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Movie review - Alice in Wonderland

Updated on September 25, 2010

Alice in Wonderland is a world-famous book by Lewis Caroll, that practically everyone read as a kid. Disney already made it into a cartoon movie many years ago. But now they gave Tim Burton the opportunity to make it into a movie with real people. Well, some real people, and a whole lot of animated characters. And as an extra bonus, it is also in 3D. I truly believe this to be the future of cinema. It won’t be long before every movie will be in 3D, and hopefully the home cinema sets and tv’s we can watch in 3D will follow suit very soon. The actress cast to play Alice was fairly unknown, her name is Mia Wasikowska and she is Australian. Johnny Depp, who seems to appear in nearly every movie Tim Burton touches, plays the Mad Hatter. Helena Bonham Carter, another regular in Tim Burton movies, and also his wife, plays the Red Queen. Anne Hathaway plays the White Queen.

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In many ways the movie is very similar to the previous Disney version in the way the characters are designed, like for example the invisible cat and the blue caterpillar. Of course the story is also very similar, because both were modelled on the same book. Except in this version Alice is a bit older, no longer a kid. She is about to be asked to marry Hamish, a local boy, in a very public ceremony, when she chases after a white rabbit and falls in a rabbit hole. Alice was in Wonderland before, as a kid, but she just remembers it as a silly dream. However, Wonderland is in trouble, so the Mad Hatter send the white rabbit to find her again. The citizens of Wonderland want Alice to save them from the dictatorial reign of the Red Queen. She is not so sure she is the right Alice though, and believes she is simply dreaming. Will she be able to do what the inhabitants of Wonderland expect of her?

On her adventure she meets lots of strange and interesting creatures. My favourites were Tweedledum and Tweedledoo, these twins are small, chubby, bold, rather stupid and seem to talk in riddles. The actor who plays them is ... and he does an amazing job. But there is also the smoking caterpillar, a talking dog, a crazy rabbit, the very punctual white rabbit and more.

Of the main characters Alice is my favourite. Mia Wasikowska is a fresh face, and plays the dreamy Alice great. She makes Alice a very likeable and believable character. She is constantly wondering what is happening and whether she is dreaming or not, but she also takes on the situation in a practical manner. Johnny Depp is great as the Mad Hatter, who has a little crush on Alice. He is constantly walking the line between sanity and complete madness, but spends most of his time on the madness side of the line. It is however very similar to the way Depp portrayed Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (also directed by Tim Burton). Helena Bonham Carter plays the Red Queen. She makes this into a funny character, but also a bit scary. The Red Queen is a strong but very unfair ruler, and Bonham Carter plays her very childlike. This suits the story and fits the appearance of the queen too. She has a very large head, relative to her body size. This is a spectacular piece of animation. And last but not least, Anne Hathaway is a very gothicy White Queen. She is a bit too odd in a slightly irritating way for my taste. She floats through the screen, spouts pacifistic wisdom, and cooks up potions with saliva and fingers.

The animation in the movie is amazing. You can barely distinguish between the animation and the real thing. I know cats don’t speak and don’t float, but otherwise I would have sworn it was the real deal. Watching it in 3D makes it even more spectacular, and if you have the chance to see it in 3D you absolutely have to. It is only a couple dollars more, but the experience is a hundred times better. Tim Burton is one of my favourite directors and he delivered yet another masterpiece!

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