Friday, July 24, 2009

Back to Wonderland

Looming on the horizon we have yet another Alice in Wonderland adaptation. But this one looks to be far more...interesting would be the word, I think. It is Tim Burton after all and the trailer was just released this week in time for Comic Con. There have been so many adaptations and disambiguations over the years that it's a risky venture. Feature films have been obsessed with bringing our Alice to the silver screen. Many actresses have portrayed her over the years, from sci-fi vampire Kate Beckinsale to indie darling Tina Majorino, she is a popular role. The Mad Hatter has also been played by such luminaries as Peter Cook to Martin Short and now Captain Jack Sparrow himself, Johnny Depp. This new version will be the second Disney release, the cartoon being the most famous, but Walt Disney was veritably obsessed with Alice and spent years in pre-production with a live action version which never saw the light of day. I have hopes, I'm not going to say high. The posters are a bit scary to say the least, and while I love what Tim Burton did with Willy Wonka, I don't like the original source material, classic though it is, Matilda and The Witches are the only Roald Dahl truly close to my heart. And the fact remains, this book is close to my heart. I have read and re-read Alice countless times, and each time she is dearer to me. The literary nonsense that is Alice in Wonderland is a true classic, the likes of Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz.

But will this movie succeed or fall flat on it's face? As Tim Burton himself has said, the combination of live action and surrealistic animation defies categorization. Plus will he remain faithful to the source material or diverge drastically? I am most reminded of Return to Oz. This film succeeded, but it was also carefully crafted to logically diverge from the source. The plot was constructed from the second and third Oz books (you do know there are more Oz books than one right?) But layered on top of that was a dark plot line of Dorothy having to undergo electric shock therapy. Which, while not relating to the magical land of Oz, would make sense if she came back to depression era Kansas and started talking about Tin Men and Flying Monkeys. But it is still done logically, and can we count Tim Burton to do anything logically? And the story of Alice is a delicate balancing act. For the number of times it has been filmed, I have only really liked two of the adaptations. The Disney cartoon is classic and is most likely the reason I picked up the book in the first place, but the only live action version I enjoyed was Jonathan Miller's. And Jonathan Miller's was a completely surrealist drug induced trip with minimal dialogue, lots of sitar music, and the Peters, Sellers and Cook. So I am very intrigued as to what is to come of this newest version. Are you looking forward to it? What do you think of the trailer?


Ah, well, after seeing the trailer I think I'll pass.
But I just just adorethe book!
"Twas brillig in the slithy toves...and thou hast slain the jabberwock?/come into my arms my beaming boy./oh frabujous joy..."

Yeah, the trailer has me seriously doubting that I'd like it in anyway. And why does Johnny Depp have to look like the joker from Batman? I love the imagery of the book and the Tenniel drawings.

Okaaaaaaaaaaay, CREEPY. I think Tim Burton is mentally disturbed.

I agree that this time he might have gone too far. Like Sweeny Todd, way to much blood there.

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