Bottom line: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is a sequel story based on Lewis Carroll's books. Familiar characters come to life in rich imagery creating a movie that is visually beautiful and interesting for kids. Young children may be frightened by some of the creatures in the movie.
MPAA Rating: PG, for fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar
Guide Age Recommendation: 8 years +
Runtime: Approx. 108 minutes
Release Date: March 5, 2010
Alice in Wonderland - Overview
Now 19 years old, Alice remembers the Wonderland she once visited when she fell down the rabbit hole, but to her, it is all just a dream. In the real world, Alice has grown up and is now trying to find her place in it amid societal rules and the expectations of her friends and family. Just as Alice is put on the spot with an unwanted marriage proposal, who does she see but a white rabbit in a waistcoat. Alice does not resist the urge to follow the funny bunny, and before she knows it, she is right back in Wonderland, but this time, things have changed.
Determined she must be dreaming again, Alice meets familiar friends like Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Dodo, the March Hare and the Mad Hatter. As her Wonderland friends squabble about whether or not she is "The" Alice, Alice learns that the tyranical Red Queen has taken over Wonderland, actually Underland (she mistook the name when she came as a child), and that an oracle foretells that one day Alice will come to the aid of the Underland inhabitants and slay the Jabberwocky, the wicked beast which enforces the queens rule.
Alice isn't the slaying sort, and she remains true to her conviction that this is all just a dream for quite some time. But when the Mad Hatter is taken captive and the White Queen names Alice her Champion, things begin to get seriously real. Even with the help of all her eccentric friends, can Alice really hope to beat the Red Queen at her own game?
Alice in Wonderland - Guide Review for Parents
Tim Burton certainly brings Lewis Carroll's familiar and very unique characters to life in Alice in Wonderland. The movie paints a charming picture of, um, "Underland" that is rich in imagery and fabulous to look at. Unfortunately, the plot follows a predictable path that does not live up to nearly the same creative standard. Alice's journey is more likely to be intriguing and suspenseful for kids though, and they will enjoy the fabulously eccentric characters and colorful scenery, provided they are well old enough not to be too scared by numerous perilous situations and viciously scary creatures like the Bandersnatch and the Jabberwocky, or the slippery Knave of Hearts and his menacing red army.
The movie involves a considerable amount of fighting using various swords and like weapons as Alice journeys through Underland trying to help her friends. One creature is beheaded (no blood), and another has it's eye poked out, literally. Poor Alice must also overcome several wardrobe challenges as she grows and shrinks -- in the cartoon, her clothes grew and shrank with her, not so in the movie. In addition, the movie contains a some mild rude words and many references to madness or being crazy. Through all this madness and adventure, the story conveys a positive moral in Alice's story as she finds her "muchness" and determines to be who she is no matter what.
Alice in Wonderland - Content Overview*May contain spoilers.
- Violence (High): The Red Queen reigns in violence and terror, yelling "Off with his head!" whenever anyone gets in her way. The movie contains scenes with characters hitting each other and fighting using swords and like weapons, but there is minimal blood shown. The Knave of Hearts commands the Queen's menacing and scary looking Red Army, and the Knave hunts down Alice and others at the Queen's bidding. In one scene he pushes Alice up against the wall and threatens her. One creature is beheaded, another gets it's eye poked out, and one character is scratched by a vicious monster. Some animals are abused by the Red Queen, such as the animals she plays croquet with and the pig she puts her feet up on.
- Sex/Nudity (Medium): Alice finds her brother-in-law making out with a woman who is not his wife. She threatens to tell her sister. When the Knave pushes Alice against the wall, he comments that he likes "largeness".
- Drugs and Alcohol (Low): Absolem the Caterpillar smokes a hookah and is continuously blowing the steamy smoke in people's faces.
- Language (Low): A few rude words such as "stupid" are used.
- Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (High): The tyrannical Red Queen goes around shouting orders like "Off with their heads!" and uses others to accomplish her evil designs. Kids may want to imitate the Mad Hatter and his crazy ways, or the unstable March Hare who loves to throw things like teacups straight at others' heads. Some kids may also want to pretend to make potions like the White Queen.
- Scary Scenes (High): Content listed under "violence" may be scary or suspenseful to kids. Alice finds herself in many perilous situations that may be very frightening for young kids, beginning with her long and treacherous fall down the rabbit hole. She is chased by snarling beasts, cornered by the Knave and his army, forced to cross a mote on stones that look like human faces, and more.
- Sad/Unsettling Scenes (Medium): We meet Alice's father in a scene from her childhood, but when she is older, we find that he has passed away. In Wonderland, we find that the Knave is holding Bayard the dog's children and their mother captive and forcing Bayard to do their bidding.
- Topics to Discuss: After seeing the movie, kids may have questions about: death of a loved one, marriage proposals, cheating on one's spouse, hidden wonderlands, madness, insanity, tyranny, potions, slaying beasts.
Alice in Wonderland on Blu-ray
The Blu-ray version of Alice in Wonderland presents the wonderfully colorful film in brilliant High-def, and bonus features allow fans to get up close and personal with Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasilkowska and their work. While it is always interesting to get inside the minds of filmmakers and actors to find out the meaning and purpose behind movie-making and casting decisions, the Tim/Johnny/Helena trio is particularly fascinating due to their unique creativity and definitive style. Also, kids will love behind-the-scenes footage showing how some of the stunts and special effects in the film were done.