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Movie review for Alice in Wonderland

Updated on September 10, 2013

Alice in Wonderland

I've finally seen the Alice in Wonderland movie through renting the DVD from the Redbox. I thought the movie was very enjoyable. I also enjoyed watching the bonus footage/featurettes on the DVD where the cast was interviewed. One of the featurettes involved discussion of director Tim Burton's vision for the Mad Hatter as well as actor Johnny Depp's vision. Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter in the film. He is multitalented and provided his own impressive sketches of the character to Tim Burton when they were pondering how the character would be portrayed in the film.

The Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter, a key character in the film ends up being very impressive indeed. The part is acted splendidly by Johnny Depp and the character is visually amazing. Johnny Depp sports bright green contact lenses and flaming red/orange yak hair for the role.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter    photo credit:
Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter photo credit:


This film begins with telling the story of Alice of course. In her childhood, she is prone to having nightmares and is always able to seek comfort from her father when she has them. He suggests that she pinches herself to wake up from the bad dreams!

Mia Wasikowska

Mia Wasikowska as Alice. Photo credit:
Mia Wasikowska as Alice. Photo credit:

In her later years, after her father passes away, Alice seems to become distant and a bit of a rebel. Her mother seems to have a hard time getting through to her. Alice is resistant to her mother's attempts to socialize her. The scene of her and her mother attending an afternoon party ensues. It is being held at the home of the man who purchased her father's company.

It is obvious that Alice had great respect for her father and his vision of his company. She is outspoken about how she thinks things should proceed under the new ownership.

Under the gazebo

Shortly after Alice and her mother arrive at the party, Alice quickly learns that the special event is predominantly in her own honor as the son of the hosts wants to propose marriage to her. She is instructed to meet him under the gazebo where she panics under the watchful eyes of all the onlookers. At this stage of the film, her character is around the age of 20. While her family and friend believe that it is marrying time for her, she knows that this is not the man she wants to marry!

Down the rabbit hole

Alice excuses herself from underneath the gazebo as politely as she can by saying that she needs some air. She begins to run in the rose garden out back and beyond. She sees a rabbit dressed in a suit and thinks that she is going mad but she goes ahead and pursues the rabbit. It goes down a rabbit hole and she trips, following right down the hole.

 The next scene is visually dizzying as Alice falls down the hole at high speed, twisting and turning reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.

When she finally lands, it is on top of a ceiling and she subsequently drops to the floor! She tries to open several doors in order to get herself out of the room that she seems to be trapped in. The only door that will open is one where the doorway is too small for her to get through.

Now things really begin to remind us of the bits and pieces of the book we might recall from our childhoods. Alice sees a drink with the label "drink me". She drinks and becomes small enough to get through the door. For effect, it is shown that she sees some food that says "eat me" and she eats it so that she can grow again because she forgot the key to the door on the table and had become too small to reach the table top. When she grows and retrieves the key, she again drinks some more of the "drink me" bottle and reduces in size once more. Her clothing adjusts accordingly, ripping to stretch as she grows and becoming small when she shrinks.


Finally, Alice can get through the door and into the Wonderland full of amazing scenery and creatures unlike she had ever seen before. A smiling cat, the bunny in the suit, the Mad Hatter, and more.

When danger comes, Alice wants to get out of the dream but pinching herself is not working at all this time.

Alice is someone that everyone in Wonderland has been expecting because she will be the champion to help the White Queen defeat her sister, the Red Queen and bring back the peace. They all say that "it is written" and Alice will achieve this by killing the Red Queen's terrifying creature, the Jabberwocky. It is what has a hold on everyone and it is what is giving the Red Queen her power. Once it is killed, the White Queen can have power and peace will be restored.

Many, especially a mouse, are a little skeptical about whether she is the "right Alice" because although she had been to Wonderland before (in other dreams), she has no real recognition of the place.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:
Photo credit:
Photo credit:


Alice also has no confidence that she would be capable of killing a creature such as the Jabberwocky and because she seems to be so meek, the Mad Hatter accuses her of having lost her "muchness".

This is the turning point where Alice becomes the true heroine of the story, has a turn around in her confidence and is able to make things happen. For starters, when the Mad Hatter is captured, she goes to the Red Queen's castle in an attempt to save him.

 Alice is certain that this is all a dream and if it is her dream, then she must have control right? So, she thinks.

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway as the White Queen  photo credit
Anne Hathaway as the White Queen photo credit

White Queen & Red Queen

The person that plays Alice is a relatively unknown actress that plays the part very well. The supporting cast is outstanding also with well known celebrities. Johnny Depp of course is the Mad Hatter. Anne Hathaway plays the White Queen with just the right amount of pizzazz for the role. Helen Bonham Carter plays the vindictive and villainous Red Queen very well. She is of course exaggerated in the special effects of her over-sized head and her most common line is the threat "off with their heads."

Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen. photo credit:
Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen. photo credit:

I rate this film 3.5/5 stars

Rated: PG

108 minutes

Starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and more

Directed by Tim Burton

Screenplay by Linda Woolverton

Based on the books by Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland teaser trailer

Alice in Wonderland official trailer

Interview with Anne Hathaway discussing Alice in Wonderland role


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    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks for posting a comment Cari!

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Great review although I'm not a Tim Burton fan - he is a little "dark" for me. Sounds like an interesting movie, though.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks Hello, hello and ethel!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Nice job. I love Johnny Depp so might give this a whirl

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for a super review.