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Tim Burton takes our everyday world and shoves it down a rabbit hole in his bizarre new take on “Alice in Wonderland.”

Starting out with pallid, nineteen-year-old Alice, viewers watch as she flees her aristocratic peers in an engagement party and finds herself trailing behind a white rabbit down a hole. Here she lands in the strange, twisted territory of Wonderland, where she is immediately shown to a joyless tea party with the Cheshire Cat, the Marsh Hair, and of course, the Mad Hatter, played by Johnny Depp. It is at this twisted party that she is informed of her destiny to slay the vicious Jabberwocky and overthrow the cruel, bulbous-headed Red Queen. Although reluctant to accept her destiny at first, memories of her previous visit to Wonderland eventually spur her on into an epic battle.

With traits of “Lord of the Rings” “The Golden Compass” and “The Wizard of Oz” tossed together, this movie is another mainstream fantasy-action letdown. The Mad Hatter is arguably the best character in the film, with his Carrot Top wig and outlandish makeup, as he plays a major supporting role as Alice’s guide and protector as she prepares to battle the Jabberwocky. The Red Queen is not nearly as frightening as I predicted and seems simply “misunderstood”, while the White Queen, played by Anne Hathaway, is oddly fluttery and wispy. At times the movie was so eccentric that not one film viewer could make heads or tails of what was going on, and Tim Burton leaves many subtle, metaphoric messages unexplained.

Still, this 108 minute film is worth seeing simply because it is unique. It has action scenes, traumatic flashbacks, and odd sentimental moments between Alice and the Mad Hatter. I also admired the many strong, independent female characters. Next time, though, Tim Burton should stick to the book’s plot, rather than twisting the story into an unrecognizable mash of action and bizarreness.

Rated: 3 out of 5 stars





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