I think I'm going to add Tim Burton to the list of directors whom I don't trust directing movies based upon books that I love. So far that list only has Christopher Columbus on it, but it's a growing list, dammit.
I knew going into "Alice in Wonderland" that it wasn't going to be like the book at all. I had read enough articles about it in my Entertainment Weekly to know that. But I feel as if Tim Burton just took the characters from both "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass", not to mention Lewis Carroll's poem, "The Jaberwocky", threw out the story-lines, and just came up with a plot that involved all of them.
The first major change is the fact that Alice is in her late teens/early twenties when she "returns" to "Underland" (which she mistakenly calls "Wonderland" in her first adventure there). After she falls down the rabbit hole, she finds that she must drink the potion to make her smaller, and then eat the cake to make herself bigger again. But this time, her clothes don't grow with her, and I'm pretty sure Tim Burton just wanted that poor actress to be naked and/or wearing ill-fitting costumes for the entire movie (although magically her shoes remained on her feet...). Once she finally leaves the entryway, she runs smack dab into a whole mess of characters who debate about whether or not she's the "real Alice". The rest of the plot centers around this very debate as Alice must first convince herself that she's the "real Alice".
Overall, I found the performances a bit ridiculous. Johnny Depp couldn't decide if he was English or Scottish, and didn't really come off as mad; simply weird. Helena Bonham Carter was shrill as the Red Queen, and I must agree with Entertainment Weekly when they described Anne Hathaway (who plays the White Queen) as looking like "an Italian porn star".
I also think that the title should have been different. "Alice in Wonderland" automatically makes me think of the animated Disney feature from years ago, and doesn't accurately describe the film that I just saw in theaters. It should have been titled "Alice's Return to Wonderland", as that's really what the film is about.
I saw it in regular 3D and I'm pretty glad that I didn't pay the extra for IMAX, because I would've been disappointed that I spent that much money. Even though the performances left something to be desired, if you are at all a fan of Tim Burton, then I would still go and see this film. The special effects are pretty awesome, especially in 3D.
So on the CWeave scale of 1 to 10, I rate this movie a 6.5. I probably won't own it, but I'm glad I saw it in theaters. But then again, I like Tim Burton's movies for the most part. If you're not a Burton fan, you may rate the movie lower.