Cast: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska
Direction: Tim Burton
It was inevitable. After all, few filmmakers can match Tim Burton’s skills in visualising a wild and wacky wonderland. The director of such beguiling tales as Edward Scissorhands and Sweeney Todd transforms Lewis Carroll’s classic children's story into a film of the hugely entertaining kind.
All the author’s beloved characters including the Mad Hatter (Depp), Tweedles Dee and Dum (both voiced by Matt Lucas) and the grinning Cheshire cat (gleefully dubbed by Stephen Fry) are brought vividly to life, with the added attraction of 3-D.
Burton re-invents Alice (Australian newcomer Wasikowska) as a free-spirited teenager. Of course, she once again tumbles down the rabbit hole to emerge in a wondrous dimension ruled by the fearsome Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter, outrageously campy). Alice changes size from one moment to the next and the adventures in her alternate reality are so funtastic that the bookend sequences set in the real world pale in comparison.
The film’s climactic confrontation with the dreaded “Jabberwocky” is a bit of a let-down. But these are minor quibbles. A characteristic feast for the senses, Alice in Wonderland is for those who fancy the funky and the far-out.