When you think about it, there are certain book-to-movie adaptions that Tim Burton was *born* to do. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of them. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children could be another one (though I never read the book, so I don't know for sure). Alice in Wonderland is definitely another one of those. Lewis Carroll was an insanely imaginative and creative person, who also sometimes defied all logic for the sake of random weirdness. Tim Burton is really the same way, which is both his greatest trait and greatest flaw; while he is probably the most imaginative filmmaker in the business, sometimes he just puts random weird things into movies and forgets to give us a story point or characters to care about. How nice, then, when the story has already been done for him. Well, sort of.
You see, this isn't entirely a direct adaption of the book or the original Disney animation from the 50's. It's a combination remake-sequel of sorts, if that makes any sense; because it takes place when Alice is 18, years after she first went to Wonderland. It's acknowledged that she went to Wonderland before, but what *isn't* acknowledged exactly is if it's the same events from the 50's movies or different ones, thus setting up some coherence issues.
Truth be told, the story is actually probably one of the lesser things about the movie. It's not necessarily bad, but as mentioned earlier, there's some confusion regarding events before this movie's events, and it's a pretty cookie-cutter "hero must slay the evil beast as foretold by prophecy" tale. It was fortunate, then, that plenty of other things about the movie were pretty great.
The visuals and cinematography are flat out gorgeous; Burton brings Wonderland to life brilliantly, while also making it more grim as appropriate. The characters are lots of fun; ones like the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire cat, and the twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum are hilarious. The Red Queen is great in her own right as well; a villain, but an oddly amusing and well depicted one nonetheless. And there's an all-star cast including Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Crispin Glover, and Michael Sheen, among others. (Christopher Lee voices the Jabberwocky, but only gets two lines.) And there is a bit more character development than you'd expect on the part of characters like the Hatter.
Of course, there are some things that are frustrating; namely the thing that comes to mind is a question the Hatter asks multiple times as if he knows the answer already: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" When Alice asks him what the answer is at the end, he replies, "I haven't the slightest idea." It's things like that frustrate me when they are given such prominence only to mean literally nothing at the end of the day.
But overall, the positives outweigh the negatives. The story, cookie-cutter though it is, is suitable enough to not annoy me, and the film is pretty fun all around; and it's difficult to deny the visual art the film presents. Although Alice in Wonderland does have some flaws, it's good enough to warrant a viewing if you're a fan of the source material (even though it's not that faithful to it) or of Burton's work in general.