Originally, Tim Burton's wild ride Alice in Wonderland was filmed in 2-D and converted to 3-D for theaters and big bucks. The new DVD is in 2-D. Presumably the 3-D version will come out later, but the loss isn't as much as you might think.
Burton has long been turning out visual trips, which the Lewis Carroll 19th-century hallucinatory novel lends itself to. It's a 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska), an odd young woman haunted by strange dreams and who is attending a lavish party where she is to be asked to be married by a nebbish lord. Her eventual tumble down the rabbit hole is less a flight of fancy than a flight from the stifling constraints of being a woman in Victorian England.
Once in Wonderland, the story — from screenwriter Linda Woolverton — takes from both Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. She meets the usual suspects, including Burton's paladin, Johnny Depp, playing — who else? — the Mad Hatter. Many of the characters reflect those at the party, giving a psychological dimension to Alice.
"Wait, this is my dream," she tells the animated Tweedledee and Tweedledum after she's been told she's not the right Alice. "I'm going to wake up now, and you'll all disappear."
Never miss a local story.
But trauma runs deeper than that in Burton's film, a combination of CGI and live action. Unlike the brightly colored 1951 Disney version of Wonderland, this one has more in common with Burton's darker, nightmarish visions, like Sweeney Todd or Sleepy Hollow. There is madness and cruelty everywhere. The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) strangely resembles Bette Davis as Elizabeth I, with her oversized head and a red heart painted on her mouth.