I'm not a fan of Tim Burton. I think he tries way too hard anymore to be "weird". I think that his "weirdness" isn't that "weird" and his films often bore me to tears. That said, he also directed one of my favorite films of all-time, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. In that last decade or so, though, his work has become stale. The same old tricks just don't work anymore. And it seems that ever since his 1999 film Sleepy Hollow he's been obsessed with using computers to achieve the look of his films. How ironic is it that this is when the quality of his films began to deteriorate?
For some reason, this isn't really the true Alice in Wonderland story. It's a sequel to nothing, essentially, as Alice has been "down the rabbithole" already. I don't really get why that was necessary, but, then again, I don't really get why the movie itself was necessary, either. After so many retellings of this story, don't we get it by now? Was the point of this movie really to improve upon the story or was it just an excuse to put Johnny Depp in the ugliest makeup I've ever seen? Did he really need to look like that? If you've seen a poster for this film, you only get an idea of how ugly he really looks, because the people in marketing scaled back the computer-generated bulging of his eyes and creepy smile that he dons throughout most of the movie. It's hideous, as is most of the movie.
I should note that the scenes which take place in the "real world" are well-shot and, for the most part, gorgeous. I can honestly say that it's some of the best cinematography in a Tim Burton film in ages and, I'll go out on a limb on this one, some of the best-looking period piece material I've seen in a few years. It is once Alice makes her descent that the film starts to look like neon diarrhea and never looks back.
Like I said, Tim Burton just tries too hard to be weird. And for what? This is a story that is already weird, and in an insurmountably greater way. His revisioning just wasn't necessary in this case, the same way it wasn't necessary when he "revisioned" Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Planet of the Apes.
By the way, the Red Queen, with the giant forehead and putrid makeup? That's Helena Bonham Carter, who just so happens to be Tim Burton's wife. Who on Earth would do that to their loved one? Then again, I think Johnny Depp is his best friend or something, so, who knows? Maybe Tim Burton's way of saying "I love you" is to make you the ugliest thing imaginable.