A childhood favorite of many Americans, "Alice in Wonderland" was written by the British author Charles Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. This book was recently made into an imaginative and powerful movie.
This version of Alice in Wonderland takes place when Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland a second time. She is at a party where it is hoped that she will accept a marriage proposal from the son of one of her deceased father's business partners. When she is proposed to, she sees a white rabbit in a waistcoat tapping a pocket watch; she runs off and follows the rabbit.
The rabbit then disappears down a hole which she falls down. Once in this hole, she enters her childhood haunt, Wonderland. Not able to recall anything about her previous visit, she embarks on a quest to slay the Red Queen's pet jabberwocky. The jabberwocky is a ferocious dragon like beast that has been terrorizing Wonderland for years under the orders of the horrible Red Queen.
Along the way, she meets such notable characters as the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, the Knave of Hearts, the Tweedles, the Doormouse, and the Mad Hatter. The Mad Hatter, played by Johnny Depp, befriends Alice and becomes her supporter and comrade on her quest.
After she enters Wonderland, many of her companions are captured by the Red Queen, including the Mad Hatter. Instead of going to the White Queen, Red's sister, Alice tries to rescue the Hatter. While in the Red Queen's palace she pretends not to be Alice and ends up finding the only sword that can kill the jabberwocky.
Alice travels to the White Queen's palace where she finally accepts her duty to kill the jabberwocky. She travels to a giant chessboard with the White Queen and her army. The Red Queen and the White Queen then meet in the middle and call forth their champions, the jabberwocky and Alice, respectively. After that...well, you better see the movie.
Alice in Wonderland is an extremely well done movie. The story is changed some from the original book, but it remains fantastically marvelous. While I enjoyed the movie immensely, it could leave some viewers feeling that it was below expectations.
Tim Burton attempts to have his characters connect with his audience and is able to do so although, because of how complicated and fantastic the plot is, it is hard to tell. Nonetheless Burton is able to add his own imaginative flair to the movie, making it an even more entertaining experience.
Johnny Depp understands Burton's desire to connect with his audiences and does and amazing job. He actually made me want to become, in every sense of the word, mad. He plays a very difficult character and left me touched by his performance, as confusing as that sounds for a movie like Alice in Wonderland.
The effects in the movie were also quite well done. While not as amazing as "Avatar" or as exciting as thrilling as "Shutter Island", it awakens a sense of imagination in oneself. The subtlety of the message is astounding. This movie makes fun of those who have lost their touch with their imaginative childhood and with little tolerance for imagination in others.
In time I believe this will be recognized as one of the most fun, creative, ingenious movies of the twenty first century. It is truly one of the best movies I have ever seen.
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