Tim Burton is a director who works best when he subverts stereotypes or creates worlds from scratch. Whenever he's taken on a project that's had success in a previous incarnation, such as Sweeney Todd, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or, most notably, Planet of the Apes, it's always resulted in some kind of failure.
The exception to the rule is his first Batman film, which has become something of a cult classic. In this case, he completely ignored the television and film adaptations that had gone before and reinvented the character as a confused gothic anti-hero, an archetype that Burton is an expert at depicting. So the fact that his adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland disappoints is really no surprise. Once again the director struggles working with material that's quirky to begin with.
The basic idea to reinvent Alice (Mia Wasikowska) as a 19-year-old girl trying to escape from an arranged marriage throws up some huge problems. Carroll's tale worked because it was a young girl escaping reality into a fantasy world inhabited by fantastical creatures such as talking rabbits that are straight from a seven-year-old's imagination. To expect a 19-year-old to be beguiled by the same conundrums as a child stretches the material too far.