I just returned from Alice in Wonderland. I loved it!
While watching the previews before the film began, I was struck once again by the fact that so many films aimed at kids and popular audiences are of the fantasy genre. Most of these films are set in a far distant past, unlike Harry Potter.
Why? I believe it signals the close of the myth of progress, achieved through technology. The public no longer views a high-tech, planet-hopping future as plausible. The dystopian fantasies of Bladerunner and Total Recall have given way to a simplistic genre that rejects all technological innovations in favor of magic and feudal-type kings and queens.
The only science fiction films I have seen in the last few years--the Moon and some now nameless film that featured a forbidden planet--featured out of control corporate power.
I find this escape to fantasy to be dangerous, however seductive, because it offers an escape that is drains the user/consumer of the vitality to attend to present concerns and challenges...