By Eric Villanueva ’11
Where can you play crochet with flamingos as putters and hedgehogs as balls, or have tea with a mad hatter and his equally batty talking animal friends?
Only in Wonderland, but there’s no need to fall down a rabbit hole to get there. Director Tim Burton brought Alice Kingsley and the magical world of the time-honored classic “Alice in Wonderland” to theaters Friday, March 5.
A sequel to the 1951 Disney animation, the live-action remake centers on as now 19 year-old Alice, played by Mia Wasikowska, who suffers from continual nightmares of grinning cats and blue caterpillars from her previous trip to Wonderland.
Like in many of his movies, Burton transforms the nightmare into dreamy wonderland.
Set in classical England, Alice, like her deceased but visionary father, rebels against the conservative formalities and expectations of the time and leaves her betrothed kneeling at their engagement party only to fall down a rabbit hole into Wonderland.
At the bottom, she learns she is prophesized to slay the feared Jabberwocky as champion for the free-loving White Queen, played by Anne Hathaway and to defeat the “Bloody” Red Queen (Helena Borham Carter), who favors frequent executions by decapitation.
To find her way home, Alice aligns with the Mad Hatter, brilliantly played by Johnny Depp who undoubtedly earned this role from his salty sea madness and sarcasm as Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Males will enjoy the “Lords of the Rings”-like CGI fighting, while females will find a role model in the strong, armor-clad heroine Alice; but will have to wait more than an hour and a half into the film for these attractions.
However, underneath the CGI creatures and battle scenes, the struggle between good and evil and Lewis Carroll’s original story, Burton layers on an extra message throughout the film, which really makes the movie desirable to see.
Throughout the adventure, Alice finds that in both England and Wonderland people have expectations of her, which she decides to challenge.
Alice teaches us to challenge societal expectations and to choose our own paths to follow.
The film also teaches us to dream big and strive for the impossible – at least six times before breakfast.
According to IMBD.com, “Alice in Wonderland” broke box office records for the month of March, IMAX openings and 3D debuts, passing “Avatar” with $116.1 million over the opening weekend.
Just make sure you don’t miss this very important date.
5 out of 5 stars