I was very excited when I stumbled upon the trailer by accident on YouTube. One of my all time favourite Disney films, finally remastered into 3D, with Depp as one of the main characters.
But I was in for some surprises.
The movie is not a re-imagination of the story, and though as much as Tim claims it is not a sequel, it’s not a self-contained story either. It’s taken for granted that any human being who is likely to go watch the movie has prior knowledge of Alice and all the characters that are involved in the story, so the 2010 film does very little in re-introducing the characters and does even less in character development, except for Alice, the Red Queen, and the Hatter.
As far as the story goes, Alice this time around is older and, odd marriage theme aside, has to slay the Red Queen’s pet the Jabberwocky and return the crown to the White Queen. It’s literally as simple as that, but the journey is still entertaining though there are some questionable design elements. The gore, specifically, is an odd addition to the story. Though there is no blood, you will get to see chopped heads, chopped fingers, and pins thrust into eyeballs – several times. These elements contrast heavily with the humour derived from the former Disney’s flick as well as the humorous character designs.
The new Underland is a wasteland of its former self, but the art direction is truly fantastic. It’s quite clear that the overall tone of the film is more mature than the cartoon, especially the Red Queen’s struggle of being ugly but has the need to be loved. In all honesty I felt terribly sorry for her, and the story goes all the way of punishing her for that (but of course she was doing it in the wrong way).
The movie, however, is a bit better than the sum of its parts, and while some elements don’t really add up, it’s taken for granted that the familiarity with the characters, the nostalgia, the art direction and seeing Cheshire Cat’s grin again is what you will likely be taking with you out of the movie by the time it ends.