Behind Shattered Glass – help fund a new indie Wonderland film

The website indiegogo.com is a good place to raise money for an independent art project. Some filmmakers in San Francisco – Chandra Reyes (Writer/Director), Laura Chenault (Director of Photography), and Jorna Tolosa-Chung (Co-Producer) – are campaigning there for a future Carroll-derived indie movie, Behind Shattered Glass. Their creative vision is written for their campaign:

The film is about a young woman who, with the sudden loss of her love, takes sanctuary in a new strange world. Deep in this wonderland she discovers an elusive Man in White who tempts her to follow him down a dark path. There she encounters many other frightening characters who threaten to keep her in Wonderland. Will she break free from his hypnotic trance or is history destined to repeat itself even deep within her own imagination?

I believe that every filmmaker that grew up reading or watching Lewis Carroll’s fairy tale has an Alice in Wonderland story within them that needs to be told. Carroll’s story is about a girl who’s curiosity leads her into strange and new places that she’s not all that ready to be led into. It’s a story we all can identify with. In my reimagining Alice is no longer a young naive girl, but a woman who is stuck making the same mistakes over and over again. Wonderland isn’t just her sanctuary, its her opportunity to break free. [continue reading]

As of today, they’re only $266 out of a proposed $2k. There’s perks to investing in this project, besides feeling good about helping someone enter another looking-glass. For $25 you get a poster of the film, for $50 you get that and a copy of the film, and yet greater thank-you prizes as the donations increase – ($500 gets you an illustrated version of the script.)  Follow progress of the movie on twitter at @bshatteredglass and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/behindshatteredglass.

Review of a Review: “The Nostalgia Critic’s Torture through Care Bears’ Wonderland”

For our next segment, we welcome guest blogger Emily R. Aguilo-Perez from the University of Puerto Rico, who incidentally will be speaking at the LCSNA’s Fall 2011 meeting in New York City. She graciously volunteered her services to review That Guy with the Glasses‘s review of The Care Bears Adventures in Wonderland (1987):

Original movie poster for The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland (1987), from Wikipedia

I wasn’t aware of the existence of the movie (if it can be called that) called The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland, but the Nostalgia Critic, from the website That Guy with the Glasses has done a hilarious review of it in his newest episode, and I think you will enjoy it. When I was a little girl, I used to love the Care Bears, and I still find them cute. I also still love the Alice stories, so I was a little excited when learning there is a movie that combines the Care Bears and Alice. The excitement towards the movie quickly diminished. Here’s why. Although I haven’t watched the whole movie, the clips from the review were enough to help me form an opinion, one that isn’t too positive, but I will let you be the judges of that. I do want to point out some things about the movie before commenting on the Critic’s review.

  1. The stories have changed. What a surprise! Alice visits Wonderland but her adventures are completely different from the books. Are they better than the book, you ask? I think we all know the answer to that.
  2. There is one thing I like about this movie (“like” might be too much of a compliment). I should say, there is something I don’t dislike so much about the movie: the Queen is not evil, so it moves away from the usual “evil witch, evil women” most children’s stories present. The Queen might be, as one of the commenters observes, a version of one of the Queens from Looking-Glass but which uses the idea of the Queen of Hearts because she is more recognizable.
  3. This is the most important point. WARNING: After watching the movie clips some of you might feel the sudden urge to poke your eyes out or chop your ears off because, get this… THERE IS A RAPPING PSYCHEDELIC CHESHIRE CAT!

What was up with the ‘80s and ‘90s and the constant need to rap? Ironically this is the character in this movie the Nostalgia Critic “kinda likes,” acknowledging that the bar has been set phenomenally low, so a rapping cat sadly counts as an “up.” Not to give too much away, but if there is one reason to watch this review, it is actually to listen to all the rapping nonsense taking place, and the wonderful remix the Critic produces using other rapping animated artists from other not-so-wonderful movies. This is something the Critic does wonderfully: his references to pop culture, which include the Mario Bros. game and movie, Disney movies, other songs, and even Double Mint gum add to the hilarity of his review. In addition, when the fall into Wonderland occurs, the Critic makes reference to the Disney movie, not Tim Burton’s, but the animated feature from 1951. He refers to it as the “much better Disney movie.” This of course is a point of debate for many of us Lewis Carroll fans because there are very differing opinions about it. I do believe the Critic is referring to the animation in that movie, which was excellently executed and really brought Wonderland to life in a way that not a lot of movies have been able to.

