Bil’s rating (out of 5): B
USA, 2010. Walt Disney Pictures, Roth Films, Team Todd, The Zanuck Company. Screenplay by Linda Woolverton, based on characters created by Lewis Carroll. Cinematography by Dariusz Wolski. Produced by Joe Roth, Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Richard D. Zanuck. Music by Danny Elfman. Production Design by Robert Stromberg. Costume Design by Colleen Atwood. Film Editing by Chris Lebenzon.
Years after she originally fell down the rabbit-hole, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is attending a garden party where she sticks out like a sore thumb. She is nineteen but still dresses as a child, is hesitant to consider marriage to an unappealing but very wealthy lord, and argues quite rudely with her mother (the lovely Lindsay Duncan). How fortunate that she is distracted once again by the cotton-tailed worrywart who led her astray the first time, and once again wanders into the forest and falls in to a deep chasm into the topsy-turvy Wonderland that she hasn’t seen in so long. Trouble is, she doesn’t remember ever having been there before, only knowing that she has been suffering nightmares for many years that she is now beginning to suspect are coming true. Now that she is back, she is welcomed by some, such as the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and dreaded by others such as the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).
Her task this time is to slay the Jabberywocky and return a mythical sword to the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), restoring her to the rule of Wonderland. Not that any of this matters: Tim Burton’s 3-D fantasy is probably his worst film, a gruelling, overblown extravaganza with no sense of rhythm, pace or fun, featuring some good visual effects but no inspiration behind them. Lewis Carroll’s perennial fantasy novel has been given the screen treatment for almost a century now, and the advances in technology have done nothing to advance the skill with which his sense of whimsy and political allegory have been interpreted. It’s wonderful that the Red Queen’s bobblehead is so realistic that I feel I can actually reach out and touch it, but that doesn’t matter if I’m fast asleep. Wasikowska is dull in the lead, while the supporting performances are all fun except for an awkward and overdone (not to mention badly made up) Hathaway.
Academy Awards: Best Art Direction; Best Costume Design
Nomination: Best Visual Effects
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Johnny Depp); Best Original Score