I saw Alice in Wonderland on opening weekend, and after giving myself a couple weeks to think, process and think some more, I've come to this conclusion: I was supremely disappointed. On almost every level.
The only exception I can think of off-hand is costuming. Colleen Atwood, you did a truly amazing job. Alice's outfit in the Red Queen's court was inspired and made my inner Goth Lolita squee. (Side note: Ms. Atwood's styling is one of the best reasons to see Memoirs of a Geisha as well. This woman's ability to dress a production can totally make up for a director phoning it in.)
Disney's 1951 animated Alice in Wonderland terrorized me as a child. Wonderland was a world where anything could happen, usually the thing you hoped wouldn't. It's citizens were cold, sinister and insane. Even those who were seemed begnin or friendly enough weren't opposed to harming Alice in some way or another. Burton's characters didn't have that menacing insanity that always kept you on your toes.
The story line was weak and cliched, the actors seemed lost or underused, and the 3D should have been abandoned. It simply wasn't wacky enough. But perhaps my biggest disappointment was Wonderland itself. CGI and plastic-looking, it was all very generic. And for the man who built such bizarre lands as Halloween Town, Betelgeuse's bureaucratic land of the dead, or even the frighteningly symmetrical suburbia of Edward Scissorhands, it was all very tame.
But even despite these recent disappointments, I remain a total Burton fangirl. I fully plan on visiting his MOMA exhibit when I make it to New York at the end of the month, and I was thrilled to see Burton plans on taking on the Addams Family. And returning to his stop motion animation roots! I'm really psyched to see what he does with America's favorite family of murderers, misfits and freaks.
In the meantime, I think I'll enjoy SyFy's Alice while I wait.