Finally, a great family movie. Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland 3-D is not as dark or frightening as the reviews have it. Certainly not as creepy as Edward Scissorhands, as terrifying as Jurrasic park or as dark as Wall-E. (All good movies, don't get me wrong.)
Two of my 7-year old daughters watched it with me, and together we sat riveted behind our oversized glasses. There were 2 blood-thirsty monsters--the Jabberwocky being the worst--that caused my girls to grip their armrests and plead for assurances from me that Alice would prevail. (I didn't mind telling them 'Alice is going to win' or 'Don't worry, she's making friends with the monster...')
Burton is a visual genius, and I can't remember the last time I truly delighted in such a satisfying visual feast. The 3-D elements were not distracting, but rather carefully chosen to emphasize the aesthetic qualities of the set. Kudos to Burton for featuring a strong Alice who makes choices for herself at the end of the film. The language is refreshingly sophisticated for American kids, and the British accents can be challenging, but it didn't matter. I would go back to see it, even for $10, just to spend more time under those fabulous mushrooms.
Let's not forget Lewis Carroll, who developed a universal childhood experience (Is this real, or am I in a dream?) into such an enduring story. Apparently he was a mathematician, and the original story includes Alice puzzling over limits, logic, arithmetic and patterns. Some say "Alice" was Carroll's satire on the new abstract mathematics of his time.
Now, can anyone tell me what ages would appreciate Avatar?