This quasi-sequel to the original Alice in Wonderland novel concerns a 20-year-old Alice (a terrifically low-key and deviously seductive Mia Wasikowska), on the precipice of accepting an unwanted engagement to a connected young-gentleman.
At the moment of said proposal, Alice is distracted by a strange anthropomorphic rabbit that seems to be gaming for her attention. History repeats itself and Alice again tumbles down the rabbit hole into the magical world of 'Underland'. But Underland is now a desolate, fire-scorched world ruled by the Red Queen (Helena Boham Carter).
Alice does not remember her previous trip when she was a wee child, but apparently it is her destiny to return and make things right again. The characters she meets are certainly eye-catching. The White Rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen) percolates with antic charm, and Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas) are fleshy twins.
The Cheshire Cat, with electric blue stripes, is voiced by Stephen Fry in drolly amused dry-sherry tones. Then there's Johnny Depp, who plays the Mad Hatter with multicoloured eyes, an exploding Bozo carrot top, and a gaze of luminous dementia. He's a fantastic image, but once Depp opens his mouth, what comes out is a noisome Scottish twang that makes everything he says sound more or less the same.
Depp's counterpart in shrill sameness is Helena Bonham Carter. Unfortunately, Anne Hathaway is miscast as her sister, the White Queen, as her white hair and black eyebrows look weird and she's not temperamentally suited to the role's benign arrogance.