There's so much to cheer for in Tim Burton's upcoming "Alice in Wonderland" release. A surreal fantasy world with strange characters like Johnny Depp taking on the only slightly crazier Mad Hatter, for starters.
But after Thursday's L.A. press screening, it's clear the scene stealer is Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. The Red Queen is more than a murderous and tyrannical ruler -- she's essentially a spoiled six-year-old with the power of life and death in her hands. She wields this power with evil relish.
Best of all, her targets are cuddly animals or anyone who happens to have the poor fortune of being more physically attractive than her -- and clearly in any kingdom there are going to be a lot of critters in both categories. She uses the old-school off-with-their-heads mantra with impetuous regularity. But most of her other tortures show Burton-esque genius, such as a flamingo calmly accepting his fate as a mallet in a lawn polo game where the ball is actually a porcupine.
She derives joy calling out for a pig foot rest and demands her large guest take a chair consisting of a shivering monkey holding a platform. Even her flatterers ugly themselves up with fake massive noses and forehead additions.
The Red Queen might be fighting for her crown against her arch-perfect sister the White Queen (played with over-the-top perfection by Anne Hathaway). But in the baddie world, Helena Bonham Carter is the Queen of Dark Hearts.