Alice in Wonderland (2010)

  • Review Date: March 4, 2010
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 109 minutes

Common Sense Media says

All-new 3-D Alice story is trippy and intense.
  • Review Date: March 4, 2010
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 109 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The Red Queen's cruelty, jealousy, and insecurity end up costing her everything, proving that she's wrong when she asserts that it's "better to be feared than to be loved." Alice and her Underland friends are all loyal to each other and to the cause of overthrowing the evil Red Queen -- all are willing to make sacrifices to ensure that the Red Queen is defeated. Alice confirms the belief that to dream, to believe in the impossible, to believe in your own abilities and potential, is actually a very wise thing to do.

Positive role models

Alice, like all heroes, must learn to believe in herself to finally defeat the Jabberwocky and save Underland from the tyranny of the Red Queen. She's an excellent example to young girls, because she doesn't follow her sister and mother's advice to rely on her looks to land a high-class husband. Instead, she trusts her instincts and confronts her fears to emerge a powerful champion, a defeater of evil, a friend and ally to an entire world. And when she returns to regular London, she makes a decision that goes against cultural norms of her day, but that is ultimately much better for her future.

Violence

The Red Queen is quite bloodthirsty and frequently sentences people to death, yelling "Off with their heads!" She makes comments like "I love morning execution, don't you?" and sends scary creatures to do her bidding. A scary dog-like creature called the Bandersnatch suddenly attacks, chasing and pouncing on the Tweedle twins. Since these sequences are in 3-D, they're especially intense. There's a moat filled with cut-off heads and potions filled with severed fingers. People are scratched and nearly killed, an executioner is shown about to lower the axe on someone, and in the end, a creature is decaptitated.

Sex

Alice catches her brother-in-law kissing a woman who's not his wife; Alice and Hamish dance, and he proposes to her. The Knave of Hearts pushes an overgrown Alice against a wall and says he likes her, because he likes "largeness." The Red Queen acts smitten with the Knave of Hearts.

Language

Mild taunts and insults like "imbeciles," "idiots," "bloody" (in the British sense), "stupid," "big head," "lunatic," and "fat."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Absalom the smoking caterpillar does just that -- smoke a hookah -- in three different scenes. The Red Queen and her court seem to drink something that looks like wine at a meal. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland might be rated PG, but it's pretty intense and scary at times for younger kids, especially because it's in 3-D. This trippy adaptation -- in which Alice is a young adult -- includes some fantasy violence with scary monsters that attack people, a cruel Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) who frequently sentences people to death, and a climactic battle scene between sword-brandishing humans, animals, and beasts. Some parents might want to know that a caterpillar (played by Alan Rickman) smokes a hookah, but this is as Lewis Carroll depicted the character. The language includes taunting insults like "stupid," "imbecile," "idiot," "bloody," and the like, and the sexuality is limited to one kiss between a married man and another woman and some aggressive flirting.

Parents say

What's the story?

As the story opens, Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) is seven and a half and admits to her father that she thinks she's gone around the bend because she keeps dreaming about falling down a rabbit hole into another world. Thirteen years later, a now fatherless 19-year-old Alice finds herself being publicly proposed to until she excuses herself to run away and winds up following a rabbit -- you got it -- down a hole that leads to Underland, a magical place where she's asked again and again if she's THE Alice. Her new acquaintances, who include a white rabbit (voiced by Stephen Fry), a Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), a chain-smoking caterpillar (Alan Rickman), and roly poly twins Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (Matt Lucas), reveal that if she IS the "right" Alice, she's destined to slay the evil Jabberwocky (Christopher Lee), defeat the bloodthirsty, big-headed Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), and restore the peace-loving White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to power. To do the seemingly impossible, Alice must accept that Underland isn't a figment of her imagination and fulfill her destiny.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Lewis Carroll purists will scoff at the aging of his curious young protagonist, but then again, purists are incredibly difficult to please. Not so with most movie audiences, who, coming down from the dazzling landscapes of the 3-D universe James Cameron conjures in Avatar will be treated to yet another colorful world that makes the glasses worth putting on, for a change. Tim Burton's Alice doesn't have the wide-eyed wonder of the seven-year-old Alice, because well, she's a bit jaded and thinks her adventures in the offbeat land are just part of an elaborate dream from which she'll eventually awaken. It's her second time to Underland ("Wonderland" is what her silly younger self apparently called it), but she can't remember her earlier adventure. The story does seem, as other critics have suggested, a bit too similar to the search for the One True Ring, but so what? A nearly 20-year-old doesn't need a chess game and nursery rhymes, she needs a purpose to propel her courage. So that's what screenwriter Linda Wolverton provided the older Alice -- a way to discover her true nature in a mad, mad world.

