Take fantasy master Tim Burton, add in a classic fantasy story, and what do you have? A fairly average movie. Not average by normal movie standards, but average compared to our expectations. We expect something unique from Tim Burton every time, but this time we find what seems to be a collection of recycled characters and ideas, down to the music.
Perhaps the prominence of the word Disney helps explain a few things. The movie seems more like a Disney movie that Tim Burton was hired to direct, than a “Tim Burton” movie. Disney has a great formula for turning out above average entertaining movies, whether traditional or animated, that most likely turn a nice profit. This seems like one more.
On the other hand, collaborating with Disney is not such a bad thing. Basically being the inventor of the animated movie, Disney does excellent animation. There’s no exception to that rule in this movie. All the animation is as you would expect from Disney, and more. The technical bits of morphing the real characters into the animation are suburb. The colors, detail and movement of the animated characters make them one with the human actors, in spite of their obvious cartoon-like depictions. On a final Disney note, true to the Disney tradition there are a couple of animals in the story that help save the day.
Once again, the newer 3D available makes for a more enjoyable movie. The 3D in this movie seemed a little different from a movie like Avatar. In general, the 3D here is done more like cartoons are done. The moving cartoon characters (and humans) are superimposed on a flat background in many of the scenes. While that’s either a production cost or stylistic choice, it does take away some of the possibilities available when doing a movie in 3D. On the whole, the 3D is worth the extra few dollars to see, especially for a movie like this which is more general entertainment than a movie with a substantial story to tell.
For whatever reasons, Alice In Wonderland is a worthwhile 2 hour visit to the movie theater. It’s somewhat below what we expect, but still entertaining. Just remember to take the 3D glasses off before walking down the stairs.