Greetings and Salutations, True Believers.

Having dubbed myself the Hatter, I found it only too appropriate that my first real review for this blog would be Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Now, I’ll preface this with the fact that I went into this movie with very, very low expectations. A favorite reviewer of mine had warned that it really wasn’t that great, so I wasn’t expecting much. What I actually got was, well, surprising.  But first, a little mood music, shall we?

Ah. Now to business. If you are a speed reader and really just want me to get to the meat of the issue, here’s your golden ticket: Alice in Wonderland was good. VERY good, in fact. For those of you who want tangible reasons why it was good, read on with this warning: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS! TURN BACK ALL YE WHO DON’T WANT THY MINDS SULLIED WITH DETAILED INFORMATION OF THE MOVIES PLOT!

Still here? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The movie starts in a way that pulled me in, by way of examining the personal life of the child Alice Kingsley. We see a shot of Alice’s father, a true trading visionary, trying to convince investors to help him establish across the ocean trading posts. In the midst of his speech, young Alice comes in, having woken from a troubled sleep. Exhibiting parenting skills not often found in business geniuses, Mr. Kingsley calls for a pause in the meeting to attend to his daughter. They share a touching moment, in which he gives a quote that will be used memorably more than once, something to the tune of”Yes, I’m afraid your mad. Absolutely bonkers, in fact. However, I’ll let you in on a secret: Almost everyone worthwhile is.”

Not only does this serve as a powerful device for us to be drawn into the characters, but it also sets the stage for several larger plot points, the biggest being that Alice believes her adventures in Wonderland to be all a dream. That comes up alot, later.

While were on the subject of plot, I’ll address one of the big arguments against the movie, namely that it doesn’t follow the plot of Alice in Wonderland. I beg the differ. To me, the movie is the natural continuation of the original plot. After all, it’s established quite well that the longer you stay in Wonderland, the madder you become. It only holds that what happens according to Burton would be a logical conclusion: The Red Queen goes bat-crap crazy and burns down her sister’s kingdom. Her paranoia becomes unstoppable, and her complexes about her beauty, her control, and her kingdom become more and more pronounced. Likewise, the Mad Hatter, seeing everything he loves slowly destroyed, develops a split personality between the silly hatter, and the insane warrior.

I must say that the technical work of this movie is nothing to scoff at, either. The Jabberwocky(the Red Queen’s trump card in every fight, essentially a Giant lightning-breathing dragon) is easily in my top 10 movie monsters, if only because I love the original poem it is drawn from so much. The story ties together seamlessly, and never seemed hard to follow for me. I know it may seem odd, but I really have NOTHING bad to say about this movie, other than I wish they had developed a couple of the side characters more. I really wanted to see more done with the March Hare, and the White Rabbit, since the feature so prominently in the book, and was a bit sad that the cook and the Duchess were nowhere to be seen. The only real travesty of the movie was that the Mock-turtle wasn’t there, though I held out hope after hope that he would show up. Ever since Gene Wilder played him the Mock-Turtle has been one of my favorite Alice in Wonderland characters, and it just seems like such a shame that he and the gryphon got the shaft from Burton.

However, other than the minor gripes listed above, the movie was perfect. The casting was well done, the score was beautiful, and the plot was well written. I especially enjoyed The Execution of the Mad Hatter, and the final battle(You thought this would end without a battle?) 9/10 teacups, easily.

The Mad Hatter gets a broadsword. Why are you still here? Go see the movie, if only for this image.