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(2010), PG [PG*] (1hr 39min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
June 5, 2010
June 17, 2010

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2010), PG [PG*] ... not your parents' Alice in Wonderland

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Walt Disney Pictures, Roth Films, Zanuck Company, The (as Zanuck Company), Team Todd  •  Distribution (US): Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment  •  Director(s): Tim Burton  •  Producer(s): Katterli Frauenfelder, Derek Frey, Chris Lebenzon, Tom C. Peitzman, Joe Roth, Peter M. Tobyansen, Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Richard D. Zanuck  •  Screenplay: Linda Woolverton; Books "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass": Lewis Carroll  •  Cinematography/Camera: Dariusz Wolski  •  Music: Danny Elfman  •  Film Editing: Chris Lebenzon  •  Casting: Susie Figgis  •  Production Design: Robert Stromberg  •  Art Direction: Stefan Dechant  •  Viewed on Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment DVD

This film analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP.

I do not know the "Alice in Wonderland" story to any great detail and I've never read Lewis Carol's original classic. But I do remember several childhood renditions of it and comic references to it. And I remember well the delightful 1951 Disney animated classic rendition of the timeless fable. But this 2010 version is ... is just not the "Alice in Wonderland" we grew up with. It might have been better titled "Alice of Arc: In Salazen Grum."

I can also remember that none of the childhood renditions were nearly as dark, gray, pale, sinister, haunting, gothic and even evil as this one. I remember a lot of "Off with his head" remarks by the evil Red Queen but I cannot remember her ever saying she wanted to eat the children of one of her personified minion frogs. There is little if any of Disney's once iconic story-telling in this new age version. Since the "drink me" potion to grow smaller now contains spit, buttered amputated fingers ... and horsefly urine ... there is little hope that Lewis Carol's original twinkle will ever be heard in this 2010 poisoning of a once-dear childhood standard. Other than the somewhat cardboard performances by some high wattage performers, just about the only benefit to this 99-minute corruption of a childhood standard is something a child would not likely understand -- the mercuric meaning to "mad hatter."

This is not your parents' Alice in Wonderland.

After introducing the film with a young 6 year old Alice Kingsleigh (Mairi Ella Challen) and her still-alive noble and caring father, Charles (Marton Csokas) soothing another of Alice's repeating nightmares about falling down a dark hole and seeing strange creatures such as a dodo bird, a rabbit in a weskit and a smiling cat, we see 19 year old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) expressing contempt to her mother, Helen (Lindsay Duncan) for the dressing standards of the time as the duo makes their way to what Alice did not know was to be her engagement party to Lord Hamish Ascot (Leo Bill). As Alice does wit warfare with the stuffed shirts and social soldiers, much to the chagrin of Lord Hamish Alice jilts him and throws an "I need a moment" at the crowd to excuse darting away from Hamish still on bended knee to fall into a deep dark hole by a dead tree.

From there, Alice enters the Underland of Wonderland, a land just as dark as the hole she fell into and begins her trek through fantasy and chicanery ... and violence.

At the bottom of the hole Alice finds herself in a chamber with three doors, all of them locked. On a glass table lies a key that unlocks only the smallest of the three doors. But Alice is much too large to fit through the only door the key opens. Alice pines for a solution ... and finds one. She finds a small bottle labeled "Drink Me" containing a potion called pishalver made of horsefly urine, buttered amputated human fingers (obviously a cinematic stab at Butterfingers™ candy), the spit of a queen plus other equally odd ingredients. Alice discovered the pishalver shrinks the one who drinks it. After imbibing a swig of the shrink drug she can now fit through the tiny door ... the only door the key unlocks. But Alice left the key atop the table which is now much too tall for her to reach. As fantasy would have it Alice finds a small box with a cake in it with "Eat Me" written in the icing. And she does. With that nibble Alice again grows large enough to fetch the key. And she does. But now she is again too large to fit through the only door the key would open. What to do!? Ah! The pishalver is still there. All she has to do since she has the key is to take another swig of the pishalver. And she does. Once small enough to fit through the only door the key would open Alice ventures into the gothic Underland of Wonderland.

On the other side of that door Alice meets the first of her accomplices who, unknowingly to Alice at the time, join Alice in her quest to vanquish the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). Among the co-foes are the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), Tweedledee and Tweedledum (each is Matt Lucas), the blue caterpillar (Alan Rickman), the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry) of course and others.

