Friday, December 19, 2008

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (and Through the Looking Glass)

Based on the various screen adaptations I've seen of it, I didn't expect to enjoy Alice's adventures much. The focus in the movies is always on how nonsensical everything is and I'm much too fond of Order to revel in episodic nonsense.

But I'm also fond of wordplay and what gets lost in the screen versions is how brilliantly clever Carroll was as it. It's a joy to watch him work.

Something else that gets lost on-screen is Carroll's point in writing the Alice books. Discovering that was one of the reasons I wanted to read them and I was pleased to learn that it's not nonsense purely for its own sake. But neither is it a condemnation of nonsense or a story about growing up (as Disney twisted it into). Rather, it's a celebration of childhood. There's no innocence lost here; only joy.

Alice will never grow up. Even if she were real, Carroll assures us that she would hold onto her sense of wonder, "gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days."

Makes me excited to see how Tim Burton handles it.

Five out of five bickering mice.

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