[Warning! Spoiler alert! It was all a dream!]
When Lewis Carroll published a few thousand copies of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, with no hype or buzz, it received some mixed reviews. That’s one of the few things Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland has in common with Carroll’s original stories. The critics were out this week, and occasionally perceptive. As of this morning, the “top critics” that Rotten Tomatoes tracks average at about 59% (between rotten tomato and ripe tomato), with the general masses giving it about 53%. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times, one of my favorite critics to disagree with, had some interesting insight into the Alice Paradox in movies:
Her conclusion, however, is vague and baffling:
The great Roger Ebert, at the Chicago Sun-Times, admits he didn’t care for the books growing up, which possibly explains some of his strange tangents:
How could he not develop that shocking exposée? Who was the Duchess’s baby daddy? Is there a Mrs. Mock Turtle!? I wish Carroll was around to explain the laws of dream procreation.
One more quote, I’ll give Elizabeth Weizman of New York Daily News my highly coveted Saying Nothing Award:
This parsing of critics possibly to be continued… In the meantime, I have several questions:
-How come no one has discussed the influence of Miranda Richardson’s Queen Elizabeth I from BBC’s “Blackadder II” (1986) on Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen?
-Why was the Dodgson-esque figure named Charles at the beginning Alice’s dead father? What?
-Did the bizarre Chinese trade-route plot-line at the finale, which was guided on by the blue butterfly (née Caterpillar), have anything to do with opium (i.e., the possible contents of the Caterpillar’s pipe)? I know it was 2am and I had a headache from two hours of drinking wine in an IMAX with 3D glasses, but I think I may be onto a possible explanation for the otherwise unexplainable China thing.
I just noticed that Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland is rated PG “for fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.” Wonderful! Disney’s 1951 version, which also contains a smoking caterpillar, is rated simply G. Therefore, since All Scotchmen are Non-Dragons, and a fish with three rows of teeth is not to be despised, it would follow that it was not that hookah-smoking caterpillar which increased the rating from G to PG.
Smoking in movies is of course a contentious issue, with many organizations and websites tracking Hollywood for how it portrays tobacco use. (There’s something called the “Hackademy Awards”, presented by the Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, for smoke-free movies. Nine, for instance, got last year’s biggest Thumbs Down for “lavishly promoting cigarette and cigar smoking as emblems of sexiness, wealth, power, coolness and relaxation.”) Shisha is not something they come across very often, so I’m curious to see how this goes down.
Alan Rickman (the great actor famous for his Professor Severus Snape) is playing the voice of the Caterpillar in the new film!
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