At 19, Alice Kingsleigh(Mia Wasikowska) is a free spirited girl who questions and opposes anything that she doesn’t believe in. Since childhood, she has recurring dreams about animals and strange lands. At present, Alice is asked to attend a garden party at Lord Ascot’s estate. After reaching the estate, Alice comes to know that she is going to be engaged during the party. She is unsure about the suitor. Just when the suitor asks for her hand in marriage, she notices a white rabbit in the garden wearing a waistcoat. She chases the rabbit and falls down into a hole.
Alice has fallen into the Underland and finds the White Rabbit(voice of Michael Sheen), the Dormouse, the Dodo and the twins – Tweedledum and Tweedledee - there. The group is constantly debating if she is the right Alice. In order to be sure, all of them goes over to Absolem(voice of Alan Rickman) the Caterpillar smoking an hookah. Absolem declares Alice as the wrong Alice.
Despite being the wrong person, Alice still gets entangled in the power struggle between two sisters – Red Queen(Helena Bonham Carter) representing evil and the White Queen(Anne Hathaway) representing good. During this quest, she crosses swords with Knave of Hearts(Crispin Glover) and gets help from Mad Hatter(Johnny Depp) and the Chesire Cat(voice of Stephen Fry).
Tim Burton directs this fantasy which combines live action with animation. The characters and the main storyline of the 2010 Alice in Wonderland are based on Lewis Caroll’s novels. Tim and his team has altered the story to narrate a more edgier story of good versus evil and a girl finding self. His characters and backdrop look weird; but still manages to surprise and enamor us with his imagination. The film features mostly actors from UK. CGI deserve a special mention. While all the characters keep their initial size, Alice keeps changing sizes through out the movie – normal, big and small. This is a challenging task for the director and also the CGI team.
Helen Bonham Carter as Red Queen is fantastic. She is a paradox where her love is evident while interacting with Knave of Hearts and the hatred with everyone else! Watch her transformation during the her interactions with Knave of Hearts and her callous attitude when she interacts with her sister White Queen! Johnny Depp impresses us with his portrayal of Mad Hatter. Mad Hatter is righteous and eccentric. At the same time, he longs for company.
Two other delightful performances happen off-screen. We hear only their voices – Alan Rickman’s and Stephen Fry’s. Alan and Stephen uses tone of the voices and effective pauses in order to generate suspense. This also makes us listen intently to the proceedings. In spite of animation, we are mesmerized by their voices.
Entertaining. Watch it on the big screen.