For those who haven't noticed, I've been on a little bit of an Alice (Through the Looking Glass|In Wonderland) kick recently, owning mostly to the undoubtedly mind-blowing Tim Burton enterprise looming on the horizon. Since my last foray into re-imaginings of Lewis Carroll turned out for the better, I thought I'd try out a movie with an interesting box called Malice in Wonderland. Once again, I wasn't disappointed.
The brain child of writer Jayson Rothwell and director Simon Fellows, this interpretation finds Alice (Maggie Grace) an American on the run in London. She bolts from the tube and is struck by a cab drive by the perpetually late Whitey (Danny Dyer). To help her deal with the resultant amnesia, he hands her a bottle labeled simply "FOR YOUR HEAD" which contains some pills which appear quite suspect. In addition to recovering her memory, she has to deal with all kinds of weirdness happening not only far from home, but far from London as well.
During her travels, Alice encounters contemporary versions of the characters we've all grown to love, all of which work surprisingly well. From the caterpillar (Paul Kaye) who drives around in a perpetually hotboxed car to Harry Hunt, both the King and Queen of Hearts (Nathaniel Parker) and Gary Beadle's portrayal of late night DJ Felix Chester, everybody does a good job of bringing their characters to life and you wind up with a quite enjoyable 87 minutes.
A lot of reviews you'll find for this movie are needlessly unfair. True it might not have had that high a budget (the number I find with regularity is £1.5 million), but I think it did damned well with what it had and never at any point did I feel it was lacking. These days you don't need a crapton of money to tell a story in an interesting, visually stimulating way and after you cover the basics you'll probably have enough left over for a few tasteful visual effects.
So, basically, if you're ever wandering around your local video store and want to check out an interesting spin on a classic story, give this film a try, you won't be disappointed. Hell, it's almost worth it for Tweedledum and Tweedledee alone.