Wasikowska is a golden-haired vision (she looks like a young combination of Cate Blanchett and Gwyneth Paltrow) of adolescent girl power. She doesn't need to be affianced to a stuffy, weak-chinned "Lord," and she's spectacularly brave while remaining a subtle, soft-spoken, self-assured young woman. What's so charming about the story is that Alice is like the wise caterpillar, about to transform into something else entirely. Even the cold-hearted Red Queen isn't purely evil. Her (literal) big-headedness has made her awfully insecure, and because of that she delights in inflicting pain on others. Bonham Carter is, as always, brilliant as the petty and jealous sovereign who really just wants to cuddle up with her head henchman Stayne (Crispin Glover, obviously delighting in playing the creep again). And then there's Depp, who at this point must share half a brain with Burton. His Hatter is bonkers all right, but he's also funny, self-sacrificial, and courageous. There's no one else who could've played the part, because Depp is a master at portraying loopy men you just can't help but love.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Alice's nonconformist attitude. How does she buck cultural expecations? In what ways does her adventure in "Underland" change Alice?

  • What do you think about Mr. Kingsleigh, and later Alice's adage that "all the best people" are a bit "mad"? What do you think the Mad Hatter means that things are only impossible if you believe them to be?

  • The Red Queen is cruel but sad. What are some reasons she's so mean? Are there compelling reasons to be angry at her younger sister, the White Queen?

  • Those familiar with the Lewis Carroll books: Compare this version with the original source and other adaptations. Do you like this Alice as a much older heroine?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 5, 2010
DVD release date:June 1, 2010
Cast:Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska
Director:Tim Burton
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Book characters
Run time:109 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.

This review of Alice in Wonderland (2010) was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byFantasyMan April 8, 2010
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Great movie. I will be buying the DVD

Loved it so much had to see it twice. The second time in 3D. Really fun movie and that is why I love fantasy's. Others bore me and this kept me entertained. A bit too slow in the beginning but they had to set the story. The colors are so vibrant they jump out at you, in both 2D and 3D. Very good plot. I was half expecting another over the top Tim Burton story and his overdone(boring) horror plots and characters but this was a very pleaseant surpirse. I believe he was meant to make this movie and it shows what he can be capable of if he gets serious. Great casting and humorous moments intertwined helped make it very enjoyable. All actors did a great job but I have to say I was most impressed with the head henchman to the Red Queen, Stayne (Crispin Glover.)
Parent of a 7 year old Written byjaywdet March 7, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

7 year old:

Quote from my 7 year old boy: "I think Disney's Alice in Wonderland is WAY better." This movie frightened my 7 year old. This is a kid who begs to watch Star Wars movies, and Ben 10 alien force. He watches Scooby Doo as well and isn't clueless when it comes to monsters in movies, and cartoons. I regret taking him and should have known better, since this is a Tim Burton movie. As for adults, there is plenty of eye candy, but that is about it. The story is boring. There is one message or theme in the movie, that isn't uncommon for Burton, and in my opinion is inappropriate. This is the idea that it's a virtue to be 'a little off your rocker', odd, strange, etc. Nothing wrong with many counter culture movements, but before you start filling kids heads with ideas about why 'its good to be part of the strange crowd', let's help them understand why being part of mainstream culture, is important. This theme is pretty blatant in my opinion as Alice is being asked to adhere to a stringent aspect of her culture. While we applaud her rejection of this, we should not so because she is 'weird or different', or above the rest, or because she is a counter culture champion. This wasn't Burton's intent. I believe he wanted to show Alice as an individual, who was strong and made her own decisions, and didn't abandon her culture in rebellion. However, this is the point, a 7 year old won't see it this way, he sees that "weird is cool", "insane is OK". Most 15 year olds will have a hard time pulling Burton's intent out of this movie. They'll take the "weird" and leave the rest behind.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 8 and 15 year old Written bymommalaurie March 16, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Just like the book, this movie is dark, strange, and wonderful!

I loved this movie! And if I had to choose who the director would be, Tim Burton is the only one that should have been on the list. The movie, just like the book, is dark, strange and wonderful! 3D only makes it even more mysteriously fun!! BUT I agree it is not appropriate for very young children. I also think kids between 7-9 should read the book before seeing the movie.

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