From the Department of Dubious Distinctions: It seems that Disney’s animated version of Alice in Wonderland has been named to the Rolling Stone list of “10 Best Movie Drug Trips.” I don’t think Lewis Carroll would have been pleased. But then, like many of us, he might find other reasons not to be pleased by Rolling Stone. I suppose we should be grateful it didn’t also make their “10 Best Stoner Films” list, as well. To read the full list, click me.
From the “knock me over with a tea tray” department comes news reported by one of our faithful Mimsy Minions: Johnny Depp is set to return as the Mad Hatter in Disney’s inevitable sequel to their shockingly successful 3D Alice in Wonderland. The new film, tentatively titled Into the Looking Glass, will be directed by James Bobin rather than Tim Burton. Screenwriter Linda Woolverton is again on board, so we can probably expect more of the same. But as she already used a number of Looking-Glass characters in the first film, it’s not clear what the cast of characters or plotline will be this time around. For more information, click here.
Here’s a review for a new gore-filled flick with a vague attempt at connections with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The film is called Alyce Kills but according to the review, the Carrollian connection is tenuous. You can read the write-up here.
In case you hadn’t already heard, regardless of what many Carrollians may have thought of Disney’s Tim Burton/Linda Woolverton Alice in Wonderland 3D flick, the film has grossed over $1 billion worldwide, so of course a sequel is in the works–penned yet again by Ms. Woolverton. Apparently the sequel will be “inspired” by Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Given that Ms. Woolverton has already shown her version of Alice “empowering” herself by slaughtering the Jabberwock (and drinking its purple blood, in true warrior style) in the first movie, one wonders what acts of violence Alice will be called upon to perform in the sequel to prove that she’s an “empowered” woman, with that pesky Jabberwock already out of the way. Perhaps she’ll actually carve the mutton? Perhaps she’ll carve up everyone in the banquet hall while she’s at it, for good measure. Or maybe the Jabberwock’s female partner will make an enraged appearance for the finale? One wonders whether Helena Bonham Carter will be asked back to fulfill the obligatory “evil Red Queen” role; she certainly was a highlight of the first film. And given that the second book includes the character of “Hatta” we can almost certainly count on seeing the wacky countenance of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter again. It would certainly be nice to have Mia Wasikowska back in the lead role; she lent considerable grace to the first effort. Let’s hope that this time around, Ms. Woolverton will at least entertain the possibility that Alice can take charge of things without drawing blood. You know, the way Lewis Carroll’s original Alice did. We can dream, can’t we?
“ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” spinoff — “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” — kicks off Thursday nights in the fall. In this update of the Lewis Carroll classic, two guys (okay, one’s the White Rabbit) save Alice from “a doomed fate” in which doctors want to “cure” her of her dreams of hookah-smoking caterpillars, fading cats and the handsome genie she’d fallen in love with while down the rabbit hole and thought she’d lost forever — which Carroll forgot to mention in the book.
The addition of this new drama, about Alice and her demon lover, to a lineup that also includes soaps “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” makes for a “powerful night of empowered women,” Lee told reporters on that phone conference call.
“Well, thank heaven for one good laugh today!” we replied, in our head.”
And in case you think this is some sort of late April Fool’s prank, dear Mimsy Minions, here’s the trailer:
Warner Home Video and BBC America have teamed up to release two Alice in Wonderland rarities on DVD. The first is the BBC’s 1986 production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland staring Kate Dorning as Alice, originally broadcast as a weekly series of four 30-minute episodes. The second is the 1973 production of Alice Through the Looking-Glass with Sarah Sutton as Alice. You can be sure you won’t find either of these on your local video streaming service. Both can be purchased from the BBC America Shop and are currently listed at a special “new release price” of $15.98. See below for links.
The door stops featured in Antiques Roadshow on PBS
In yesterday’s Summer TV round-up PART ONE, the evil ghost of Alice Liddell came back through the looking-glass in Syfy’s Warehouse 13. The characters in the show needed to use enchanted artifacts, such as the caterpillar’s hookah, to conquer the demon. Alice-related artifacts were also on a very different show this May, namely, Antiques Roadshow.
The popular PBSshow featured some lovely Alice in Wonderland carved door stops, appraised at $10,000-$15,000. The appraiser, Noel Barrett, said, “Alice in Wonderland is so much a part of our culture. And this imagery is just ingrained. And what to me is really exciting is, in carved wood, whoever created these did a masterful job of adding dimension to the wonderful Tenniel illustrations, which of course are touchstone imagery of Alice.” The guest originally paid $100 for them at an estate sale. More pictures and a transcription of the appraisal are here.
Last week, a show called Face Off, also on Syfy, had an episode called “Alice in Zombieland.” Face Off is a stage make-up competition, sort of like Iron Chef but with the contestants making monster masks. In this episode, “the contestants find themselves in the gorgeous Descanso Gardens where McKenzie tells them that the challenge this week is a mash-up between Alice in Wonderland and zombies. Some artists are psyched, but Sarah, who grew up in a Mennonite community, is stumped. At a loss for how to turn the Cheshire Cat into a zombie, she consults Nicole, who tells her to just mash it up.” This episode can also be watched online in HD on Amazon Instant Video for $1.99.
