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Why did I listen to friends?

... who said Alice in Wonderland wasn't all that good? I didn't see it in the theater because I was recovering from surgery, then got busy.

OMFG the Jungian powers of weirditude in that thing. I am kicking myself now for not seeing it on the big screen.

The entire whole story is a girl hammering out her identity through a fairly vigorous journey into the land of active imagination, in that wonderful headspace that the Sufis say is real: the third term between solid reality and pure spirit. That place where angels dwell, spirits, totems, and all that. Not real like a toothbrush, but real like love.

So much symbolism, but not intrusive enough to get in the way.

The Cheshire Cat's movements were so perfect: what a creepy yet charming smile. Since I used to draw him rather a lot, this is important to me. (They even got the image I see every time there's a crescent moon -- I always see it as the Cheshire Cat in the fall when it's tipped over slightly).  Also, the Dormouse had a dash of Reepicheep, which is amusing, since I used Dormouse as a handle in middle school, and I switched it to Reepicheep in college.

And the White Queen who is supposed to be the ultimate good good good in the world is so unseelie it ain't funny. Yikes, she's scary. I wasn't entirely sure I liked that on the first watch-through, but it fits.

Love this film. Adore it. I think it's my favorite Tim Burton ever, and I was quite fond of Scissorhands. My dissertation is now a Jabberwocky, and my defense will be the Frabjous Day.

There was even a shout-out to Jefferson Airplane tucked away in the lyrics during the credits: Remember what the Dormouse said.
 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
euphonious_glow
Jul. 17th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
I freakin' love Alice in Wonderland, in all of its various forms. The books are awesome, but I think the new movie takes the cake. It was so well done, and like you said the whole journey is a kind of symbolism.
auronlu
Jul. 17th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
It's funny. I hadn't noticed until about the fourth watch-through that she carries the scar with her back into the waking world.

Or the symbolism of the chrysalis on the night before Frabjous Day.

So many little things like that.

But also some human touches. For some reason, that scene with Alice slightly oversized going to check on the Hatter in the Red Queen's castle seizes my heart every time I get to that point. "I'm frightened, Alice." The size difference has a psychological impact I wish it didn't -- when she's larger, my unconscious sees him as the child in need of her strength.

Which is both unsurprising and alarming. We are unconsciously primed to equate size with age and helplessness or self-sufficiency. It makes sense, evolution-wise, but we have to make a conscious effort to notice and shake off the instinct.

I'm glad Alice was her very own size near the end. That, too, is a bit symbolism I hadn't noticed, but it's important.


And yes, Alice in Wonderland and its sister are two great works, for all that their author was CREEPY CREEPY, which have spawned some amazing reinterpretations in the last century or so. (I have fond memories of Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat, although the rest of that production wasn't quite as good.) This is definitely one of the best.

I had gotten away from it, but it's one of those books/stories that has meant a lot to me. In college, my group of friends had a loosely Doctor Who based fanfiction writing universe which allowed us to pick up characters from any different fandom ("if the character has appeared to have died in their world, you can 'rescue' them" was the usual rule).

My time lord had a TARDIS whose AI had gone mad, and it spoke almost entirely in Lewis Carroll quotes and referred to itself as Alice. (Its proximity alert warning was "You'll be catching a crab directly!" for example.) The TARDIS was called the Teacup and appeared/disappeared with the sound of breaking china. My best story had Alice defeating a rogue Klingon ship by using the Next Gen Enterprise's replicators to flood the Klingon ship with "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot."

Edited at 2010-07-17 05:00 pm (UTC)
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