I’m not sure if I should talk about the film or my movie going experience.  I attempted to see Alice In Wonderland twice this weekend, but only succeeded once.  I guess I’ll discuss both if you don’t mind.

GB and I went on Saturday night to the 8pm showing thinking that if we skipped out on the 3D there would be nobody in the theater.  We were way off.  The theater was full of unruly kids and people on their cell phones.  We actually changed seats to get away from an extremely heavy smoker (he smelled awful), but ended up moving close to some movie-talkers.  We left 20 minutes into the movie after we couldn’t take the talking and the running up and down the aisles.  I felt like I was on the subway rather than at the movies.  It ruined the whole experience.

We picked a new theater on Sunday afternoon and it was a completely different experience (different part of town – more old people than kids).  I wasn’t excited about Alice to begin with so I figured I needed to be in the right head space and this was a much better start.

The movie opens with an 10 to 12-year-old Alice who can’t sleep because nightmares that find her falling down a rabbit hole.  Her dad puts her back to bed and tells her that she’s not mad (crazy), but it would be ok if she was because all the best people are mad.  I loved that line.  My whole attitude towards the film changed in those first 10 minutes.

Cut to several years later, Alice is now a teenager and on her way to a proper adult party with her mother.  Alice forgets to wear a corset and her mother accuses her of being improper.  I won’t give anything away but the story takes off after Alice sees a rabbit with a pocket watch in a garden and follows it down a rabbit hole (duh!).

It took me a minute to realize that Tim Burton was trying to tell a different story here.  Alice is not a little girl going to Wonderland for the first time; she is now a teenager going back to Wonderland.  This time the stakes are higher.  Alice is trying to find her place in this world among the madness that is Wonderland.  It’s the same story you grew up with but with more depth.

Mia Wasikowski is perfect as Alice and upstages Johnny Depp’s Mad Hater.  Burton’s Wonderland is magnificently constructed and all of the characters are identical to what you remember from your childhood.  My only problem with the film was Anne Hathaway as the White Queen.  For some reason her black eyebrows freaked me out among her all white costume.  That’s probably more of a me problem than anything else.

If you’re a Tim Burton fan or a fan of the original story, then go see this movie – just don’t go to Hollywood 27 here in Nashville on Saturday night.  The Red Queen’s dungeon is more appealing than that place.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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