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Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland – Fairy Tale with a New Twist

Published on: 8th March, 2010

(out of 5 starfish)

Published on La Jolla Light and We Chinese

By Perry S. Chen

What would the young Alice from “Alice in Wonderland” be like… 13 years later?  Faced with the challenges and issues of adult life, will she have time to retreat into the fantasy world of Wonderland?

Tim Burton’s new film adds a unique twist to the classic story.  It is about love, courage, sacrifice, dreams, and reality.

When 19-year-old Alice Kingsley is invited to a surprise party hosted for her own engagement, she sees a peculiar sight: a rabbit in formal clothing pointing to his watch and beckons her to join him.  She follows him down a large hole, and through many twists and turns, ends up in the land where all of her childhood dreams took place.  She finds out that the Red Queen had governed poorly and cruelly, giving death to all the people who did not follow her rules.

Alice must bring order to the land and make the Red Queen pay for her wrong doings.  In Wonderland, which is called “Underland” in the new film, Alice meets many strange creatures, such as the fat, argumentative twins Tweedledum and Tweedeldee, grotesque beasts such as Jabberwocky, a clown-like Mad Hatter with a crazy smile and red hair, a mysterious blue-striped cat who can disappear instantly, a wise Caterpillar who smokes, and two sibling rulers who are the exact opposite of each other.

A calendar scroll has not only what happened to the Underland, but foretells what will happen in the future, including an epic battle which makes Alice realize who she really is.

I can relate to Alice because I have a wild imagination too.  I made up many stories to share with my mom when I was in pre-school, including one with me being a spirit in the sky and breaking a magic teapot in order to come to the ground and finding my mom by recognizing her beautiful garden.  One of my favorite activities these days is still making and sharing stories with mom.

My two favorite characters are Alice and the Mad Hatter.  Alice has great imagination, just like her beloved diseased father “who could imagine six impossible things before breakfast.”  Alice said “Why don’t you just paint the white roses red” when her potential future mother-in-law wished she had red roses instead.  I like the Mad Hatter (played by Johnny Depp) because he is charming, loyal, and risked his life for Alice many times.

One of my favorite scenes is when the Bandersnatch, a giant, savage, muscular, snow leopard-like creative with claws as long as your hand licks Alice’s wounds that he made in an earlier fight.  I also like the scene that followed when Alice rides the Bandersnatch after taming him in an impossible gesture of forgiveness.

I give the film 4.5 out of 5 starfish.  I enjoyed the many unexpected yet believable scenes related to the character development.  I loved the stunning visuals and 3D effects that made the characters jump out of the screen in a riot of colors!  Meeting Tim Burton and Johnny Depp at the Disney D23 Fan Expo last September was a real treat.  The film has a powerful moral:

Imagination makes you discover who you truly are.

Copyright 2010 by Perry S. Chen


Perry Chen is an award-winning columnist, child movie critic, Annie Awards presenter, and radio talk show host of “Perry Previews the Movies” on  He has been featured on CBS Evening News, Fox, KUSI, San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego Family Magazine, San Diego Magazine, SDNN, Art Rocks! radio, The China Press, World Journal, etc.

Perry has been invited to numerous film festivals, awards shows, and movie premiers to interview prominent filmmakers such as Oscar-winning Pete Docter of Up, John Musker & Ron Clements of The Princess & the Frog, and walked on the red carpet.

Perry reviews films on a starfish rating system, 5 being the best.  His reviews are available on his website:

Listen to his radio show on

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