We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Disney presents a film directed by Tim Burton. Written by Linda Woolverton, based on the books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Running time: 108 minutes. Rated PG (for fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and a smoking caterpillar).
As a young reader, I found Alice in Wonderland creepy and rather distasteful. Alice's adventures played like a series of encounters with characters whose purpose was to tease, puzzle and torment her. Few children would want to go to wonderland, and none would want to stay. The problem may be that I encountered the book too young and was put off by the alarming John Tenniel illustrations. Why did Alice have such deep, dark eye sockets? Why couldn't Wonderland be cozy like the world of Pooh? Watching the 1951 Disney film, I feared the Cheshire Cat was about to tell me something I didn't want to know.
Tim Burton's new 3-D version of "Alice in Wonderland" answers my childish questions. This has never been a children's story. There's even a little sadism embedded in Carroll's fantasy. It reminds me of uncles who tickle their nieces until they scream. "Alice" plays better as an adult hallucination, which is how Burton rather brilliantly interprets it until a pointless third act flies off the rails. It was a wise idea by Burton and his screenwriter, Linda Woolverton, to devise a reason that Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now a grown girl in her late teens, revisiting a Wonderland that remains much the same, as fantasy worlds must always do.
Burton is above all a brilliant visual artist, and his film is a pleasure to regard; I look forward to admiring it in 2-D, where it will look brighter and more colorful. No artist who can create these images is enhancing them in any way by adding the annoying third dimension. But never mind that.