‘Alice’s’ new ‘Wonderland’

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By Stephanie Holland / Editor in Chief

By Stephanie Holland / Editor in Chief

As far as fairy tales go, “Alice in Wonderland” is the most surreal and abstract story ever told. Those elements make it perfect for director Tim Burton to put his modern spin on it.

In this latest incarnation, Alice is returning to Underland following her father’s death. She is unsure of her future and uses the experience to help discover her true self.

Up and coming actress Mia Wasikowska plays Alice, now 19 years old, as she returns down the rabbit hole.

As is the case with most Burton films “Wonderland” is a trip into the unreal unknown. Many of the roles are portrayed by actors in unconventional ways, whether it be through voiceovers, make-up or special effects.

Nothing is ever what it seems in Underland.

Frequent Burton collaborator Johnny Depp is the eccentric Mad Hatter. This role appears to be tailor made for Depp. He is allowed the freedom to head full steam into his quirkiest part yet. While The Mad Hatter is known for his eccentricities, he is also quite an emotional character, which allows Depp to showcase the full range of his talent.

This is Burton and Depp’s seventh film together so there’s a comfort level that translates to the screen.

Another Burton favorite, Helena Bonham Carter, portrays the The Red Queen. Bonham Carter seems to be attacking this character with all the wicked gusto that she brought to the role of Bellatrix Lestrange in the “Harry Potter” films. While she is known now for playing eccentric characters, Bonham Carter started her career working in period dramas. This style comes in handy as The Red Queen is completely crazy and classically royal at the same time.

Portraying her sister The White Queen is Anne Hathaway. The White Queen comes from the same dark place as her sister but, she recognizes it and trys hard to keep those wicked tendencies in check.

Joining in all the ridiculous fun as the rest of the assorted “Wonderland” characters are Crispin Glover as The Knave of Hearts, Michael Sheen as The White Rabbit, Stephen Fry as The Cheshire Cat and Alan Rickman as The Caterpillar.

The cast also includes stage and screen legends like Christopher Lee, Lindsay Duncan and Michael Gough.

Because this film is derived from such imagination rich source material, Burton is able to mine his creative abilities for a visually interesting movie. The film appears colorful and full of interesting angles making it completely different from anything else currently in theaters.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, screenwriter Linda Woolverton spoke about adding her own touches to such a familiar story.

“First of all I wasn’t going to try to redo Lewis Carroll and that particular version,” Woolverton said. “In my mind, it was interesting to ask ‘What if Alice was older and she went back?’ That was why I engaged this project at all. That idea and the challenge of it.”

Woolverton was also aware that some of the fans of the original story may be offended by the differences in this new version.

“I can only say at this point that I was trying to recreate his work,” Woolverton said. “I hope that the movie inspires children who haven’t read the books to go back and read the books.”

For fans of the story of Alice and her friends’ adventures through Underland, this new film it hoping to provide a different perspective from which to view the story as well encourage them to become more familiar with Carroll’s original masterpiece.

“Alice in Wonderland” opens in regular theaters and in 3-D on Marc 5.

 

 

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