Burton Visits Wonderland

What can one say?  Burton visits wonderland and makes it his own, and because he is such an engaging film maker with so powerful an imagination, I don't even mind.  He eviscerates the Alice stories and sews them back together with his magical thread and I find myself wanting more.

Really, the film probably should have been called Jabberwocky, because that is the core and the theme.  While the characters from the Alice books are all gathered round, they are gathered round the Frabjous day and the Jabberwocky holds pride of place in this story.

Even my son, who has become notoriously picky about deviations from the sacred canon of his books (when it come to film, excoriating the film makers for the liberties they took with  The Lightning Thief even while enjoying the film) I say, even my son loved this film, talking about it frequently and often seeking to parse and critique the auteur's choices.  "Did you notice the Queen of Hearts had heart-shaped lips?"  "Do you think it was necessary to have the jabberwocky's head bounce all the way down the steps?"  And so forth.

Dark--indeed far darker than Alice ever got (at least to this male reader--female opinions on Alice suggest that it is far darker for women than it is for almost any man--men seem to see the humor in the illogic and enter into the game fairly readily--women seem to think it the stuff of nightmares). In fact, my son and I were parsing the word "frumious" which Carroll himself apparently sees a a mix between fuming and furious.  But I pointed out that it was just as likely to be a mix between fruity and luminous.  My son solemnly cited the author, but I countered that once the word was made without formal definition it could mean anything I liked. His response, "Yes Humpty-Dumpty."  My wife chimed in with "Fuming and furious makes more sense."  Which opened the door to, "Well then it must be wrong, for in the world of Alice it must not make sense to make sense."  Her exasperated reply said it all.  But Son was right there with it, and I think the sense/unsense argument won him over to "fruity and luminous."  We both then speculated on why the combination might be particularly repugnant.

Ah well, off on a tangent.  I was telling you about Burton's film.  But perhaps the dialogue above tells you more than I could ever say in a straight narrative.

Go and see it.  Do not expect Alice, but Alice through the warped lookingglass that comprises every Burton film.  For him Roethke could have composed the words "Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire."  This is one man I'd love to have a conversation with sometime.

Splendid, enjoyable fun, for those inclined to allow themselves the liberty--highly recommended.


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