Alice in Wonderland: It’s an 8

For the record, I am really on the fence about 3D. It’s a great visual tool for adding depth and richness to a setting, but I loathe the glasses and I have difficulty adjusting after the movie ends. It’s all the craze right now, though, so I guess I better get used to it.

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is a strong-willed girl who has had the same recurring dream since she was a child. In the midst of a very public proposal from her frumpy suitor, her dream and reality collide when a white rabbit in a waistcoat runs by. Alice follows and falls through the proverbial—no, wait, literal—rabbit hole into her dream world.

The place is in turmoil as the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) has seized control of the kingdom from her sister, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), and she rules with an iron fist. It is up to Alice, with help from the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), and their friends to restore the White Queen to the throne.

The plot is one we’ve heard before, from the Bible to Shakespeare to Avatar. So the focus here is really on the telling, and I must say Tim Burton does a spectacular job. Every shot, every scene, every character is a visual work of art. While the symbolism and social commentary lack subtlety, it is an entertaining, even moving film.