Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, gets its queens, as Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter are cast as the White Queen and Red Queen (“Off with their heads!”), respectively, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  Directed by Tim Burton, the new movie adaptation of Alice in Wonderland already stars Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as Alice.

Cynthia Turner’s Cynopsis – Cyn Kids 10/8/08

Sometime in the last two years, I blogged briefly about Burton’s development, or “revision”, of the Roahl Dahl classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I am a HUUUUUUUUUGE Dahl fanatic (did you know that there is a bridge on the Quay in Cardiff, Wales dedicated to him?  I have my picture with it, snuggling the plaque.  The man is brilliant). 

Roahl Dahl is something of an icon, and I have already made plans on naming SOME creature (whether it be pet or child) “Dahl” because I adore him.  Growing up – all I would ever read were Roahl Dahl books like Matilda & The BFG, The Twits & Danny the Champion of the World, Boy & Going Solo – I have several shelves more dedicated to the man’s masterpieces.  My least favorite of his work = Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, which seem to be the publics’ ideal pair. 

Having said that, I am a HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE Gene Wilder fan, and I absolutely loved Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, despite the fact it was considered a box office disaster when it was released in the 70’s.  I do know that Roahl Dahl had originally written the script for that movie, but then became displeased with something or other (probably direction), and recanted his support of the motion picture.  Dahl did not likey.  😦 

When Mr. Burton announced that he would be doing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – I was nervous.  Don’t mess with the classics, I said to myself.  But then… Once the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice came out, and I saw how beautiful it was (every still rivals a painting), I thought… okay, classics can be re-visited, but by the RIGHT people.  And Mr. Burton has a unique touch, a great gift, and could possibly give Dahl some peace, wherever he may be.  Big Fish was a great example of crafty filming and fun visuals – and I never watched it thinking “Ugh, CGI”.  FYI: I hate CGI, with a passion that rivals the heated flames of the sun.  I personally think CGI is a lazy tool for film making – i love the craftiness of muppets & props & thinking outside the box to get something done, instead of faking it.  I realize there is a LOT of talent & effort that goes into CGI, and I WILL concede to the fact that ON OCCASION it has been used to enhance and improve various parts of films.  But I can’t help but find it less-than-appealing to watch something that I was was real be proven IMPOSSIBLE because they had to use CGI to make it happen. 

So… Mr. Burton cast Johnny “Closest Thing to Damaged Perfection” Depp.  I love the man – Cry Baby is still one of my all time favorites (“It’s a shame about your face.” “What’s a’matter with my face? I’ve got character!”).  Since he had just ROCKED Jack Sparrow (and if you know me, you’ll know how much I am in love with the very essence of romantical literary pirates – or just playing pirates, or talking about pirates, arrrr arrrrgh etc), I thought – if ANYONE could take the top hat from Gene “Willy Wonka” Wilder, I think Johnny would be A # 1.

And then the movie came out.  And I hated it.  Ugh.  From the non-believable-candy-room (far too plasticy and shiny to be edible), to the fast-paced Oompa Loompa songs, to Willy “don’t turn your back on him, I think he’s a vampire” Wonka, to the whole sub-plot about a dad dentist… UUUGH.  And then the CGI. Boo. Boooooooooo.

I know it was successful, and I have heard HOW MUCH the tweens loved it (oh man, they used to go on and on and on about how great that movie was in the forums I’ve worked in). 

So you’ll understand my hesitancy ONCE AGAIN when I read Mr. Burton taking on yet another epic novel. 

I’ve mentioned in the past that I grew up ADD. You couldn’t sit me down long enough to read if you promised me an entire Toys’R’Us for myself – and trust, that would have been my number one unattainable wish as a kid.  The only books I was ever able to sit and actually read (cos I tried, oh heaven knows how much I tried to be a non-ADD kid – to the point of heart break, tears, and low low low self esteem), aside from Mr. Dahl, were JM Barrie’s Peter Pan, and Lynne Reid Banks books, Fudge & Super Fudge, and… Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Beyond the Looking Glass.  I LOVED LC.  Loved him (for as sick as I know realize that was…).  The Jabberwocky poem was the first literary ANYTHING I managed to memorize.  I often rotated between Carroll’s two Alice tales and JM Barrie’s Peter when I needed to read something for school. 

And here we are again – fabulous casting, Mr Burton’s unique touch, and one of the ‘sacred’ tales of youth.  Perhaps I will be more lenient with the CGI-insanity this time around because it is so fantastical (a bit unlike Charlie, simply because I really, really wish for a Candy sanctuary like to truly exist, and that book is about BELIEVING in the IMPOSSIBLE, where as Alice is all about imagination & dreams & surrealism). 

So let’s hope that Burton is able to knock this one out of the park… I’ve got MY fingers crossed.

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  1. October 8, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Considering that from what I just read online, I’m extremely UNexcited now. For it seems like it’s not following the original story (or stories) at all… it’s a hodgepodge of characters from both books with a new thru-line written for it. Of course, Hollywood changes quickly, so nothing’s for sure. But I just don’t see it as a good thing anymore.

    By the way, something that IS good is the new Peter Pan novel out.
    It’s different from all the rest – for each of those contradict Barrie’s original stories.
    The new book is faithful AND it’s based on Barrie’s idea for more adventure!
    Check it out…read it 🙂


  2. Burton Fan
    October 9, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I have fallen in love with all of Tim Burton’s films. I always have been, I grew up watching A Nightmare Before Christmas whenever I went to my grandparents house. Although my love for his films seems to continue to grow, I agree with your hesitation to be thrilled about Alice In Wonderland. Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory wasn’t one of my favorites. That film tickled my inner child’s side, but I still thought Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was much more representing of Roahl Dahl’s book. But Johnny Depp can pull of ‘dark’ characters better than any other actor I have ever seen, so I’m also keeping my fingers crossed.

  3. November 27, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Can’t wait to see this film – am abit of a Tim Burton fan as well as an alice fan.
    ‘I am eating BOTH sides of the mushroom’ – Jane Air

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