If you’re looking for a parallel, how about starting with Hook. You remember Hook, don’t you - the high concept rewriting of Peter Pan that was supposed to signify Steven Spielberg’s more mature fulfillment of his F/X fantasy propensities? The Robin Williams/Dustin Hoffman vehicle that took J. M. Barrie’s tale of ageless whimsy and rewired it to a hectic post-Greed decade gimmick? Expectations were massive, especially since Mr. ET was seen as the only person who could make this otherwise conceivably cloying concept work…and guess what? He failed miserably. While more or less tolerable, Hook is now seen as the source for much Spielberg soul searching. The result? The ridiculously addictive return to form, Jurassic Park, and the Oscar-worthy aesthetic wake-up call his career was demanding - Schindler’s List.
So if you’re looking to give the water-treading work of 2010 Tim Burton a shot in the substance, let’s link his look at Alice and her adventures in “Underland” and the seeming sense of self-referential mockery he is presently locked into. When it was announced that everyone’s favorite Gothic goofball was exploring the possibilities of Lewis Carroll’s love letter to some unrequited Victorian jailbait, many in movie fandom started to froth. Just imagine, Tim Burton taking on such noble literary icons as The Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen, the hookah smoking Caterpillar, and most importantly, the always Mad Hatter. With his wild imagination and ability to translate it to celluloid, it seemed like a perfect cinematic marriage. The initial teaser trailer kept said tongues wagging and working overtime.