As many of the Tim Burton’s dedicated following expected, the director’s ‘extension’ to the tale of Alice and her adventures in Wonderland is simply stunning. 10 years after our first tumble down the rabbit hole, ‘Underland’ is a much darker world than dedicated Disney fans will remember. Yet Burton manages to use his movie-magician skills to somehow make it seem more colourful than ever. Using a combination of live action filming and animation, the film is truly breath-taking and much like Avatar it would be unthinkable to see it in anything other than 3D.
Unfortunately, as was the case with Avatar, it is the story that prevents the film becoming a complete masterpiece. This new tale, written by Linda Woolverton, fails to capture the unpredictable nature of Lewis Carroll’s original story. The very Harry Potter-esqe plot, culminating in an inevitable battle sequence feels very formulaic and to make things worse we are also teased with flashbacks of what Burton’s depiction of Alice’s first visit to Wonderland would have looked like.
However, it is casting which really makes the film worth seeing. From Helena Bonham Carter’s big-headed (in more ways than one) Queen of Hearts right down to Barbara Windsor as the plucky Dormouse, the film leaves you wondering how you ever thought of the Wonderland clan in any other way.
Little Britain’s Matt Lucas manages to put his own iconic spin on Tweedledum and Tweedledee and Stephen Fry’s smooth voice is perfectly suited to the creepy yet loveable Cheshire Cat. Australian newcomer to the acting game, Mia Wasikowska, gives a suitably ‘away with the faries’ portrayal of Alice although is somewhat easily forgettable as she is overshadowed by the other characters, particularly Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter. Looking just like a clinically insane Ronald McDonald, The Hatter is both hilariously wacky and fascinatingly terrifying and proves once again why the Burton-Depp partnership works so well. Plus there is sure to be several broken bones as children try to recreate the Hatter’s spectacular ‘Thudderwack’ dance in playgrounds across the world.