At one point the Critic also comments on the names in the movies, indicating that the Princess’ name is Princess, the Queen’s name is Queen, and the Wizard’s name is… you guessed it, Wizard. This is not only funny but it also makes one think about the absurdity of the movie and makes one wonder how much thought the writers actually put into it. There is one character, however, which is given a name, but I will let you find out for yourselves and laugh at the absurdity, and of course laugh along with the Critic’s comments.

Amid the jokes and screams of frustration, the Critic demonstrates his knowledge of the original books and the period in which they were created. For instance, there is a robot (yes, you read correctly) in Wonderland that needs to be destroyed for some reason. The Critic comments that this is “clearly fitting the Victorian-based novel that this hacked film was loosely based on, but hey, if Tim Burton can throw in breakdancing I guess Care Bears can throw in giant robots.” Robots in Wonderland? This movie seems to be a mixture of Wonderland, Looking-Glass, Care Bears, Transformers, and pure nonsense (and not the good nonsense only Lewis Carroll could so perfectly create). But I don’t want to spoil all the fun of watching the review, which is actually truly funny, and the “fun” of watching clips from the movie. So I will leave you with these wise words about the movie from the Nostalgia Critic himself: “Not only do they insult the intelligence of the younger audience watching this, but now they insult the intelligence of the timeless Lewis Carroll books…” Enjoy!

Warning: This contains some spicy language!
Furthermore, our blog posted That Guy with the Glasses‘ review of Alice in Wonderland a few years ago here. Additionally, someone has put the original on YouTube:

Happy 60th Anniversary of Disney’s 1951 Alice in Wonderland!

Enough Un-Anniversaries, July 28th is actually the day Disney’s Alice in Wonderland was released in 1951. To celebrate properly, we’ll re-post from reigning expert Matt Crandall’s excellent Disney Alice blog, vintagedisneyalice.blogspot.com, where he posted today images of a Disney comic book:

Mickey Mouse Weekly #585 from England – July 28th, 1951

Chapter 2 appears in the issue dated July 28th, 1951, the date of the US premiere and the official anniversary of the film’s release.

Second of the colouring competitions, this time featuring my favorite character, the Caterpillar!

Chapter 2 finds Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole and chasing the White Rabbit through a small door.  Guess we’ll meet the doorknob next time.

Again in this issue, beautiful painting not normally found in comic pages.  Wonder what happened to all this art?

Previously on Far Flung Knight: Now Available Again: Disney’s 1951 Alice in Wonderland

Stop-Motion Hunting of the Snark in 2012

Assuming the filmmakers don’t meet with a Boojum, there will be a British stop-motion animation of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark released in 2012. Our very own Andrew Sellon (LCSNA President emeritus) recorded some voice over work, including the role of the Judge!

The Hunting of the Snark is an animated feature about a group of strange individuals that embark on a voyage with the aim of capturing “The Snark,” regardless of the fact that none of them even know what it is, or how to catch it, the film is  directed by Saranne Bensusan with several other confirmed crew members.

