I never saw it at the movies, but since it’s now out on DVD, I figured I might as well watch Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Most of what I heard about it wasn’t too good, and, well, it really wasn’t. First of all, it wasn’t a good adaptation of the original story. The characters who showed up weren’t particularly consistent with how they appeared in either the books or the Disney animated film from the fifties (to which this was allegedly a sequel). The Hatter as a revolutionary leader? The Caterpillar as a sage named Absalom? The Dormouse as a warrior? (Seriously, he looked like Stuart Little and acted like Reepicheep.) The White Rabbit wasn’t too bad, but I couldn’t get over how much he sounded like C-3PO. And the Red Queen was obviously supposed to be the Queen of Hearts, so why didn’t they just call her that? The Disney cartoon did give the Queen of Hearts some of the Red Queen’s lines, so it isn’t the first case of the two queens being combined. But really, I don’t think the character in the Burton film resembled the Red Queen at all. The tarts, the Knave, the playing card henchmen, and “off with her head” were all associated with the hot-tempered Queen of Hearts, not the prim and proper Red Queen. And the White Queen is supposed to be old and absent-minded. Also, why no kings? The Queen of Hearts, Red Queen, and White Queen are all married. I think I heard something about the Red King’s head being visible in one scene, but I didn’t notice it, and killing her own husband wouldn’t have been in character for either queen anyway.
So we’ve established that it wasn’t a good adaptation of the Alice stories, but that might not have been so important if it had been a good movie otherwise. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Most of it was pretty boring, and the story didn’t really seem to have any logical progression. Sure, you could say Wonderland isn’t supposed to have logical progression, but it wasn’t nonsensical in the fun way the books are. It just kind of meandered. I kind of think they put all of their effort into the visuals, but they weren’t all that good either. Some were pretty interesting, like the Bandersnatch and the quick glimpses of the Looking-Glass Insects, but most of it was too dark and drippy.