“Alice in Wonderland” designed to amaze rather than amuse

Not the book you remember from childhood

| Mar 14, 2010

<em>Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland</em>

Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland is the 2010 version of Lewis Carroll’s wonderful Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, it is produced by the Disney Studios and directed by Tim Burton, and it stars Johnny Depp and is definitely not your childhood Alice.

In fact, I saw one father lead his young child out of the theater only halfway through.

hotshots-logoAnd, of course, it is just the latest in a long line of recent movies to jump onto the rushing bandwagon of 3-D movies. Hang onto your seats, hang onto your glasses, and hang onto your hats.

Speaking of hats, The Mad Hatter is the star of this version, as played by Depp, and not Alice.

Oh, Alice is there, of course, but she is all grown up now. She is 19, and the premise is that she went down the rabbit hole as a child and had those amazing adventures, but her memories of that experience are just in the form of the same dream that she has had for as long as she can remember.

So, at the beginning of the movie, Alice accompanies her mother to what turns out to be a surprise engagement party for Alice to Lord Hamish, an awkward, unpleasant man for whom Alice has absolutely no feelings whatsoever.

When Lord Hamish proposes to Alice in front of all the guests, Alice says, “I think I . . . I need a moment,” and she rushes away after a white rabbit that she had seen in the bushes.

A white rabbit in a blue waistcoat, naturally, and thus begins Alice’s new adventures in what is here called “Underland.”

All the usual suspects are here, although you might realize that a few are missing or have lesser roles than in the original.

It has been foretold that Alice herself on Frabjous Day will slay the terrifying Jabberwork, which is imprisoned by the evil Queen of Hearts, played by Helena Bonham Carter with a big head, and thereby free the inhabitants of Underland from the tyranny of the Red Queen.

Yes, Dear Audience, it is Alice in Wonderland meets The Lord of the Rings.

And you have to believe that director Burton had more fun designing the film than in directing it or rewriting the beloved story.

Alice in Wonderland is designed to amaze instead of amuse.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”