Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tim Burton's Alice in Mashupland

There's a something of a brouhaha over Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland because yet again the director has strayed from the original source material. Given critical opinion of 'Planet of the Apes'*and to an extent 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' this is understandable. Burton and sci-fi did not work, while C&C Factory was a good fit for Burton but what was with the excessive CGI Oompa Loompa/s?

A conspicous portion of American McGee's Alice PC game concept seems to be incorporated into Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. The major plotline is closer to the game than Lewis Carroll's books: An adolescent Alice returns years after her first adventure in Wonderland to find The Red Queen/Queen of Hearts has taken over. She must ultimately fight her and free all her Wonderland friends from tyranny. Carroll's Alice was only 6 years old, fought no one and - though she tried at every opportunity - failed to successfully befriend anyone in Wonderland except for the Cheshire Cat. She did fair better in Looking-glass Land.

The Red Queen is not the Queen of Hearts, but two separate characters in different books - in the film they are merged into one. In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts rules Wonderland and is based on the queen from a deck of playing cards. Her sister is the Duchess and mother of the baby who turns into a pig. In Through the Looking Glass, the Red Queen is from Looking-glass Land and based on the queen from chess. Her ditzy sister is the White Queen.

Announcement, 2007
digital collage

Film adaptations of Caroll's two Alice books usually combine both stories but use Wonderland as the dominant thread with most of the characters from Wonderland. The talking flowers, Tweedledee and Tweedledum are examples of Looking-glass characters which are often incorporated into such productions. Hatta and Haigha are Looking-glass versions of the Mad Hatter and the March Hare sans teaparty. There are few film adaptations of Through the Looking Glass. Perhaps this is because while it is a good read, it doesn't have the same level of clever delight and originality found in Wonderland. Nonetheless the author recommends you read both because they don't write children's stories like this anymore.

In summary Tim Burton has taken his liberties with an existing story/ies but he isn't the first and he won't be the last. So sit back and enjoy the visual feast this movie is sure to be, and hopefully the 'reimagined' plot will follow!

*Third result when you google 'Planet of the Apes Burton'!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cocktail Recipe: The Polar Bear

Listening to: Happiness by Goldfrapp from Seventh Tree

Ah vodka how I love thee. Let me count the ways. 1, 2, 3, 4...
I came up with this new way, earlier this evening.

The Polar Bear
In a high ball glass build in the following order;
two or three scoops of lemon/lime sorbet,
a two or three fingers of vodka,
fill with soda water.
Stir with preferably with a metal straw-spoon -it is the biz and maximises ya fizz!.