All of us know the basic story of Alice in Wonderland well enough that I do not need to summarize the story and plot of this version of it. But I feel it advisable to inform you of the content that you might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether the film is fit.

Of the six CAP investigation areas three found content to be G-equivalent (87 to 100 out of 100). Two of the three G-equivalent investigation area scores were both 87 thus were "hardcore" G-equivalent but G nonetheless. Two other investigation area scores were lite PG-equivalent. The single investigation area finding content to be acidic and truly invasive was Wanton Violence/Crime (W). Films rated R in the comparative baseline database of the CAP analysis model earned final scores of 54 and below. Alice in Wonderland earned a Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area score of zero out of 100. Let me see. Fifty-four and below is R-equivalent. Alice in Wonderland earned a Wanton Violence/Crime score of zero. You do the math. That is certainly not to say Alice in Wonderland is R-equivalent -- indeed it is truly G-equivalent in half the investigation areas -- but the violence content of the film is clearly shown to be R-equivalent. It is the G-equivalence of three of six investigation area scores plus two with PG-equivalent scores that brought the final score up to PG-equivalence. Now you know that Alice in Wonderland is "G- or PG-safe" in all areas except violence. You also know now that Alice in Wonderland is R-equivalent in violence. This is one of the finest features of the CAP analysis model -- to be able to identify what areas of film content are most severe in content and which areas you may deem to be "safe."

Following are brief discussions of content by investigation area. Itemized lists of content findings are provided in the Findings/Scoring section of this report. These discussions are provided for they who do not like lists.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
Violence is quite intense in some ways. One character was exploded into pieces. A character beheading was staged and stopped just short of watching the head fall. Animal attacks were in some ways "larger-than-life." Just as in the original story, "off with his head" is heard repeatedly but not before accompanied by a threat to eat the children of a servant frog. While these and a couple other demonstrations of violence were quite invasive, the strongest presence of violence is in the "flavoring" of the film by so many "lesser" examples of violence. While a few intense instances of hard violence can be morally invasive, many examples of "lesser" violence can be just as invasive and maybe even more so. See our CAP Rule of 1000 publication for more information about this style of weighting the content of a film.

God knew of the "leading" effect of violence when He had men put pen to paper to record his Word. He told us in Prov. 16:29 that violence entices men to do likewise. He further told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 that violence and other forms of "evil communications" can corrupt good manners. It would be wise of us to heed what He has told us.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 83 out of 100
Matters of the impudent nature include a teen's arrogance toward her mother, a character begging to be killed, and an offer of suicide. Where each is an integral contribution to the story, maybe the story should not be told that way. God also warns us that the sins of one can make sinners of many. [Rom. 5:19] Specifically, the one actress who defied her mother can lead thousands of viewers who are impressionable and primed for rebellion to do likewise.

All these matters of content are of arrogance and rebellion, either on the part of the character, the actor/actress or the writers/story. And God hates, yes, hates arrogance. God warns us about seven things He hates in Proverb 6:16 - 19. The first thing in that list of seven things He hates is arrogance. He repeats His hatred of arrogance in Isa. 13:11 and many other verses. We had ought to listen to what He tells us.

God hates!? Yes, He does. He hates sin, NOT the sinner. He hates the deed, NOT to doer. He hates the attitude that conjures the deed, NOT the one who carries it. All of the "things" God hates listed in Prov. 6:16 - 19 are behaviors. God hates no one but He hates some of the things we choose to do.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 83 out of 100
Several of the story characters emulated the hugeness of the Red Queen's head by donning prosthetics made to exaggerate parts of their bodies. One case was that of a woman's anatomy. One of the times (the only of the number of times) Alice became large and the writers had her nude. Behind a large hedge but nude nonetheless. And during Alice's wit warfare with the socialites at Hamish's party, the topic of skinny dipping came up. Also, Alice finds Lowel (John Hopkins), the husband of her sister Margaret (Jemma Powell), engaged in an adulterous kiss with Hattie (uncredited). Where or even if any of these matters were in the original story I do not know. But I doubt it. Hey! This is the 21st century! Well, be that as it may, God's Word about sexual humility does not change with the tides of modern morality.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 87 out of 100
Besides the drugging of Alice with the "drink me" potion and "eat me" cake, the blue caterpillar is seen smoking repeatedly.