There pictures below were taken from FearNET TV, where there is a detailed review of the episode.
A still from Syfy’s Face Off, episode 304 “Alice in Zombieland,” from FearNET TV.
A still from Syfy’s Face Off, episode 304 “Alice in Zombieland,” from FearNET TV.
And now a look into the future of Alice television!
On the CW network, look for a cop drama based on Alice in Wonderland. You read that correctly. “Alice will be a modern-day big city detective,” reports Entertainment Weekly. “In this version, Alice discovers a fantastical world beneath Los Angeles. The working title is Wunderland (yes,with a ‘u’).” EW concludes, “What could go wrong?”
And finally, big news from Comic-Con. Last year we joked about the fact that the prequel to Zenoscope’s “Return to Wonderland” was called “Alice in Wonderland.” Indeed, the books have been among the top ten independent comics of the past few years. Now, the news from Comic-Con is that the television rights for the whole Zenoscope series were won by Lionsgate, apparently following a “six-studio bidding war.” Look for Alice Liddell’s busty ass-kicking daughter to enter a mad Wonderland on a major network sometime in the next few years. The entire series of Zenoscope novels are available at Amazonand where all fine comics are sold.
Lewis Carroll made a few cameos on television this summer.
BBC’s Inspector Lewis, on Masterpiece Mystery (also on PBS in America), had an episode in Season V called “The Soul of Genius.” The dead body in this whodunit was a professor obsessed with The Hunting of the Snark, and of course the Inspector has to delve into the poem to search for clues, i.e. a “legendary riddle hidden in Carroll’s philosophical story of an impossible quest for the unknowable.” Oxford’s Botanical Gardens are also visited. Here’s the trailer from the PBS website:
I’m not sure when PBS reruns it, but it is already available on DVD at Amazon.com, where it received mostly five-star costumer reviews, and is already available on Netflix(Season 5, Disc 1.)
Over on basic cable, Syfy’s Warehouse 13 had a creepy mystery involving Lewis Carroll’s mirror, which aired August 27. The trailershows the protagonist finding the Looking-Glass in the warehouse, and accidentally unleashing an EVIL SPIRIT from the other side, namely the “murderous” ghost of Alice Liddell.
Syfy’s websitehad further description of the plot:
Evil dead Alice Liddell, in the Warehouse 13 episode “Fractures.”
[...] Almost immediately, a ping comes in that a young woman has transformed from her meek self to a salacious thug. By the time Pete and Myka realize that Alice Lidell escaped from Lewis Carroll’s mirror – and the mirror somehow got out of the Dark Vault – they realize that she’s also able to jump from body to body using a shard of the broken mirror. [...] Artie narrowly escapes the attack from a waitress, possessed by Alice, but once outside, he and Vanessa confer with Pete and Myka. Artie won’t explain how he knows, but says that Alice is there to kill him. They call back to the Warehouse and direct Jinks and Claudia to find a trapping artifact – a hookah that appeared in “Through the Looking-Glass” [sic]- so they can re-contain Alice.
Even if you missed the first-run on TV, this episode “Fractures” can be watched online in HD on AmazonInstant Video, for $2.99.
A bandersnatch was in the news today, but it was widely assumed to be a typo. The actor who plays the titular role in BBC One’s Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, had his already-Carrollian-sounding name apparently spectacularly autocorrected by the Washington Post into “Bandersnatch Cummerbund.” Thanks to @Alex_Ogle on Twitter for the picture before. Anyone hoping for a sober correction – something along the lines of “The Washington Post deeply regrets mistakenly printing the name of the actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Bandersnatch Cummerbund blah blah blah” – will be disappointed. The Post responded that it was not a typographical error, and issued the following statement:
UPDATE: It has come to our attention that there is raging debate, in re whether we intentionally referred to Benedict Cumberbatch as Bandersnatch Cummerbund in The TV Column and blog.
MSNBC.com’s Alex Johnson, a gentleman and a scholar (and former Post staffer), leapt to our defense, noting I correctly identified Cumberbatch on first reference in the column item, and explaining that we are “a titan of snark” who “gets away with that kind of stuff all the time.”
Johnson was perhaps recalling the time, back in 2009, when Politico wrote about the sorry state of The Washington Post’s copy editing, citing something we had written about “American Idol” in which host Ryan Seacrest was called “Seabiscuit” – until some people explained to the author in the comments section, that we had used the nickname for Seacrest during many years of “American Idol” recapping. (The report vanished from the Web site).
But Poynter’s Craig Silverman, a skeptic, bet Johnson a beer on it, asking Johnson, like he meant it to sting, did he think the Post’s copy desk would let that through without any kind of wink to readers.
Silverman owes Johnson a beer.
But, we would like to give credit where credit is due. The nickname “Bandersnatch Cummerbund” originated with one of the serious students of television who join me each Friday to chat about all things TV. And that person would no doubt want to give credit to Lewis Carroll, who first wrote about the “frumious Bandersnatch,” in “Jabberwocky,” in the late 1800’s. We loved it then, we love it now. Oh — and, wink wink!
Call to artists to represent the Tulgey Wood monster wearing a tuxedo sash.