I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit nervous about this movie. My family was never a big fan of Alice in Wonderland–it was just too weird. I think I saw the Disney version once at a friends house when I was very young and I’ve never read the book. However, my education on the matter has increased significantly in the last three years as a result of knowing Michele who loves Alice passionately (I would recommend checking out her blog, she has a lot of Alice-esque things on it right now in celebration). It’s a completely different experience when you know what to look for–what makes Alice so uniquely beautiful. When you know not to expect sanity in the least degree.
I thought it was extraordinary: I loved the relationship between identity and childhood. The connection between belief in the impossible and a worthwhile life. I love the relationships she builds with everyone in Wonderland from the Mad Hatter to the Bandersnatch. The costumes were a brilliant mixture of Burton and Victorian England. It had this amazing ability to tip toe back and forth between the line of nonsensical humor and ominous, warped reality. And Johnny Depp reciting the Jabberwocky was one of the most awe inspiring things I’ve ever experienced.
I could see it being a difficult movie to please. On one hand you have hard core Alice fans who feel like it’s been too Hollywood-ized. That complain the Mad Hatter isn’t mad enough and that they combined the characters of the Red Queen and the Queen of Hearts. And on the other hand you have people expecting another childrens film, or something along the lines of the Disney version, and that is most certainly not what this film is. The beauty is in the details, in the subtle dialogue that is testifying of something more than just Alice’s story. This is the magic of the story. This is why it matters. Don’t we all have our own wonderlands to escape to? Don’t we all learn something about ourselves as we sludge through them and eventually return? Don’t we all need a dream where we can be brave, where we can think of 6 impossible things before breakfast and watch them unfold before our eyes? Don’t we all want to know who we are? I certainly do.