Their website is here, there is a twitter you can follow for updates, and a facebook fan page. Here are a few pictures of the process:

Early version of The Baker

"Bathing machines"

Now Available Again: Disney’s 1951 Alice in Wonderland

If you recall, Disney re-released their 1951 animated feature Alice in Wonderland on DVD last year in conjunction with their new Tim Burton version: a “2-Disc Special Un-Anniversary Edition“. This is still available, and contains the following special features:

oReflections on Alice: Walt Disney labored for almost twenty years to get his vision of Alice in Wonderland on the screen. In this featurette, learn about how a exceptional group of talented individuals conquered the difficulties of translating Lewis Carroll’s beloved tale into a classic animated movie
oDeleted scene: Pig And Pepper: In the twenty years it was in development at the Walt Disney Studios, Alice In Wonderland went through many changes. This rare glimpse at a scene that was once considered for a 1939 version of Alice In Wonderland is narrated by the directors of The Princess And The Frog, and offers their informed perspective on how scenes come and go during the development of an animated movie
oRemastered and restored with an all-new transfer
oVirtual Wonderland Party activities including riddles, silly song & dance, Teapot orchestra, Mad Hatter Says, and other games and stories
o”Thru the Mirror” animated short with Mickey Mouse
o”I’m Odd” never before heard song
o2 Sing along songs
oSet-top game
o”One Hour in Wonderland” documentary (60 mins.)
o”An Alice Comedy: Alice’s Wonderland” featurette (8 mins.)
o”Operation Wonderland” featurette (11 mins.)
oExcerpt from “The Fred Warring Show” (30 mins.)
oDeleted Material Featurettes: “From Wonderland to Never Land,” “Song Demos,” Deleted Storyboard Concept: Alice Daydreams in the Park”
oOriginal Walt Disney TV introductions and trailers

Kathryn Beaumont with Walt Disney c. 1949

Now, on February 1st, Disney is issuing again their 1951 animated feature Alice in Wonderland, a “Two-Disc 60th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD Combo“. We look forward to 2012′s Special 61st Re-Un-Anniversary Edition. In the Knight Letter 85 (now available!), we mentioned that Kathryn Beaumont, “voice of both Disney’s Alice and Wendy from Peter Pan, appeared at the Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco on May 22, 2010, to share her memories as a voice-over artist. The actress, who turned 72 [last] year, was recently heard in the video game ‘Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep’ as the voice of ‘Kairi’s Grandma.’ She will also be introducing the special feature ‘Through the Keyhole: A Companion’s Guide to Wonderland’ in the digital remastering of the 1951 film to be re-re-re-re-released in February 2011.” I do not know if this 2011 edition is significantly more remastered than the 2010 edition, but for shopping comparison, I’ll quote the full special features on the new one also:

o New BD Features
o Through the Keyhole: A Companion’s Guide to Wonderland – View the movie in this special mode and discover references to the original Lewis Carroll classic – introduced by the voice of Alice, Kathryn Beaumont.
o Disney View – Watch the movie in this expanded viewing experience with new Disney art in the wings of the screen
o Painting the Roses Red game – Help paint the roses red in the Queen’s garden. Careful, or someone could lose their head
o Walt Disney color TV introduction (1959) – A never-before-seen color TV intro by Walt
o Reference Footage: Alice and the Doorknob – Kathryn Beaumont provides an introduction to this newly discovered reference footage of Alice talking to the doorknob
o Pencil Test: Alice Shrinks – Kathryn Beaumont introduces a newly discovered pencil test of Alice shrinking
• PLUS, Classic DVD Features:
o Reflections on Alice
o Operation Wonderland (now in hi-def)
o “I’m Odd” newly discovered Cheshire Cat song and intro
o Thru the Mirror Mickey Mouse animated short (now in hi-def)
o One-hour in Wonderland
o An Alice Comedy: Alice’s Wonderland
o Original theatrical trailers (1951 & 1974)

So, lots of new stuff! But, for some reason, not all of the stuff from the 2010 release. If you want to read more about Beaumont’s appearance at the Disney Family Museum last year, there was an article about it on blog Disney Fan Insider here.

