What kind of fool parent takes a sensitive 5 year old girl to Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland' for a March Break treat?
(1950's Housewife tentitively raises hand to tutting from the audience)
OK, OK so it wasn't the wisest of cinematic choices. But when your daughter begged to go to the cinema as a treat and the two choices are 'Alvin and the Chipmunks 2 -Let's Give Mum a Migraine' or scaring your offspring witless with Johnny Depp and some dodgy highlighted hair, then there is no choice. One of us was going to have nightmares and I decided it wouldn't be me.
And possibly, just possibly, making her see it in an IMAX theatre in 3-D was also not sensible. Tim Burton could not work out if this was a film for children or adults so it was a bit like watching a Disney film crossed with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
My daughter held up well, fuelled by a vast bucket of popcorn, until poor Alice had to climb across corpses mouldering heads to reach the Red Queens castle. Even Anne Hathaway's white queen brought no relief for us - she made a potion, not from fairy dust, but whithered severed fingers.
By the time the Jabberwocky's head bounced down the stairs my daughter was curled up in foetal position on my lap, unsettled, mewling but refusing to leave.
Was it a good film for adults? Erm, not great. I found it to be a strange mixture of dullness and frenetic activity. Alice was bland in a flouncy dress at the beginning, her journey took her to a place where she was able to be bland in armour.
Tim Burton has a signature style of gothic curiousness, but one day I would just like to see him try and film a common or garden cop movie with Bruce Willis. Alice in Wonderland was recycled Edward Scissorhands, crossed with The Nightmare Before Christmas crossed with more than a bit of Sweeney Todd (boy does Tim love his bouncing heads.)
He is clearly deeply in love with Johnny Depp, not so much so with his wife Helena Bonham-Carter. The camera lingered on Johnny Depp at every opportunity. Poor Helena was quite marvellous as the Red Queen, but at some point she should give in to the fact that no matter how ugly her husband makes her in each film, she is beautiful.
Matt Lucas was a small beacon of light as Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
All in all, I would not recommend this film to parents with children under 8. And in the same breath, I would not recommend this film to parents, unless you have had a couple of gins first and have a bit of a snooze.