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Alice in Wonderland a disappointing trip down the rabbit hole 

Tim Burton's latest is visually stunning, but missing emotional weight.

“All the best people are mad,” is a motto in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. But is Burton himself becoming too status quo? The unique blend of warmth and rebellion integral to Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish and Ed Wood makes way for an artist performing to stupid expectations. His Alice in Wonderland is merely alright. Painting Lewis Carroll’s fantasy world in a palette of grey and red, 19-year-old Alice returns to the land she’d forgotten. Star Mia Wasikowska is the perfect awestruck photogenic Alice, yet like most of the characters (save Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen), the script barely gives her a pulse. The reawakening of Alice’s imaginative spirit---what would be the arc of this movie, if it were really about anything---is a mere background element. Oddly, it’s the real world opening scenes’ satiric play on a Jane Austen-style drama of manners that are most inspired. Only Alice’s climactic battle with the monstrous Jabberwocky carries emotional weight. The rest of it is painless, and painstakingly art directed. It’s just hard to watch Alice in Wonderland without wishing it were something more---more clever, more exciting and more touching.


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