OMG! OMG! OMG! I was super psyched when I found out Tim Burton was directing the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. I am a huge Burton fan and lover of Johnny Depp's amazing acting. Helena Bonham Carter..... pretty amazing in her own right. I have yet to watch a Tim Burton film and not be instantly in love with it. This one was no different. Well, that is not entirely true. I may actually like Alice Through the Looking Glass better than the first one. It was so amazing visually. I loved everything from costumes, music, set design, to the characters themselves.
I have always loved these stories from the time I was little. I own hardback copies of each that are so worn out from readings that the cover art is barely noticable. Hollywood has a way of taking a favorite book and adapting it to film that a majority of the time changes so much about the original context that it is almost unrecognizable. The beauty of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass is that these are not the average "fairy tale". There are certainly fantastical creatures and wonderment but the story is also very dark and even somewhat scary in parts. This is exactly why Tim Burton was hands down the perfect director for these film adaptations. He is a master at taking something odd and dark and making it into your greatest dream and worst nightmare all at the same time. His choice in cast is always spot on. Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Sacha Baron Cohen, and of course the late, great, Alan Rickman. Need I say anymore?
I love that the scenes were so drastically different in Wonderland versus London. In the "real world" the colors, people, and clothes almost seemed one dimensional. Alice is surrounded by a lot of dark gray skies, very unemotional people, and even the party scene seemed very doom and gloom. This is so perfect to set the mood. Alice has returned from a long but wonderful journey to China and is excited to share all that she has learned and seen. She returns to an unhappy Mother forced to sell her deceased Husband's ship and company to be able to live. The jilted, ex-fiance who now wants nothing more than to take everything Alice has away while reminding her of all she could have had with him. There is also the little matter of being committed to an insane asylum. The scenes are pretty lackluster and dare I say......depressing. Then when she is in Wonderland everything is over the top. Vibrant colors, fantastic creatures,and interesting clothing. These scenes are so energetic and over the top that you can't help but be sucked in like a moth to a flame. There are certainly dark and dangerous things happening in Wonderland but the drama and excitement just leap off the screen and grab a hold of you and pull you in.
This is a must watch film and one of the best of the year, in my opinion, so far.