Friday, March 5, 2010

A Very Important Date

Magnet # 184:  Meredith Dillman's Alice

Material:  Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased By:  Me

After years of anticipation, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland finally opens today in theaters. It's almost hard to believe it's taken the filmmaker this long to finally tackle the classic tale - Burton and Wonderland have seemed a perfect match for ages. He's been making films for almost three decades and it's his fifteenth film, but I hope it means it will be that much better than if he'd made it ten years ago or so. He's collaborating with Disney on the movie, which is going to be a sequel to Carroll's original tales, rather than a straightforward adaptation. It takes place about ten years years after Alice's first trip to Wonderland, and she is now 19 years old with a mother and sister trying to marry her off to a suitor she doesn't care for soon after her beloved father's death. She has forgotten all about her previous visits to Wonderland, but at a party, she once again sees the White Rabbit and chases after him, falling into a hole. Back in Wonderland, she discovers the Red Queen has seized control and that others living there expect her to be their champion, defeating the tyrannical queen and even slaying the Jabberwock monster. From what I've seen of the trailers, it looks like this is going to be a great film. The costumes are gorgeous and the sets look wildly appropriate for the tale - all in all, it should be visually stunning. And Burton has gathered a very talented cast. Relative newcomer Mia Wasikowska stars as Alice with Burton film regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carther joining her as the Mad Hatter and Red Queen, respectively. And plenty of other talented actors appear in the film, such as Anne Hathaway, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, and Crispin Glover. This may be Burton's best film yet (though I must admit, I'm quite fond of his 2003 film Big Fish).

Ever since Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was first published in 1865, Lewis Carroll's creations have gone on to become beloved literary icons and have inspired countless film and television adaptations, literary sequels, and have been highly influential to future writers. Some might argue that Wendy might have never flown to Neverland, Dorothy might have never landed in Oz, and Lucy might have never entered the doorway to Narnia without Alice's previous adventures.  There have been over twenty direct film adaptations of Alice's original stories and so many films, songs, comics, and television shows and episodes have borrowed from the story that's nearly impossible to count them all.  Talented artists like Salvador Dali, Arthur Rackham, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, and, of course, Meredith Dillman, have all taken a shot at depicting Carroll's classic tales.  I must admit, my favorite adaptation of Wonderland and its denizens is in the 1985 music video "Don't Come Around Here No More" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Tom Petty plays the Mad Hatter in a somewhat disturbing video where he torments the terrified girl.  Sure, it's kind of dated and the ending is a little gruesome, but this is one great music video.  Tom Petty is a perfect choice to play the Mad Hatter and coming after him, Johnny Depp has a pretty big hat to fill.  Of course, he also starred in one of Petty's music videos - "Into the Great Wide Open," another really good one.  Anyway, we now have another Alice story to add to the trove.  Soon enough, we'll know how Burton's take on Wonderland measures up - here's hoping he does the mythical land and its creator proud!

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