I am a fan of Tim Burton and I am a fan of Johnny Depp. I like Carroll's surrealistic world of Alice; the idea, the book, the cartoon version, Svankmajer's version and other versions and other derivations of that particular fantastical world. I am not a huge fan of Danny Elfman, but I recognize his talent. I am not a huge fan of 3D movies but I usually enjoy them. So what in the world happened with Burton's version? It is probably one of Burton's worst movies and Depp's least attractive roles. Even the soundtrack is outdated and it seems like it is targeted for 13 year-olds emo kids. Plus, the epic music score is extremely exhausting and does not compliment the imagery and the mood throughout the movie.
Of course, the story is adapted to the modern teenage world. Alice is older and is going through a difficult time adapting to her family and society. She is a rebel, but she has no character. She is not good enough to lead that world in which she is put in. Unlike other versions of Alice, she is not as curious, she is just desperate, she is not innocent and naive, and therefore the fantasy world in which she is put is not as attractive as it used to be. Linda Woolverton, (screenplay for The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast) changed the essence of the story. It tries too hard to be contemporary and it may be, but only to a small niche of people. I found it hard to relate to any character, and I found it hard to like any of the characters. Even though some were incredibly designed, their aesthetic attributes were buried under their badly though-out personalities.
I have to recognize the complexity of the film, and how difficult it must be to direct it. I also think there are some very attractive visuals, although not completely stimulating. The 3D experience was not a plus. I remember being in the theatre and trying to find excuses to like the film, but I quit doing that as the movie got closer to the end. The ending, well, it is one of the most disappointing endings I have ever seen. Action chess? It is just terrible and left a bitter aftertaste, especially after all that wait because of the marketing. I enjoyed the trailers more than the actual movie. I look still forward for Burton's next work, I wish it is more personal.