There is a lot about Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland
that's curiouser and curiouser, but just not much "muchness." It is a phantasmagorical fever dream that is both absorbing and banal. Burton has always embraced the sentiment behind Alice's query, "What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?" There is wonder in the film's unrelenting visual design, comic spark and intriguing voice work — particularly impressive is the trippy cool of Rickman and Fry, while Christopher Lee is instantly recognizable as the Jabberwocky's resonant baritone. But, it is a sense of awe not shared by the surprisingly aplomb Alice. Burton's 3D pictorial of a young woman's arrested development and reluctant embrace of adulthood belies the fact that Alice's entire time underground is spent having one creature after another tell her where to go and what to do. The pleasingly zany spectacle of it all comes at the expense of the story's soul.