Audiences seem split right down the middle on Tim Burton's take on Alice in Wonderland. I'm in the camp that found it a tedious mess of production design with very little in the way of story or character for me to cling to, and this is coming from a lifelong Burton fan. What I thought would be a perfect marriage of director and material was not so perfect, so why am I willing to root for him to take on the wonderful world of Oz?
The L.A. Times reports that Warner Brothers is looking at L. Frank Baum's Oz series as the next big fantasy franchise, and while no director has been announced, Alice's $210 milllion worldwide opening weekend has probably put Burton on their short list of dream directors for the series. Warners has a couple of Oz screenplays at the ready, one a traditional tale and the other a post-modern spin that sounds an awful lot like the failed Lost in Oz pilot that Burton produced in 2002.
I don't want to be let down again, but Oz has a couple things going for it -- it's easier to adapt than Alice (due to stronger plotting) and there are more novels to pull from, so there's a much richer, established fantasy world to work within. No matter how boring I may have found Burton's 3-D Disney flick, I'd be there opening day if he signed on to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Of course, there's a part of me that realizes his original projects (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands) are far better than his films based on pre-existing properties (Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mars Attacks).
What do you think? Is Tim Burton the man for the job or should he start exploring his own original material again?