Why Tim Burton shouldn’t do Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton is Hollywood gold again after Sweeney Todd. But does that give him the right to ruin Libby's childhood by taking on Alice In Wonderland...?

Okay, so I may be taking this a little bit far with the declaration that one Timothy William Burton of Burbank California has such a deep seated personal vendetta against me that he is making it his life’s work to destroy everything I hold dear…but let’s be honest, that’s blatantly what he’s doing.

Let’s look at the evidence here:

He conned his way into our hearts and our good books with The Nightmare Before Christmas. Utterly undisputed genius and a must-see around Christmas and Halloween (especially if you ever spend Halloween with our very own Sarah Dobbs).

Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood are firmly among my favourite films, and so this only served to enhance the false sense of security into which we had been lulled.

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Then the rot set in.

Mars Attacks, Big Fish, Corpse Bride. Well…not a lot can be said for those, everybody has a bad day. I actually quite enjoyed Big Fish, despite the flagrant ‘father issues’ that surfaced because of his father’s own demise…which is fine for one film, but to cling to them for the next two was overdoing it a trifle. Corpse Bride was hell. The union of Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp simply doesn’t work in any way shape or form; they’re pretty much the same person anyway and if he’d realised this sooner we could have been spared Charlie and the Chocolate Factory AND Sweeney Todd.

I understand that there are some people out there who liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and I can only hope you get the therapy you need soon enough. To be fair to it, the Oompah Loompahs were better, but everything else was sheer unadulterated hell. Especially Verucca Salt. Memo to Tim Burton: rather than going on about how nice the child was and how much you had to bully her into ‘being mean’ on screen (and let’s face it, we’ve all seen children be MUCH worse than what came out in that film) why not try finding someone who is either a) what the part requires or b) able to act it without ‘bullying’?

I clearly still hold residual venom about this film. Interesting. We’ll gloss over Sweeney Todd purely because we will be here for the next century if I attempt to write how I truly feel about it, given that I’ve loved musicals since I was about a year old and Sweeney Todd is firmly one of my favourite shows and everything about that film was wrong and broken with the exception of Rickman and Spall.

The latest insult in this huge catalogue of injuries is that Burton is currently in preproduction for a Disney remake of Alice in Wonderland. Alice in Wonderland (the 1951 version with the animation and the things of pure genius) is my all time favourite Disney film. The fact that Disney are backing Burton in this doesn’t comfort me one jot.

I have no idea who Mia Wasikowska is, but whoever she is, she’s apparently playing Alice. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but Alice is supposed to be a child. She’s taking lessons from her governess/sister (depending on which version you’re reading/watching) at the beginning, and surely someone of the age of Ms. Wasikowska would no longer be doing that. She’s 18 and has previously appeared in something called ‘Cosette’. No good can come of anyone who ever plays a role with the name ‘Cosette’, but that’s again a personal residual hatred from years of watching musicals.

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Of course there are the usual hype-rumours on our beloved IMDB about Johnny being involved in the project…nothing concrete yet, but shooting starts on September 15th at Ealing Studios before they relocate to the USA so you’d hope they’d have sorted their casting by now. He might make a bearable Cheshire Cat at that, but what’s the betting Burton adds a good healthy measure of running amok with the idea and failing to adhere to the whole point of the story by adding in a random dentist father or axing the best sections because they don’t showcase his wife and his long-term collaborator?

I’ll still have to see it at some point. I’m just firmly prepared to cringe at every moment and hear the little voice in my head pleading for a return to the days of Johnny in angora and some nice little Danny Elfman tunes.