Alice in Wonderland
(PG) WDSHE DVD/BD
Amazing that Tim Burton and Lewis Carroll didn’t team up years ago. The playful gothic style of the director of Edward Scissorhands and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory seems perfectly matched with author Carroll’s famous books about a girl called Alice and her curious fantasy adventures.
Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (based upon two Carroll novels) presents the visual smorgasbord expected of such a spectacular undertaking, but there’s also an unexpected sense of missed opportunity.
After Alice (excellent Australian actress Mia Wasikowska) plummets into the weird, wonderful “Underland”, Burton unleashes a giddy gallery of Carroll’s characters.
Strangely for a film founded on the notion of finding a person’s true identity (Alice is continually questioned about whether she is “the real Alice”), few of the rich, fascinating figures on display stand out or leave a distinct impression.
What might stir viewers more is how Alice in Wonderland — which is dark, odd and kooky, yet unthreatening enough for older kids — becomes a hero quest charged by issues of purpose and predetermination.
Alice struggles with being told her fate has been set out by a magical scroll. Hmmmm. Can you think of another book which people have trouble accepting as the most critical guideline for how their life should be?
Ben McEachen is the Reviews Editor of Empire Magazine