Alice in Wonderland (1999 TV Movie)
Passive Alice takes Dull Journey through Stunning Wonderland
1 March 1999
The production team that brought us a stunning "Odyssey" and thought-provoking "Gulliver's Travels" misses the boat on this, another in a long line of disappointing adaptations of Lewis Carroll's beloved and revered "Alice" books. Stunning visual effects vividly creating a phantasmagorical dreamworld unfettered by the laws of physics, and some excellent casting, notably Martin Short as the Mad Hatter and Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat, cannot compensate for a poor script and a passive Alice, who in this version, escapes to Wonderland because she lacks the self-confidence to sing at her parents' garden-party.

Carroll's Alice is nothing if not confident; she is also obstinate, precocious, and more than willing to argue fiercely with virtually every character she meets. These confrontations between the logical, rational Alice and the nonsensical, irritable denizens of Wonderland are the source of much of the book's humor, which is sadly lacking in this screenplay. The rich wordplay of the book, in which language is indeed literal, and only nonsense makes sense, is reduced to a stream of non-sequiturs. Carroll's book is filled with conversations, why didn't the writers make use of it? Indeed, one wonders if they even read the book at all. In this film, Carroll's feisty Alice is portrayed as an amiable Dorothy Gale, who must learn to believe in herself before she can return home. At three hours, it is a long, tedious journey.
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