Alice in Wonderland (2010)

alice in wonderland poster 2010 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Helena Bonham Carter, Mia Wasikowska

Too much Johnny Depp

Movie Info

Movie Name: Alice in Wonderland

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Genre(s): Family/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  February 25, 2010 (Premiere)/March 5, 2010 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG

alice in wonderland mad hatter johnny depp

Wait…this isn’t Mad Hatter in Wonderland?

Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) finds herself growing up and being set-up for marriage to a man she doesn’t love.  When she runs away from the engagement party, Alice finds herself in the world of her childhood dreams.  The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) has demanded that Alice be brought to her and as she competes with her sister the White Queen (Anne Hathaway).  Alice could be the hero that the world needs if she can remember who she really is!

Directed by Tim Burton, Alice in Wonderland is a Walt Disney live-action picture.  The story is a sequel to the story presented Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and also borrowed aspects of 1871 sequel Through the Looking Glass.  The film was met with mixed reviews but a massive box office return.  It won Academy Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction with nominations for Best Special Effects.

I remember being excited about Alice in Wonderland when it was being released.  Tim Burton had been really up and down, and I thought Alice would be a good project for him.  I went into Alice in Wonderland with high hopes, but left disappointed.

alice in wonderland red queen helena bonham carter

Off with her head!

The largest problem with Alice in Wonderland is the story that ranges from clever to poor with little cohesion between the changes.  It starts out as a film about making decisions about adulthood and degrades into a dull and lifeless battle at the end.  The movie becomes a vehicle for the Mad Hatter played by Johnny Depp and his elevated character makes little sense in the course of the story.  The movie lacks a direction (is it about Alice? The Red Queen vs. the White Queen? The Mad Hatter?)…it just doesn’t flow.

I actually kind of like Mia Wasikowska as Alice.  The original Alice was indignant, flighty, and often rude.  Wasikowska’s portrayal of the character seems like what she would have aged to in the story.  The movie is hijacked from Alice by Johnny Depp’s Hatter who plays into the Johnny Depp weirdness.  Helena Bonham Carter is a scene stealer as the Red Queen but Anne Hathaway’s White Queen is less interesting.  Crispin Glover plays the Knave of Hearts while the movie also has voice work by Michael Sheen (White Rabbit), Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), Matt Lucas (Tweedledee/Tweedledum), Alan Rickman (Blue Caterpillar), and Timothy Spall (Bayard) among others.

alice in wonderland 2010 jabberwocky

Beware of the Jabberwocky!

Tim Burton seems like the perfect choice to bring Wonderland to life, but the movie comes off as a cheap rip-off of early Tim Burton films.  In its creation and look, it almost feels like a parody of what Burton used to be.  I like most of the character designs, but the movie doesn’t capture the whimsy of Wonderland that I think it needs.

Alice in Wonderland is a rather ho-hum family fantasy.  The movie drags and slogs its way to a bad-anticlimactic fight sequence.  I wanted and hoped for more from this movie (and you could argue that this movie helped start Disney’s live-action rehashing of their old properties).  The success of Alice in Wonderland led to a sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2016.

Related Links:

Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

The 83rd Academy Award Nominations

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Alice in Wonderland (1966)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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