Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, etc.
This was a difficult movie to review. While I enjoyed the film, my husband did not. But then I have rather bizarre tastes and the quirky nature and fantasized nature of the film rather suit those.
Not having read any further Alice stories other than the original Alice in Wonderland, I did find myself rather lost at first and had to try and stop trying to figure it all out and just enjoy the film. I did not overly care for the Alice character. While I like women to be strong, I found her just to be a tad too odd. For instance, she attended a garden party without proper undergarments and was extremely socially naive despite the fact that this had been her home all her life.
I didn't expect to like the Mad Hatter character as it seemed quite scary and odd in the previews but as usual Johnny Depp did an excellent job. Not only was it well done but he made it fit the storyline. It doesn't take a genius to see that there was more to his nonsensical sayings than mere silliness.
Helena Bonham Carter, an actress whom I admire quite a bit for her range in talent, did a great job playing the queen. Kind of made me think of Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth.
Like I said I enjoyed the fantastical part of the movie. My only real criticism of the film is the rating. The film is rated pg for "fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations and for a caterpillar smoking".
I really have to argue with their terminology. If this had been an animated film like Ice Age, then okay... it fits. But this is NOT an animated film. Yes, much of it is filmed in front of the so called blue screen (it's green, why do they call it blue?) but still, everything is depicted as realistic as possible.
The violence starts with a very scary beast chasing Alice and the animals. Alice gets attacked and wounded, a mouse actually stabs the beast and removes one of it's eyes. The Queen of Hearts has a moat around her castle filled with the heads of her decapitated victims. They look pale and stone like without blood but it is still a grizzly scene especially as Alice using them as a stepping stone to get to the castle and her foot even slips and falls into the mouth of one of the heads. Do you not think that is a trifle grizzly for an 8 year old? The White Queen practices witch craft using stumps of fingers and horse urine to make a potion. In the end, Alice has to fight a large dragon like creature, she cuts off it's tongue and then beheads it in a grizzly move that mimics a scene from LOTR where the Nazgul's beast gets it's head sliced off.
I realize that children are watching more and more violent shows these days. For example, a customer told me the other day that her 5 year old had watched Avatar and that it's his favourite film. ?!?! Alrighty then.
Still, my recommendation for this film is PG 13 - Minimum.