Offense to God (O) - 87 out of 100
This film is filled with impossible fantasy and imagery that can invade the sleep of the impressionable and possibly confuse their grasp of reality. Such is the case for just about any fantasy flick but when live action characters are used to impart the extent of fantasy the impact on the impressionable observer can be deep. While many will argue that fantasy will not leave much of an impact on youth, how many of us did not shed at least a little bit of a tear when Travis had to shoot Old Yeller? How many of us were not saddened when Bambi's mother was killed? We are unarguably a product of everything to which we are exposed. It is my "job" to make you aware of such matters that you might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether a film is fit. We do not judge for you. We tell you what is there, you decide.

Also, Alice drinks the blood of the slain monster to restore their world back to its original state.

In addition, one character is noted as saying "Perhaps I will see you in another life", thus embracing reincarnation ... not a good concept with which to do cognitive battle, especially when God says otherwise. We live twice and die once. After mortal life on Earth is death, after which our souls will live again, for all eternity in either Heaven or Hell, not on Earth again. And once in Heaven or Hell there is no leaving. While I cannot imagine anyone wanting to leave Heaven, if one is condemned to Hell there is no escape ... ever. After mortal death is eternity in Heaven or Hell. Never back to the Earth.

Eternity? I wonder how many of us have ever pondered how long is eternity. Let me share this with you. Imagine you have made it into Heaven and are basking in Paradise. After a couple thousand years you might begin to wonder how much longer you have in Heaven. So, you ask Jesus, "How long do I have left in Heaven?" In His precious sense of humor Jesus tells you "To help you understand how long you have in Heaven I have a job for you. Go ye and count every grain of sand on the Sahara Desert but count only one grain of sand each thousand years. When you have finished counting every grain of sand on the Sahara Desert, one grain per thousand years, your time in Heaven will have just gotten started." [2 Pet. 3:8] That is how long we will have in Heaven. And on the flip side of that coin, that is how long we will have in Hell if we choose to reject Jesus as Lord and resurrected Savior. Hell? Can you imagine living in Hell? Burning. Scorching. Searing pain, the kind there is no getting used to. All the time. Never ending. No relief of any kind. Ever. So, should you believe in reincarnation when God calls it a lie?

Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
While the film is not free of attempted murders, it is free of murder. Attempted murder is not incorporated into this investigation area but is incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. Matters of attempted murder, attempted suicide, deaths by war or police action are not incorporated into this investigation area but are incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" ["man" here is enowsh {en-oshe"}: man (collective), mortal, person, mankind; contracted for iysh {eesh}: whosoever, each] can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not since the cinematic display is at the hands men and women, in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil or the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Prov. 6:16 - 19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes [arrogance, uppityness], a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
  • Isa. 13:11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty [yahiyr: proud, arrogant, haughty] and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
  • 2 Pet. 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Alice in Wonderland (2010) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • falls with no consequences
  • animal attacks of varying intensities, repeatedly, some with prey, once with injury
  • removal of eyeball by sword
  • "Off with his head", repeatedly, once with a threat to eat the children of a servant frog
  • assault to force performance/compliance
  • live character exploded to pieces
  • pursuit to kill, long and repeatedly
  • holding wife and kids (pups) hostage to extort performance/compliance/servitude
  • lake of floating heads
  • using live creatures/characters as croquet balls
  • tale of murdering king husband by pushing him off a balcony
  • attempted murder by sword, repeatedly
  • proceedings of a beheading with axe swing shown
  • scary images of monster attacks, repeatedly
  • monster tongue severed
  • battle sequences, multiple
  • creature head crushed by bolder
  • creature beheading
  • disembodied monster head bouncing down stairs
  • defensive impalement by sword

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 83 out of 100
  • teen argumentation with mother about dress standards
  • lie to influence performance
  • begging to be killed
  • "I offer you my head" (in suicide)
  • teen displaying contempt for acceptable dress standard

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 83 out of 100
  • teen girls talking of skinny dipping
  • adulterous kiss
  • character nudity hidden by convenience object - a hedge
  • prosthetic of grossly exaggerated female anatomy

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 87 out of 100
  • potions to change human size
  • smoking caterpillar, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O) - 87 out of 100
  • impossible fantasy imagery,deeds and events throughout
  • "Perhaps I will see you in another life"
  • drinking monster blood to restore "reality"

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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