I was a bit disappointed by his re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland though. After watching it yesterday I read this bit from a Burton interview, where he says he never really felt a connection to the Lewis Carroll stories:
It was always a girl wandering around from one crazy character to another... [this film] is an attempt to really try to give “Alice in Wonderland” some emotional grounding that has never been in any version before...the attempt was to try and make Alice feel more like a story as opposed to a series of events.My reservations about the film come precisely from Burton’s need to make it “feel more like a story”. He’s taken a brilliantly abstract, hallucinatory tale and sharpened its edges, giving it a straightforward narrative arc – the arc of a Lord of a Rings-style fantasy, complete with the well-worn theme of the Little Hero rising (voluntarily, of course) to the daunting Big Task that must be performed so that the world can be saved.
Thus, in the final 20 minutes we have (a grown-up) Alice donning armour and setting out, vorpal sword in hand, for a drearily conventional one-on-one battle with the Jabberwock (who is, alas, forced to leave the pages of the stand-alone poem he has inhabited all these decades, recast as the Red Queen’s Ultimate Weapon, and made to look like an emaciated, generally less impressive cousin to the Balrog from The Fellowship of the Ring). This climactic fight went against the grain of everything I expected from an Alice in Wonderland film, even a re-imagined one. More to the point, it isn’t the sort of thing Burton does particularly well; seen even on its own terms, it wasn’t anywhere near as gripping as the battle sequences in Peter Jackson’s LOTR films. (Little wonder, for this material doesn’t lend itself to that sort of grandeur. Red and white playing cards as bloodthirsty foot-soldiers engaged in a fight to the death? Terrifying!)
Otherwise the film was very good to look at, as one would expect. I mostly liked watching it in 3-D (not having seen a 3-D film in years, and never one where the visuals were of this quality) even though the glasses were poky and hurt the bridge of my nose. Minus points to PVR on that front.
[An earlier post about the trickiness of adapting fantasy to the big screen]