she thought only existed in her dreams. Underland (as it is truly called) has fallen under the harsh rule of the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) who much prefers to be feared as a ruler than loved, and is ready to command the beheading of anyone who opposes her. With the help of the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and his fellow Underland creatures, Alice must fight to slay the Jabberwocky, an action which will remove the Red Queen from power and return the rule to her sister, the benevolent White Queen (Anne Hathaway) and restore peace, while also trying to find who she herself is and how she wants to live in the world above.
With a classic tale so twisted and, of course, mad, it seems only appropriate that a Tim Burton adaptation of Alice’s story has been created. This darker telling of the story feels suited to those who have grown up, just like Alice herself, with Wonderland in their minds and answers many questions of the origins of beloved characters. Alice’s figure as someone who breaks social norms in the “real” world, but who is completely accepted in Wonderland once it is decided that she is the “right Alice,” constructs a beautiful message that spins the concept of “normal” on its head, and Mia Wasikowska embodies her perfectly. Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp, who are often featured together in Tim Burton films, each play their characters as the colourful, completely bonkers personalities that could only be found down the rabbit hole. In fact, everyone in the cast is irreplaceable and they each illustrate their characters perfectly. This film is a wonderful adaptation of the original Lewis Carroll story which almost seems to perfectly represent what he was imagining, making it arguably one of the best Alice reimaginings to date.
Alice in Wonderland is currently available on Disney Plus and was rated PG by the BBFC.