I am not uniformly convinced by the genius of Tim Burton, particularly with regard to Johnny Depp. I tend to think they do extremely well together in the melancholy range. Both Edward Scissorhands and Sweeney Todd are absolutely magnificent, but I found his anticness in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory offputting. I’d been turned off by the early trailers for Alice in Wonderland, which put Depp as the Mad Hatter firmly back in that antic, high-pitched, eccentric range. But the most recent trailers have finally convinced me to be quite excited about the movie:
I really like the idea of giving Alice agency, and of giving her a backstory. The idea that Alice is coming back to Wonderland (though is she, really?) is an intriguing continuation. But I also really like the idea of Wonderland as a destination, an escape from the stultifying possibilities of marriage in Victorian England. The gentry who are lined up, blocking Alice’s escape, waiting for her response to that marriage proposal, look like the Red Queen’s troops. But in Wonderland, Alice can take up arms to oppose them. I like that.