HOLLYWOOD—Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are two names that when put together, you expect spectacular scenes and impeccable acting. “Alice in Wonderland” is a story from our childhoods that brings hope, a little fear and a lot of excitement to mind. That is the best description for this 2010 feature film where Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter. Disney released the following short synopsis of the film: “19-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen’s reign of terror.”
A short but sweet sampling of one of the most spectacular films I’ve seen since the December premiere of “Avatar.” I never thought I’d see a film that I could compare to James Cameron’s epic, but “Alice in Wonderland” did almost reach that level of excitement with scenery. That plus Johnny Depp is one of the best actors of this generation. He transfixed me when he was on the screen. A man much like the late Bette Davis, who doesn’t care what he has to wear or look like in order to convey the role to the viewer. That takes a courage that most actors are afraid to tackle.
The storyline wasn’t the greatest, but it is far from mediocre. The tale Lewis Carroll wrote long ago, which we all read at some point in our childhood, is told in a slightly different way, but still quite refreshing and equally as fascinating. I admit I was about 3 and in the bottom bunk of the bunk-beds I shared with my brother far from Hollywood believing in Alice and her merry little friends, which she encountered one by one and it filled my mind with hope and excitement. That’s what Tim Burton does, only he’s doing it to adults as well as children. It is instinctively a given to expect Johnny Depp to be superb in his films; however, what he does in this movie is fascinating and absolutely new to his fans.
The astonishing special effects are creative and almost a storyline to itself. Unlike anything I have seen, “Alice in Wonderland” takes the adult mind back to it’s childhood memories and everything you fantasized about if you were a creative kid is all coming true right before your eyes in this film.
Other standout actors in the film include the chameleon-like actress Helena Bonham Carter, who portrays the Red Queen and Anne Hathaway who is the White Queen. The two actresses are mesmerizing to watch and the technical wizardly we expect the director Tim Burton to employ are there, with many other facets in each scene. Actress Hathaway especially utilizes her big beautiful expressive eyes in not so subtle ways which brings attention to her whenever she’s on the screen. Being opposite people like Johnny Depp makes an actor learn how to use one’s assets to compete on-screen with acting greats.
Lastly, Mia Wasikowska as Alice has a big future ahead of her. The young beauty really manages to hold her own opposite Depp, Hathaway, Carter and Alan Rickman who plays the Blue Caterpillar in the film. That used to be my least favorite insect, until I saw this film. Take your kids and expect 108 minutes of joy and eye-popping splendor thanks to director Tim Burton’s vision of what our childhood really could look like.
“Alice in Wonderland” gets Five out of Five Stars for creativity and the visual spectacular effects.