When I first heard about this film, who was directing it, and who were playing the parts, I thought this film would finally end all of the attempts at making the best Alice in Wonderland movie. Sadly, it did not live up to these expectations. This story by Lewis Carroll was one of the first books put to film in 1903, and so far the best version done yet is the original Disney film done all the way back in 1951. The original Alice in Wonderland whimsically and intelligently drifts one off to this dream world full of allegories, beauty, and cruelty, and it stands as one of the crowning achievements of animated movies for its depth and whit. It may not be the most entertaining of all of Disney's films for children, but adults may find the subtle hints of themes from the original story which explain why this piece has endured for so long. Now, onto Burton's average remake of this great film. Well, first off, it is not a remake, but rather a sequel loosely based on the original stories by Carroll. The difficulty with Carroll's story is the incoherent form of the original which creates a piece more enveloped in allegory and themes than plot. Burton and modern Disney, on the other hand, thought dumbing down the original tale and adding actions sequences would make it better for today's audiences so Disney could make money. The basic plot is the now 20 year old Alice (played by an actual 20 year old Mia Wasikowska, which is rare to have proper age casting in modern film) must be married to some lordly loser because he is a noble. When the engagement ceremony is going on, she sees the White Rabbit and runs off with it to avoid saying 'I do'. Once down the rabbit hole, she is told she must kill the Jabberwocky (which is some dragon thing voiced by Christopher Lee for three lines) on Frabjous Day because it is foretold on some scroll I cannot remember the name of. And thus, hijinks ensue. I won't explain the rest of the plot because everything stated at the beginning happens, which is one of the biggest problems with this film. In the original Alice in Wonderland, be it the book or the Disney film, you have no idea what will happen next, which adds an element of surprise and creates cliff-hangers. At every moment in this film, where they could have steered the plot into bold new directions, they did not. So, in the long run, it creates a somewhat boring film. The wonderful art-house and traditional special effects Burton was so known to have disappear in this massive budgeted movie. There were multiple scenes where CGI was not necessary in this film, but they did it anyway, which created a slight annoyance within those scenes. The other problem is the art crew could not seem to decide whether a hyper-realistic look or cartoon look for the film would be best, so the attempt at combining both in this movie often times falls flat. The themes in this film convolute themselves in the laziness of the screenwriters' script. They touch at the ideas of what is reality and fate versus free will, but almost no time is spent on it and both ideas are sacrificed for the mediocre plot. The greatest issue with these themes is this world turns out to be reality and fate pulls through in the end. The screenwriter must not have wanted to tackle such great problems in man's existence even though being given some of the best material possible to do so. And, considering I somewhat spoiled the already guessable plot, the ending contains one of the laziest and dumbest endings I've seen in a while for a film which should be of such high caliber. After Alice saves Wonderland (oh, I forgot to mention that they changed the name from Wonderland to Underland [which is bloody stupid]) by putting the righteous queen in power and the abdicating the wicked queen, she returns back to the normal world and decides to 'trade' with China to go in her father's footsteps. Why would the writers do this? You make Alice save one realm to enslave another? Though this is a minor point, I just wanted to bring it up because they could have made her set up an orphanage or done some form of venture to help the poor, which also at that point in history would be considered near-impossible. So, what is the redeeming factor of a film with a mediocre plot, poor art design, and messed-up morals? The acting from Johnny Depp is the saving grace of this film, along with a decent job from the cast all-around. In this picture, they seem to be the only people taking this seriously while the new Disney simply wanted a cash-cow. The Mad Hatter was done terrifically (though sometimes hard to understand,) and I must give kudos to one of the few men who could do it. Mia isn't given the ability to show off enough acting talent in this film because of the lazy screen-writing, but the rest of the characters play their roles with extraordinary finesse. So, is this film worth seeing? In the movie theaters at the price tickets are today, no. Catching it on DVD if you are interested? Yes. If you were on the fence with this piece, don't watch it because it will probably be a waste of time. When it comes to parental viewing, some of the scenes are violent (such as the Jabberwocky being decapitated,) but 10 year olds should be able to take it. All of the other parts of the film are not extreme. And so, the search goes on for the final iteration of a live action Alice in Wonderland.