When we first meet our lead character, Alice, she's teaching a martial arts class, and one of her students is a fellow we soon learn is her boyfriend, Jack. Alice brings her beau to meet her mother, and we find out Alice has been searching for her father who has been missing for ten years, which seems to cause Alice to have some commitment issues with her boyfriends, including Jack. But Jack isn't the normal, loving boyfriend he appears to be. He's in trouble with some mysterious, dangerous people, and Alice gets unwittingly involved. A trip through a dimension-crossing mirror leads her to a strange world called Wonderland, but this ain't the place we've all seen in cartoons in picture books.
The environs of this weird Wonderland are a mix. As far as interiors, there's everything from grungy and industrial basements to retro casino-styled royalty chambers. The outdoor shots include some gorgeous natural landscapes, but for the most part it's unremarkable stuff. The screener version given to the press lacked most of the completed visual effects, so there's not much I can say on that.
When it comes to story and characterization, however, there's lot to say. The story in Alice is very different from the source material. One of the major story points of the original story was all the different things Alice had to consume, especially potions. In this world, the potions are replaced by vials of emotions that are sold like stocks and commodities. Forces from Wonderland basically steal people from our world to suck out their emotions and sell them as drugs, essentially. "Instant gratification" is the idea, and the Queen of Hearts keeps the citizens of Wonderland in line by giving them what they want, when they want it, and keeping the tools of knowledge (like books) away. But this plot element, which might have actually made for an interesting story, kind of takes a back seat in the overall storyline and its potential is never fully realized. It's quite disappointing.
Also disappointing is the fact that The Mad Hatter, one of the favorite characters of the original story, isn't really mad at all. He's more of a rogue and master of shady dealings, the Han Solo of this tale. He's not the only character that sees a dramatic revamp in this story. The March Hare, another character from the iconic tea party scene in the original story, is recreated as a cyborg assassin with a rabbit-shaped cookie jar for a head.
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