Tim Burton has dropped the Mad Hatter's "clean cup" bit from this adaptation of Lewis Carroll, though he does find time for a leaden narrative frame in which Alice, reimagined here as a young woman, is pressured by her family to accept the marriage proposal of a chinless goon. This trade-off is typical of the movie, which tolerates Carroll's sublime nonsense as long as it doesn't disrupt the dreary, film-school business of building suspense. (The heroine winds up clad in armor like Joan of Arc, leading the White Queen's forces into combat, which makes you wonder whether any studio these days will green-light a children’s fantasy unless it ends on the battlefield.) As usual with Burton, the visuals are much better than the story, and Carroll’s characters are richly realized—especially Tweedledum and Tweedledee, poster children for juvenile obesity, and the raving Red Queen, played with razor-sharp timing by Helena Bonham Carter. With Johnny Depp, Crispin Glover, and Anne Hathaway. PG, 108 min.
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