x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton's Disneyfied 3D 'sequel' to the Lewis Carroll story falls short of what might be expected from such a director and cast.

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With Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, and Burton directing in 3D, the success of Alice in Wonderland ought to be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, this isn't quite the case. Burton tries to mould characters and scenes from the novel into a coherent sequel, ruining the plot of Lewis Carroll's classic tale. A 19-year-old Alice has dreamed of her childhood visit to Wonderland, yet forgets she has ever been there when she falls back down the rabbit hole. This causes the Wonderland characters to question whether she is the "real Alice" - an idea that could go somewhere interesting, but doesn't. Instead, the plot focuses on an irrelevant feud between the White and Red Queens (Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter), resulting in a Disney CGI battle scene between Alice and the Jabberwocky. If you are a little lost, don't worry. Several highlights from the original story remain, including memorable characters such as the Cheshire Cat. The newcomer Mia Wasikowska shines as Alice, and Depp creates an endearing, if predictable Mad Hatter. There are enough moments of humour and sparkle to keep both adults and children engaged, yet for all the possibilities modern technology offers Burton's imagination, this film feels conventional. The DVD extras add little, providing behind the scenes glimpses of the movie's production and packaging that contains promotional postcards of characters. The Hatter remarks to Alice that: "You've lost much of your muchness"; the same could be said for this lacklustre reworking.