The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


‘Alice in Wonderland’ a visual treat, but feels incomplete

When I was a little girl, I wore out the VHS of “101 Dalmatians.” I insisted on watching it repeatedly, and my parents relented.

Mind you, this was the original, better version: not the one with the real dogs, who couldn’t even speak.

Disney’s classic animation seems to possess the magic that makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside.

This magic combined with the power of a good story, such as Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” were what made the movies come to life for the newest generation.

However, Tim Burton’s take on Carroll’s story doesn’t seem to be one that children will ask to see over and over again.

As the introductory credits roll across the screen, anticipation builds: the cast features Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway.

This excitement will soon dissipate, as disappointment slowly seeps in with the sluggishness of the plot.

In the theater, children will be yelling because nothing has captured their attention, and you’ll have to stare down into the bag of popcorn for entertainment as this film tries to get its plot moving.

Who knew the day would come that you would be waiting with great anticipation for the girl to just fall down the rabbit hole already?

When Alice does get into this wonderland, the audience is further teased, yet it is not the kind of tease that sends them to the edge of their seats.

The simple question of whether or not the rabbit brought the right Alice is drawn out to the middle of the film.

She is Alice. She isn’t. No, she is. I don’t think so.

You soon won’t care if this movie is about the real or the fake Alice, and you’ll be forced to focus on the fuzzy cat that creepily smiles and drifts in the air.

Things start to look up when Johnny Depp enters the scene, walking over a table to encounter Alice.

The Mad Hatter is on par with other characters that Depp has explored. Frankly, he nails the part with his over-dramatic charisma and eccentricity.

This slow-moving film starts to develop a plot in the encounter with the Red Queen, (Wicked Witch of the West), who is the sister of the White Queen (Glinda).

Carter takes on the ruthless role of the Red Queen, be-friending Alice, (whose name she thinks is Um), until she finds out the truth.

Hathaway, playing the White Queen, engages Alice to slay the Jabberwocky, a three-story dragon-like creature. When she completes this quest, the day is saved and the Red Queen is banished.

Generally, the film is aesthetically pleasing.

The colors, oversized mushrooms and Depp’s makeup give it a glossy appearance. The actors do a more than adequate job of bringing each audience member into this wonderland of Alice’s: by the end, you’ll want the White Queen to be your mom, the Mad Hatter to be your drinking buddy and the smiling cat to be your next pet.

While makeup for the Mad Hatter is bright and whimsical, the overall mood of the film, from the colors and sets, is dark. The attempt to show despair in wonderland would scare almost any child.

The film is well-directed, choreographed and designed. However, the adapted plot is less than lackluster.

As in some of Burton’s previous films, the plot is characterized by a feeling of unevenness.
Though visually entertaining, the film doesn’t feel like a complete movie.

The plot spends a great deal of time getting Alice to her wonderland, and quickly resolves this world’s struggle when Alice flies in the air and slices off the head of the Jabberwocky.

Perhaps it is not Burton’s fault. This story may just need to stay on the bookshelf.

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