Down the Rabbit Hole (Warning: Spoiler Alert)

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was very different to Disney’s animated version of the story. Having read both of Lewis Carroll’s books (Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass) I think that I can say that this movie is both like and unlike the books. It takes Alice’s story to a deeper, darker level- curiouser and curiouser- to the point.

Tim Burton likes the darker side to life typically, so I’m not surprised that Alice mistakenly calls it Wonderland when in the movie’s version it is actually called Underland. It has an interesting parallel between the light and the dark, the white queen and the red queen.

The movie is visually stunning and I have always loved Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter’s partnership in Burton’s movies. Mia Wasikowska as Alice was also a brilliant choice on Burton’s part. She is definitely an Alice- whether she is the real Alice… well, one can only speculate. Rumor has it that Burton actually wanted Anne Hathaway to play Alice and have Nigella Lawson play the White Queen because she was his inspiration for the character. True Story.

The film is truly based on the books but cannot be watched with the expectation that it will follow the books’ storyline in any way. Perhaps that is why I actually enjoyed the movie, because I was viewing it as a completely unique version of Carroll’s stories. It has a different take on Wonderland… Wonderland is all trippy and delicious whereas Underland is all dark and quirky. Both the movie and the books take you down the rabbit hole on an adventure that is scary and nonsensical at the same time.

The March Hare for me was absolutely hysterical! That rabbit looked as if he had survived being strapped to dynamite- brilliant, totally brilliant! The Red Queen and her massive head also had me in stitches. I was slightly disappointed with Anne Hathaway’s performance however. She looked stunning but I was waiting for some talent and grand acting. I just got looks. She was a poser in the movie, not an actress. Her role was completely overshadowed by the fantastically wondrous White Palace and the faithful hound.

In my mind I wanted Alice and the Mad Hatter to end up together. My friend Robyn gave me the idea while I was reading her blog post on the movie and I completely agree with her. Why did Alice leave wonderland? She could have stayed and her and the Hatter could have had weirdly wonderful babies and had a tea filled, hat making, rabbit chasing rest of their lives together. On the other hand I liked it that Alice didn’t end up with anyone. This may sound like women championing, feminist fluff but I don’t care. Alice didn’t need a man to end her story. She asserted her independence from that stereotype and went into a business venture instead- sailing off into the distance in style!

All in all I liked what Burton did in his movie but I also recommend that people read Carroll’s books. My friend Robyn said that Disney’s animated Alice in Wonderland was full of mean people and I see her point. The flowers called Alice a weed, the caterpillar had an anger problem, and the queen was out to get her head. Disney didn’t let poor Alice catch a break! I love them all.. I can’t choose! Anyone that can take me down the rabbit hole has automatically won me over because it is there, in that fantastic Wonder-under-land, that I never fail to have an absolute blast!


7 thoughts on “Down the Rabbit Hole (Warning: Spoiler Alert)

  1. Omg, are you kidding about Nigella as the White Queen?! She can barely hack her way through a basic cooking show, let alone a performance such as this one. I do see the resemblance though and how her look inspired Burton to sign on Anne Hathaway. You should add that bit about Nigella to Burton’s infloox page. I was just reading on their blog about how he is inspired by the artists and talent he works with on films.

    • Hey Liz,

      I was surprised about him wanting Nigella to play the White Queen too! I googled it last night and all these articles came up. In one of the articles he spoke about how warm and friendly she is in the kitchen but that she gets this glint in her eye.. hahaha, ok this is what he said about Nigella: “She’s really beautiful and she does all this cooking, but then there’s this glint in her eye and when you see it you go, Oh, whoa, she’s like really … nuts. I mean in a good way. Well, maybe. I don’t know.” Funny hey?!
      If you think about Anne Hathaway as Alice, well my immediate thought was that she’d make a really great Alice. She on the other hand did not want to play Alice because she said she’d been typecast in that type of role! Here is the link if you want to check that article out, it’s quite interesting!

  2. they would make hat wearing babies! fu fu fu what a wonderful visual. I think Anne Hathaway as Alice would have fit better if it wasnt a tim burton movie. she would make a wonderfully clumsy gawky alice but then that alice wouldnt fit with the darkness of burtons underland. and i like her as the white queen! why does everyone hate her in that role? true i’ve only watched it once, but i love her in the role. i mean u cant get creepier than this charming queen all sweet meek and mild, and she has a frikken TOE in her hand that she adds to a potion while she is saying that she doesnt believe in taking a life! and the march hare is EPIC i love crazy and he looks like he has been struck by lightening, jumped into the bath with a toaster and been chucked in a blender.

  3. I enjoyed the movie for its wonderful visual bliss. A pretty picture to look at. I think that the Red Queen would have to be my favorite character though. Anyways, Tim Burton I think blended aspects of the novels by Lewis Carrol, but more so I think that the movie was based on his poem, ‘The Jabberwocky”. Having known this poem (like the Geek I am) off by heart, I picked up each and every reference to it… which was practically the whole movie. So there you go everyone! Go read Lewis Carrol’s “The Jabberwocky” and you’ll see on which writings the movie is more firmly based on. Still a great idea. 🙂

    • I haven’t read that poem- “The Jabberwocky”.. it is interesting that he brought that into the story. Still, the movie is called Alice in Wonderland and you can see that most of the characters and the world itself was taken out of her novels. It looks like Burton is a Lewis Carroll fan!
      I was wondering where the Jabberwocky came from! Will have to keep my eye out for that poem 😀

      • The Jabberwocky:

        ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
        Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
        All mimsy were the borogoves,
        And the mome raths outgrabe.

        “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
        The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
        Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
        The frumious Bandersnatch!”

        He took his vorpal sword in hand:
        Long time the manxome foe he sought—
        So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
        And stood awhile in thought.

        And as in uffish thought he stood,
        The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
        Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
        And burbled as it came!

        One, two! One, two! And through and through
        The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
        He left it dead, and with its head
        He went galumphing back.

        “And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
        Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
        O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
        He chortled in his joy.

        ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
        Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
        All mimsy were the borogoves,
        And the mome raths outgrabe.

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