Alice in Wonderland is an 2010 British–American live action and computer animated adventure fantasy film which was also a remake of the 1951 film of the same name and based on the book also by the same name, directed by Tim Burton and written by Linda Woolverton. Released by Walt Disney Pictures, the film stars Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh with Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter. Despite positive reviews and a box office of over a billion dollars, the film does have problems and flaws.
Troubled by a strange recurring dream and mourning the loss of her beloved father, nineteen-year-old Alice Kingsleigh attends a garden party at Lord Ascot's estate, where she is confronted by an unwanted marriage proposal, to Hamish Ascot, and the stifling expectations of the society in which she lives. Unsure of how to reply, and increasingly confused, she runs away to chase after a rabbit in a blue waistcoat, and accidentally falls into a large rabbit hole. She is transported to a world called Underland, where she is greeted by the White Rabbit, the Dormouse, the Dodo, the Talking Flowers, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum. They argue over her identity as "the right Alice", who it is foretold will slay the Red Queen's Jabberwocky on the Frabjous Day and restore the White Queen to power as told by Absolem the Caterpillar and his Oraculum. The group is then ambushed by the Bandersnatch and a group of playing-card soldiers led by the Knave of Hearts capturing the White Rabbit and the Dodo bird. Alice, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee escape and flee into the woods, while the Knave steals the Oraculum and the Dormouse leaves the others with one of the Bandersnatch's eyes. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, however, were abducted by the Red Queen's Jubjub bird.
The Knave informs the Red Queen that Alice has returned and threatens her reign, and the soldiers and Bayard the Bloodhound are ordered to find Alice immediately. Meanwhile, the wandering Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat, who takes her to the March Hare and the Hatter. On the way to the White Queen's castle, Hatter relates the terror of the Red Queen's reign, and comments that Alice is not the same as she once was. The Hatter helps Alice avoid capture by allowing himself to be seized instead. Later, Alice is found by Bayard the Bloodhound, who wishes to take her to the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), but Alice insists upon helping the Hatter, so they go to the Red Queen's castle.
The Red Queen is unaware of Alice's true identity and therefore welcomes her as a guest. Alice learns that the Vorpal Sword, the only weapon capable of killing the Jabberwocky, is locked away in a case inside the Bandersnatch's den. The Knave crudely attempts to seduce Alice, but she rebuffs him; a subordinate sees this and informs the Red Queen, but the Knave replies that Alice made advances on him instead, and a jealous Red Queen orders Alice beheaded. Alice later manages to retrieve the sword and befriend the Bandersnatch by returning its eye. The Knave finds her with the sword and attempts to arrest her. Alice escapes on the back of the Bandersnatch and delivers the sword to the White Queen. The Cheshire Cat saves the Hatter from the executioner, and the Hatter calls for rebellion against the Red Queen. The rebellion is quickly put down by the Jubjub bird, but the resistance flees to the White Queen's castle, and both armies prepare for battle. Alice remains unsure about the expectation for her to champion the White Queen, and meets with a transforming Absolem. He reminds Alice of her past visit to Underland when she misheard the name of the place and called it "Wonderland" thirteen years earlier, and helps give her the courage to fight the Jabberwocky and accomplish "what she must to do" before completing his transformation into a pupa.
When the Frabjous Day arrives, both the White and Red Queens gather their massive armies on a chessboard-like battlefield and send forth their chosen champions (armor-clad Alice and the Jabberwocky respectively) to decide the fate of Underland. As Alice fights the Jabberwocky, the White and Red Queen's armies start battling each other, with the Red Queen's forces faltering. Encouraging herself with the words of her late father, Alice manages to behead the Jabberwocky, ending the battle. The White Queen then banishes her evil elder sister and the Knave to the Outlands; the Knave tries to kill the Red Queen but when he is stopped by the Hatter, he begs to be killed instead of banished, which the White Queen refuses. After the Hatter performs a celebration dance called Futterwacken, the White Queen gives Alice a vial of the Jabberwocky's purple blood, which will take her home. The Hatter suggests that she could stay in Underland, but she decides that she must go back and promises that she will return.
Alice returns home, where she stands up to her family and pledges to live her life on her own terms. Impressed, Lord Ascot takes her in as his apprentice with the idea of establishing oceanic trade routes to China. As the story closes, Alice prepares to set off on a trading ship. A light-blue butterfly lands on her shoulder, which Alice recognizes as Absolem and greets him before he flutters away.
Why it sort of Sucks
- Poor grasp of source material from the book and original movie.
- Tired cilchés of oppression.
- Some scenes are too scary for children. (ex. The dormouse pulls the Bandersnatch's eye, the victims head on the Red Queen's river and Alice slices off the Jabberwocky's head.)
- This is technically a sequel, really. Alice is supposed to be grown-up and returning. But even that falls short and the land is called Underland now.
- The Mad Hatter is creepy for the wrong reasons.
- The acting, especially Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter is pretty good.
- The special effects and CGI characters are well done.
- It's actually not that bad of a film.