What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland might be rated PG, but it's pretty intense and scary at times for younger kids, especially because it's in 3-D. This trippy adaptation -- in which Alice is a young adult -- includes some fantasy violence with scary monsters that attack people, a cruel Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) who frequently sentences people to death, and a climactic battle scene between sword-brandishing humans, animals, and beasts. Some parents might want to know that a caterpillar (played by Alan Rickman) smokes a hookah, but this is as Lewis Carroll depicted the character. The language includes taunting insults like "stupid," "imbecile," "idiot," "bloody," and the like, and the sexuality is limited to one kiss between a married man and another woman and some aggressive flirting.
- Families can talk about Alice's nonconformist attitude. How does she buck cultural expecations? In what ways does her adventure in "Underland" change Alice?
- What do you think about Mr. Kingsleigh, and later Alice's adage that "all the best people" are a bit "mad"? What do you think the Mad Hatter means that things are only impossible if you believe them to be?
- The Red Queen is cruel but sad. What are some reasons she's so mean? Are there compelling reasons to be angry at her younger sister, the White Queen?
- Those familiar with the Lewis Carroll books: Compare this version with the original source and other adaptations. Do you like this Alice as a much older heroine?