Burton Delivers with ‘Alice in Wonderland’

By Morgan Carvajal

If you think you remember the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit or the disappearing Chesire Cat from Disney’s Classic Alice and Wonderland, get ready to see them in a new theatrical light. This once bright and cheerful film has found a new delightfully gloomy vision and tone with director Tim Burton. The 3D spectacle takes the boundaries of film to new levels of excellence and adventure, defining a new culture in movie watching.

After living a dull and disconnected life in the Victorian age, Alice, now 19, finds herself returning to the fantasy world from her childhood. She re-connects with old friends like Tweedledee and Tweedledum to help take down the Red Queen, and slay the Jabberwocky. This is a plot that doesn’t sound familiar to the 1951 animated version, but captures and persuades an audience into a new adventure.

This was my first 3D experience, and as a person who thought these effects would make me sick, I was delighted to be wrong. For one thing, I never felt like something was going jump from the screen and fall into my lap, a relief. Burton limits using this tool as an effect to make the audience feel like they are going to be injured by objects in Alice’s dream; he instead uses it as a way to give the film depth and beauty. Burton makes the world of Wonderland come alive, the colors, textures, and movement of each scene make each object – trees, flowers, and clouds – a part of the story.

The captivating dark tones and rich imagery in Burton’s Alice made me forget about the childhood memories of painting roses red, and reminded me of the excellence that can come from combining art with film. Johnny Depp delivers brilliance in his crazed and confused part as the Mad Hatter, and Alice Kingsleigh (played by Mia Wasikowska) becomes every girl’s idol when she plunges into the rabbit hole.

A Disney fanatic as a kid, I fell in love with this 20th century version of Wonderland. A spark of pleasure and happiness kept me smiling for the 45-minute drive home from the city on Tuesday night’s preview showing, and the fantasy left me wanting Tim Burton to re-create my other childhood favorites, like The Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid. Overall, this PG-rated film is a must-see that is emotionally satisfying and madly brilliant. With Alice and Wonderland, Burton delivered.

Sonoma County Library