1) In this particular film version of Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice returns to Wonderland (retitled Underland) 13 years after her initial adventure, this time as a young woman about to be married. The film’s themes are of average fare. Good versus evil is represented through the feud between the white and red queens. The red queen’s evilness permeates her kingdom, with the forests and landscapes looking diseased and burnt. Another theme includes the traditional “nothing is impossible” mantra, as characters often come out and say just that. The evil jaberwocky is conquered by Alice’s affirmation of this belief.

 

2) The original book, Alice In Wonderland, is much less preachy than its movie iterations might suggest. It is more Dr. Seuss than it is Aesop Fables. Furthermore, the book’s charm is found in its clever writing. These techniques, such as playing on words, using a common saying in a backwards way, or logic puzzles, don’t translate well to film for two reasons. First, film relies heavily on visuals, whereas books rely on literary techniques – the two mediums have difficulties trading these techniques. Second, the modern audience doesn’t want to work for their payoffs. Instant gratification has become the norm for mainstream film, where audiences are held by the directors hand and walked through any difficulty they may encounter. Thus, the focus has been on the Carroll’s characters, whose translation to visual representation is more easily accomplished.

 

3)

http://www.myconfinedspace.com/2009/06/23/tim-burtons-alice-in-wonderland/

– A blog post, one of many, featuring screenshots prior to Alice in Wonderland’s release, as well as comments from users, mostly positive.

 

http://www.aeromental.net/2010/02/06/tim-burtons-drawings-for-alice-in-wonderland/

– A website featuring the concept art Burton drew for Alice in Wonderland.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/gallery/2009/jun/23/tim-burton-alice-in-wonderland-johnny-depp

This link is a synthesis of the first two. The web article features both Carroll’s and Burton’s conceptual drawings of Alice and her Wonderland. From bouncing around the web one gets the impression that Burton’s reboot is highly stylized, and that many were excited to see Alice in Wonderland through the dark director’s mind. This article is important for understanding the movie because it shows how important the visual arrangement is to the story; the costumes and characters aren’t simply whimsical and pretty pictures to look at, but actually serve a role in defining and advancing the story.

 

4) Quite a few critics and reviewers have called Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland a feminist fable. How is Burton’s film feminist? How is it not?:

When reading various reviews of Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, the one thing they all share in common, aside from a generally unenthused reception, is at least a mention of the feminist undertones Tim Burton’s reboot apparently contains. Sure, Alice’s (second) fall into Wonderland is set up at an arranged engagement ceremony for the heroine. Sure, she fights the “tyranny” of a predetermined fate, and rebels against any instance where someone decides for her. Yet, if one looks at the historical setting of the book, these “feminist” themes are unavoidable. The heroine is a woman, something predetermined by Carroll’s writing. Having decided to revisit the tale in Alice’s 20s, and being set in Victorian England, Burton’s choice of believable occupations for a young woman in these times are fairly scarce. Furthermore, throughout the body of the story, the main theme is overcoming boundaries, ones often set by society or one’s self. The jaberwocky is defeated by doing the impossible. Some reviewers seemed to think that “nothing is impossible” served to highlight the feminist struggle, but I believe Burton wanted it to be the other way around. After all, this is a children’s story, and Carroll’s books sought to show that preconceived notions are often baseless and arbitrary. Some feminist themes might be present, but if they are, they serve as one example of many to show that the impossible is often very possible.

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