Possibly Lousy Documentary on the Market

This has been out for a year, but it’s the first time it came across our desk. The LCSNA member who forwarded it to us suspected that it was “execrable.” It’s a 2009 low budget documentary called Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll ($24.95) directed by Not Provided and starring Artist Not Provided. (Personally, I prefer their earlier work.) I would never judge harshly without seeing it, but luckily there are some Amazon.com customer reviews which have done that for me, with some disturbing facts about the movie’s mistakes:

“Worse than just a boring, repetitive ripoff off old biographies, this film ‘stars’ the director’s daughter mugging for the camera over and over. The director’s own bias towards the mystical warps Lewis Carroll into some chemical character. The most awful part here is the terribly Photoshopped picture of Lewis Carroll embracing and kissing Alice Liddell !? This is shown maybe 10 times throughout the film. If there is a Liddell or Dodgson estate extant, they should sue. ” -B. T Weddleton

“…it is filled with misinformation. For one example, every time the narrator discusses the family of Alice Liddell, a picture is shown of Carroll with the wife and children of George MacDonald, another Victorian author.” -Melody Green

Anyone else who has seen it, please leave your thoughts in the comments. And, since there’s no record of it on imdb or elsewhere, can anyone supply a name for the anonymous people responsible for this project?

Do feminists slay Jabberwocks?

Issue 48, Fall 2010, of Bitch Magazine, “The Make-Believe Issue,” includes “Alice in Adaptation-Land—How wanderer Alice became warrior Alice, and why.”

In the well-written article, Kristina Aikens makes the interesting point that the Carroll’s curious Alice is more of a feminist icon than Burton’s Alice that puts on armor, kills the Jabberwock, and seeks to colonize China.

Marilyn Manson's Phantasmagoria disappears like a little ghost

Many Lewis Carroll lovers have been awaiting Marilyn Manson’s promised Dodgson movie with varying degrees of dread. The latest news, according to contactmusic.com, is that the studio has shelved the project:

Lily Cole & Marilyn Manson

Viewers were left shocked after disturbing clips from The Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll hit the internet, with the 22 year old [Lily Cole] appearing as Alice [Liddell] in a story about the Alice In Wonderland author.

Studio bosses have since decided to shut down the entire project, which was directed by goth rocker Marilyn Manson and also stars Tilda Swinton.

A source tells Britain’s Mail on Sunday, “The trailer caused such a backlash that a decision was made to close down the project. It’s unlikely it will ever see the light of day.”

According to the publication, the film is now officially on ‘indefinite production hold’.

Of course, sometimes studio suppression can increase interest (remember Terry Gilliam’s Brazil?), especially with a famous director and juicy controversy – but, at least for the time being…. phew?

From Brazil with Theremin: a new soundtrack for silent 1903 Alice

When our cousins the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil held their first “Alice Day” in May this year, one of the main events was the live performance of a new soundtrack to the silent Alice in Wonderland (1903). The music was composed by Paulo Beto and performed by the band Frame Circus on keyboards, cello, percussion and Theremin.

Thank you to Adriana Peliano for sending us news of the event. Adriana tends Alicenations, the blog of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil. The above video featured in her Alice Day blog post, along with another soundtrack by Frame Circus, and a video of Leon Theremin playing his own instrument.

Dalí's Alice in Wonderland featured on Pawn Stars

There’s an interesting anecdote in a June 4th 2010 New York Times article about Pawn Stars, a History Channel television show about Las Vegas’s Gold and Silver Pawn Shop.

Shelby Tashlin of Las Vegas walked to the counter clutching a boxed edition of “Alice in Wonderland” containing an etching and 12 lithographs by Salvador Dalí. Ms. Tashlin’s opening thrust: the Dali prints were limited in number. Mr. Harrison’s parry: “He’s pretty well known for fudging numbers.” Mr. Harrison spoke about etching versus lithography and allowed that Dalí and Lewis Carroll were a “wonderful combination.” Then it was time for business. Ms. Tashlin wanted $10,000. Mr. Harrison asked if she had taken a little blue pill, and offered $5,000.

She politely declined and walked away still clutching “Alice in Wonderland.” “I was hoping it would go the other way, but I’m not surprised,” she would tell a reporter later.