Latest Alice in Wonderland Trailer: What's Up With the Newer, Darker Disney?
The latest trailer for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland arrived on the scene this morning, 48 hours ahead of its 3-D IMAX introduction ahead of Avatar. And for once, we're getting a look at the true scope and feel of the thing -- which is to say, Johnny Depp doing a ton of mugging against a fittingly sprawling, doleful Burtonian canvas. It's not as bad as it sounds.
The previous Alice trailers largely only teased Depp's Mad Hatter and Helena Bonham Carter's Red Queen, a couple of outsized physical freaks who get the full run of the show this time around. Mia Wasikowska's Alice may not get as much as a word in edgewise, though she does get the full-on heroine treatment in her frock, battle armor and messianic call-outs from the Wonderland natives. But mostly it's a traditionally flouncy, arty tableau once more selling Burton's eye, Depp's shapeshifting, Danny Elfman's ear, etc.
There is a certain edge that Disney itself has brought to the proceedings as well. This latest trailer is almost its own reaction to Avatar, depicting a movie with its own seamless hybrid of animation and live-action -- a promise and plea, really, that viewers will be glad they didn't overlook Alice in the long blue tail of Cameron's masterpiece. You could see the same black, existential dread anchoring last week's Sorcerer's Apprentice trailer as well. Is this how the Rich Ross regime will be pushing and/or developing Disney's wares? Not that I mind; it's fascinating (at least from a historical perspective), looks good and has a little more emotional currency with the times.
Disney's whole mission has always been to eschew that relationship, however. Fantasy that this is, and good vs. evil fight that it portends, it echoes its title character's intransigence. "Jim Cameron can have his candy-colored Pandora," the pitch seems to say. "For sheer ambition, imagination and contemporary sensibility, Tim Burton's Wonderland kicks its ass." Hmm. Maybe.