Depending on who you ask, it’s either a pity or a blessing that my memories of Alice in Wonderland are muddy and vague. Though I’ve read both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, I was quite young when I read them and I’ve never had a desire to revisit the text. I’ve also never been a fan of the animated Disney adaptation.

That being said, around nineteen, I became infatuated with the notion of twisting the characters. I’d often work older versions of Alice or slightly more… ahem… dashing… versions of the Mad Hatter into illustration projects. And I was all over American McGee’s Alice (Chesire Cat pictured left) when it hit the shelves. My friends couldn’t understand the appeal in playing a video game where wonderland was a perfect nightmare. Meanwhile, I couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to play such a game.

And so I walked into Burton’s adaptation/quasi-sequel fully prepared to leave all loyalty to Lewis Caroll at the door.

Two hours later, I was pouting because the credits were rolling and I wasn’t ready to leave Wonderland behind yet. Burton’s visual interpretation of wonderland was lush and balanced and not nearly as dark as I would have expected. I loved most of the characters. Though a few of the Hatter’s quirks irked me, it was relative easy to overlook these—especially when he tells Alice that it’s so very crowded inside his head. The designs of the white and red queen’s armies were inspired.

Oh heck. I could list all of the things I loved about it but it’s after midnight. I felt much the same way I did when I first saw Labyrinth as a kid. Much ooohhhing and ahhhhhing,