Nathan (vovat) wrote,

In a Wonderland They Lie

Recently, my friends page has featured some discussion of Tim Burton's upcoming Alice in Wonderland film. I think it has some potential, although it kind of seems like Alice has been filmed to death. I know that Paramount did a version in the thirties, featuring several stars of the era, including Cary Grant, W.C. Fields, and Gary Cooper. I've never seen this version, and Netflix doesn't appear to have it. Then there was Disney's 1951 animated version, which I liked pretty well, but thought kind of missed the point. (I've heard that it was one of Walt's least favorite full-length animated features.) I also remember the mid-eighties musical with Carol Channing and Jonathan Winters, and there have been plenty of others over the years. Burton does seem to be taking an interesting new take on the story, though, with its being sort of a sequel with an older Alice. As long as it's done well, I don't know that I can say I really object to that. After all, we're never really told about the future life of the books' Alice (as opposed to the real Alice Liddell, who married Reginald Hargreaves and became a society hostess). It's not like how people want to write scripts about a grown-up Dorothy Gale, when anyone who's read the Oz books knows that she came to live in Ozma's palace and DIDN'T grow up.

It looks like this new movie, like several other (perhaps even most) adaptations over the years combines elements from both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. I guess filmmakers tend to think Alice's adventures are crazy enough that the order of events doesn't really matter that much. I know some takes have combined both books into one long story. In truth, I find Looking-Glass to be significantly different from Wonderland, in that it has more order and sticks more closely to particular themes (chess, mirror reversals, and nursery rhymes [1] being the main ones), but I've never had any serious objections to, say, Tweedledum and Tweedledee showing up in the domain of the Queen of Hearts. In fact, Carroll actually intended for the Hatter and the March Hare to reappear in Looking-Glass, although I didn't realize this in my childhood until I finally read a version of the book with the original illustrations.

[1] The only featured nursery rhyme that I was actually familiar with as a kid was "Humpty Dumpty." I guess the other two have decreased in popularity over the years (and maybe "The Lion and the Unicorn" was never that big outside the United Kingdom).
Tags: books, lewis carroll, movies, oz, television
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