Friday, November 5, 2010

Alice In Wonderland

Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is a wonderful story that has been interpreted cinematically for decades.
There are many movie variations on Alice in Wonderland--the Disney cartoon, several live action movies, silent films, and more.  There's also the sequel Through the Looking Glass, which has also been made into at least one movie (which I thoroughly enjoyed).  Interestingly, movie adaptations called Alice in Wonderland often include bits and pieces and characters from Through the Looking Glass.

I have to say though that my favorite Alice in Wonderland movie is still the Disney cartoon.

There are also many reinterpretations, movies that are set in Wonderland, but that take place at varying times after the origin story.
I've seen the British mini-series Malice in Wonderland, which was only ok.
There is also the SyFy channel's Alice which was awesome--I even bought that one!

And recently Disney came out with another Alice in Wonderland movie.
I'll admit I was VERY skeptical, especially when I saw it was a live-action.
I figured they were trying to remake the original.

I'm so glad I was wrong!
The current Disney Alice in Wonderland is actually a sequel to the original, in which Alice travels back to Wonderland.  However, she believes it to be a recurring dream that she's had since childhood.  Of course, adventures ensue.  With Tim Burton involved, there is also a surreal, bordering on creep feel throughout the movie.
I LOVE it!

This Alice in Wonderland includes elements from both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
It is a very well-crafted sequel, with excellent character development and storyline implementation.
Major characters were given incredible depth, showing the audience sides of the Red and White Queens, the Mad Hatter, the Catepillar (Absolem), and more.

Even minor characters were not neglected, but fleshed out.  The Doormouse was a great example of this, as was the March Hare.
The actors and actresses all did a wonderful job of helping their characters come to a multi-dimensional life, instead of just being flat.
The imagery was expertly done and the soundtrack enhanced the plot wonderfully.

I loved that they worked in Alice's "memories" from her original trip to Wonderland, and I loved the back story given for Alice's family and "real-life" friends.  So many times they are completely left out, or just tossed in as placeholders and ironically seem less real than the fantastical characters in Wonderland itself.  In this movie, both the "real-life" characters and the Wonderland characters were equally real, which I feel was an important aspect in the plot development of this Alice in Wonderland.

I also enjoyed the ending of the movie, as much as I wanted her to stay in Wonderland with the Hatter.
The fact that she went back into the "real world" and took ownership of herself and her life there, where it was more of a challenge than it would have been in Wonderland, was a wonderful ending.  I also loved Absolem's final appearance--and hope that there might be yet another chapter down the road.

Though no one will be as good of a Mad Hatter in my eyes as Johnny Depp.  What an OUTSTANDING performance!

All in all, this is a movie I watch over and over again, and enjoy more with each viewing.


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