28/06/2010

ALICE IN WONDERLAND OR ... THE FAIRY-TALE I USED TO HATE



You’re mad , bonkers, off your head.
But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”


To be honest, I’ve always hated this fairy-tale as a child, I found it particularly scaring. As a grown-up person,  I discovered why, while studying Lewis Carroll at uni: it was no fairy-tale at all. Anyhow, I’ve never come to terms with this story, never come to like it so much. I still find  it rather disquieting, disturbing and nightmarish.

I can’t say the same for the latest Disney’s 3D adaptation of Carrolls's texts (the movie is based both on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass) . It may sound less original than Carroll’s experimental prose but I  found it lovely. I bought the DVD with a weekly magazine at the news-stand a couple of weeks ago but only saw it yesterday. It was such a good dreamy fairy – tale,  romantic and poetic. I enjoyed watching it.

Alice is now nineteen years old and accidentally returns to Underland (misheard by Alice and believed to be called Wonderland), a place she visited thirteen years previously. She is told that she is the only one who can slay the Jabberwocky, a dragon-like creature controlled by the Red Queen who terrorizes Underland's inhabitants... (for a more detailed plot read HERE)
The director, Tim Burton said the original Wonderland story was "always about a girl wandering around from one weird character to another and he never felt a connection emotionally, so he wanted to make it feel more like a story than a series of events". And I must thank him because he succeeded in making me like a story I had always experienced as illogic, unpleasant and absurd. Even when I had to cope with the many intrpretations academic criticism had put forward for this text, I couldn’t find them very interesting: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been interpreted as mere fantasy, as a dream vision guided by free association, or nonsense literature. Several underlying motifs of psychological nature have often been suggested, like prenatal memories, rebirth, and re-entry into the womb. But I couldn't find any appeal in all that.

Watching this new film on DVD instead has only been an emotionally delightful experience: it was a very coloured, involving, simple fairy – tale with good and evil characters, funny and dramatic events, romantic and scary moments.

The stellar cast was stunning. I loved Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as Alice, but also Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter, as the good and wicked queens respectively. Wise blue Caterpillar sounded even wiser - though still rather cryptic - thanks to Alan Rickman's voice. I finally  liked Crispin Glover as Ilosovic Stayne, the Knave of Hearts , a dark fascinating knight, who insistently reminded me of someone ...

Stayne, the Knave of Hearts

Guy, the Knight of our Hearts


I'll leave you with my favourite scene: simple, poetic, touching, sad ...


Hatter: You could stay


Alice: What an idea. A crazy, mad, wonderful idea. But I can’t. There are questions I have to answer, things I have to do. Be back again before you know it.


Hatter: You won’t remember me


Alice: Of course I will. How could I forget? Hatter, why is a raven like a writing desk?


Hatter: I haven’t the slightest idea. Fairfarren , Alice.

Fairfarren you all!
MG
 

14 comments:

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

MG, I saw this version of "Alice in Wonderland" and made the same comparison in my mind about the Knave of Hearts and Gisborne, with his black hair and clothes. I just didn't voice it to anyone watching with me because they would have rolled their eyes... so I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who thought it! :)

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Nat at RA FanBlog
Well, Nat ...we can understand each other ...COMPLETELY.
Big Hug!
MG

Luciana said...

I've always hated this story! And the Disney cartoon too! For me everybody was so mean! And then I went to watch it a couple of months ago on IMAX with a friend and it was better, but I still don't like it. I really liked the costumes and the visual aspect, but I still can't buy the story. And I have to agree with you, because I also thought that the Knave of Hearts looked like Sir Guy.

Avalon said...

We have this dvd but I still have not watched it.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Luciana
Hi! I'm happy to hear I'm not alone at disliking this story. Isn't it disturbing? Instead, I quite liked this version, it is sweeter and more... story-like. Not a sequence of absurd encounters. Thanks for stopping by.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Avalon
Let us know what your impressions are when you decide to see it. I' m actually curious to know your opinion on it. Hugs. MG

Alexa Adams said...

Oh Maria! I waited for two years for this film to come out, counting the days, and I am sorry to say I was disappointed. I think this might be the first time we've disagreed on something like this! I loved the Lewis Carroll book as a child - I think I've read it more times than Pride and Prejudice - and that is probably exactly why you enjoyed the film while I didn't (that might be too strong - as I said before, it was disappointing). It was not even remotely the same world as Carroll's that Burton portrayed, and I really hoped that he was the one director who might finally properly capture the mood of the tale. Instead he made it way too linear, though I thought Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp were magnificent, as usual. It is precisely the absurdity of the story that I always adored. Quotes like, "Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves," and, "Sentence first, verdict after," remain amongst my favorite in English literature.

You know, I was afraid of almost everything when I was a kid, including the Nutcracker, but never Alice in Wonderland. I always found it absolutely enchanting, particularly Through the Looking Glass. It was a favorite of my mother's, and she often read it to me (and showed me the film adaptations) from a very young age. Perhaps that is why my perception of it is so different than yours. Fascinating post, nevertheless. Sorry to blab on for so long.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Alexa Adams
Your precious contibutions are NEVER "blabs"! Even (or especially?) when we disagree.
Thanks Alexa.

onemorelurker1 said...

@MG and @Luciana: I am sooo glad to know this. When this film was about to be realeased I began to mini-analize why I hated it.
I don't like both the tale and (Disney) movie, even at my age kind of scares me. I just think of the twins, the weird cat and the evil queen that because of a whim wants to cut people's head of, it's illogical, weird and scares me.

I like Johnny Depp but still because of that I haven't been too keen on watching it. I'll give it a try.

OML :)

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@onemorelurker1
Phew!!! I thought I was alone, it was a problem of mine but it doesn't seem so. Didn't we share something else?

lunarossa said...

Glad you liked it. MG! I loved any minute of it, expecially because it wasn't as I expected it to be. I watched it at the cinema in 3D with my daughter and we were both mesmerised. Not a minute of boredom. And the Mad Hatter, the lovely Johnny Depp...wow! What a great performance! Baci. A.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@lunarossa
Well, A., at the cinama in 3D it must have been spectacular and much more involving. Lucky you.
Un abbraccio. Buona giornata! MG

onemorelurker1 said...

Hi!

Ok, I have watched it. Not loved it but enjoyed it a lot, at least the characters weren't scary.

Fifteen first secs an had to go back..did I hear well? I heard Mr. Hale! Lord Ascow (sp?) is played by Tim-Pigott-Smith.

SPOILER:


Probably is just me but the scene where Stayne realized he will be 'tied' to the red queen forever, tried to kill her and that he'd rather die, felt a tiny bit disturbing..oh well.

OML :)

Traxy said...

Saw this one recently, but not written a review yet. It was a very entertaining film. I'm not familiar with the original (can't remember if I've read the book or not, but if I did, I was about 10-12). Is it just me or doesn't the Mad Hatter look a lot like a ginger Madonna? I think I spent most of the film scrutinising Mia Wasikowska, to be honest. After all, will she make a good Jane Eyre? I think she will. Fingers crossed! :)