**/**** Image A Sound A Extras B-
starring Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mia Wasikowska
screenplay by Linda Woolverton
directed by Tim Burton
by Walter Chaw A diary of missed opportunities but not the disaster it could have been, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland reminds a great deal of Walter Murch's Return to Oz in that both are closer in spirit to the respective dark of their inspirations while still falling tantalizingly shy of the beguiling murk of their headwaters. (In terms of adaptations, No Country for Old Men holds the gold standard for cinema that understands its source well enough to use it in its own sentence.) It'll be compared of course to the Disney animated classic that mistook Lewis Carroll's misanthropy-soaked surrealism for whimsy--a comparison Burton tries to sidestep by incorporating more elements (the Bandersnatch, the Jabberwocky, the Jub-Jub Bird, snickersnack) from the largely-ignored second book, Alice Through the Looking Glass, but one that'll hound a film featuring plucked-out eyeballs and a castle moat traversed by skipping across severed heads.