Mouse Ears Optional

This is a review of Tim Burton‘s directed, Linda Woolverton‘s scripted reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, based, of course, on a whole bunch of literature by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson Lewis Carroll for Disney.

It doesn't look like this.

I feat that movies are, well, so 20th century.

Earlier this year we had Avatar which, as a video game, was awesome, but as a movie was…  well, very pleasing to look at.  And now we have, finally, the untold tale of Alice in Wonderland which, frankly, while again very pleasing to look it is more of a…  theme park ride.

Although there are spinning teacups with a Wonderland theme in Florida and in Anaheim (as well as storybook ride on the West Coast), here we have visionary director Tim Burton and family friendly scribe Linda Woolverton relocating the action to Underland (whatever that is) and appropriating the Jabberwocky for an Alice that we’ve never met before.

Maybe a little more like this.

And it’s not that some of it isn’t perfectly eye-pleasing (I like anything with anarmphophic animals!  I wish my dogs could talk!) and interesting, in an intellectual way, to see how they handle familiar characters:  the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp–  gee, who saw that coming?).  But as the great Roger Ebert pointed out, there’s no emotional climax at all, really, and as a movie it just doesn’t work.

So we’re left with 3-D and cool colors and a bizarre dance sequence and, really, it’s a theme park ride.  When it was over I hadn’t had an emotional engagement with a beloved and reimagined classic, I was ready to go bite into an ice cream bar and go on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.  Like I said (and the great Anthony Lane portends) movies are so, like, last year.

Looks a little like this, but this cast might've been better.


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