Alice in Wonderland is a 2010 animated film directed by Tim Burton and released by Walt Disney. It has a powerhouse cast, mainly composing of Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway. The film is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. In the movie, the now nineteen-year-old Alice, 13 years after her last visit, returns to Wonderland as a young woman and with a new mission.
Plot. In a garden party, nineteen-year-old Alice Kingsleigh is suddenly confronted with a marriage proposal. Confused, she runs away and encounters a rabbit in a blue waistcoat. She chases after it and then accidentally falls into a large rabbit hole. Alice is transported to a world called Underland. There, she meets the White Rabbit, the Dormouse, the Dodo, and Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The strangers argue whether she is “the right Alice” who is bound to slay the Red Queen’s monster called Jabberwocky and restore the White Queen to power. The group is found and then chased by a group of playing-card soldiers led by the Knaves of Hearts. However, Alice escapes into the woods.
The Knaves of Heart tells the Red Queen about Alice, and immediately, she orders the soldiers to find Alice. Meanwhile, Alice finds Mad Hatter who is consequently seized by the enemies when protecting her. Instead of going to the White Queen, she proceeds to the Red Queen’s castle and pretends to be a servant named “Um”. She learns that the only weapon that can kill the Jabberwocky is the Vorpal Sword which is locked away inside the Bandersnatch’s den. After befriending the monster, Alice escapes the castle and delivers the sword to the White Queen. Yet, the Queen gives her the sword for only “Alice” can fulfill the destiny. To clarify her confusions, Alice meets with Absolem the Catterpillar and is reminded of her past visit to Underland, which she mistakenly called “Wonderland” at the time. With her memories returned, Alice finally takes courage. Also, the Hatter is saved by the Cheshire Cat from execution and then calls for a rebellion against the Red Queen.
When the Frabjous Day arrives, both the White and Red Queens meet on a chessboard-like battlefield and from their armies, they send forth their chosen champions – Alice and the Jabberwocky. After a difficult battle, Alice wins the battle. As a punishment, the Red Queen and the Knaves of Heart are banished to the Outlands. The White Queen gives Alive a vial of the Jabberwocky’s blood which can take her home. Alice bids farewell to Underland with a promise to return.
Alice goes home. She then stands up for her family and vows to live her own life.
Commentary. Alice in Wonderland is a unique and refreshing version of a favorite children’s tale. Here, Alice has grown up and returns to a dull, chaotic, and dark Wonderland. Compared with the tale, the movie has less adventures but more drama. The young woman Alice finds her true self in the Wonderland, while fulfilling a great prophecy. Despite the dark atmosphere of the setting, the characters are very delightful, humorous, witty, and engaging. It is really feels great to see the familiar characters, yet now in Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI). It is nostalgic and dramatic at the same time. Though the images are really plausible, the movie is not very different from other such films which have better visuals than plot.
Actors. The actors in the film have done well, especially Johnny Depp (though the design and look of his character here is reminiscent of his other roles) and Anne Hathaway. I guess they all fit perfectly well into CGI.
Reception. Alice in Wonderland is a huge commercial success, becoming the second highest-grossing film of 2010 worldwide (behind Toy Story), and the sixth highest-grossing film of all time worldwide. It is also director Tim Burton’s highest-grossing film, as well as the highest-grossing children’s book adaptation.
Critically, the film received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave it an average score of 5.7 out of 10. In Metacritic, it received a rating score of 53 out of 100.
Rating. Alice in Wonderland is visually excellent but the whole movie itself rests on ordinariness. So I would have to give it two and a half stars out of five.