Summary of the "Alice in Wonderland" Movie

by Shawn Lealos
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp promote their 2010

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp promote their 2010 "Alice in Wonderland."

Junko Kimura/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Tim Burton released his live-action big screen version of "Alice in Wonderland" in 2010. The classical literary adaptation earned two Oscars and grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, making it the sixth-most successful movie of all time as of mid-2011. Burton cast many familiar faces in his movie while creating a sequel to the original Disney classic, putting an unusual spin on a familiar tale.

The Cast of 'Alice in Wonderland'

Burton often uses a basic group of actors in many of his movies. He took a similar approach in "Alice in Wonderland." Johnny Depp, who starred in Burton films such as "Edward Scissorhands" and "Sweeney Todd," took on the iconic role of the Mad Hatter, while Burton's partner, Helena Bonham Carter, portrays the Red Queen. The breakout star is Mia Wasikowska, who plays a grown-up Alice making her return to Wonderland. Other stars in the movie include Anne Hathaway as the White Queen and Crispin Glover as the Knave of Hearts.

A Sequel, Not a Remake

Although the movie shares the same title as the classic Disney animated classic from 1951, this is a sequel to that story. In this film, Alice is 19 years old and believes that her original trip to Wonderland, as a young girl, was merely a dream. The movie begins with her preparing for a wedding she doesn't want to go through with, when she catches a glimpse of the White Rabbit. Once again, she follows him through the Rabbit Hole to Wonderland.

Returning to Wonderland

When Alice returns to Wonderland, many individuals in the magical world remember her, although she believes they are all part of her vivid imagination. Many of the original characters return, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and the Red Queen. Much of the movie sees Alice question her sanity. But, once she accepts that what is happening to her is real, it is time for her to battle the Red Queen to save Wonderland from her tyrannical rule.

The New Quest

The Red Witch rules Wonderland with an iron fist, causing the Mad Hatter to hide out and the White Rabbit to cower in fear. The Red Queen's main weapon is a dragonlike creature known as the Jabberwocky, and the only person as powerful as the Red Queen is her sister the White Queen, who has been banished and unable to help the creatures of Wonderland. Alice learns she must face the Jabberwocky if the kingdom of Wonderland is to survive.

The Resolution (Spoilers)

Alice helps free the White Queen, and the two prepare to battle the Red Queen and her army on a battlefield reminiscent of a chessboard. Alice takes on the Jabberwocky and successfully kills it with a magical sword, while the White Queen triumphs over her sister and banishes the Red Queen into the Outlands. Alice returns home and refuses to go through with the wedding, turning into the woman her father always dreamed that she would be.

About the Author

Shawn Lealos has been writing professionally since 1996. His articles have appeared in magazines such as Inside Sports and on websites such as He works as a film critic and is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Lealos received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Gaylord School of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma in 2000.

Photo Credits

  • Junko Kimura/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images