Friday, March 26, 2010

Five weirder "Alice in Wonderland" varients

(Note that this was pushed back a bit from last week, thanks to the email from IF-X. And, once again, OMG YAAAAAY!!!)
When I say "weirder" adaptations of Alice in Wonderland, I mean probably weirder. I'm really not all that jazzed about "Tim Burton in Wonderland" though some of the nonhuman character designs are a lot of fun. (Honestly, this looks like the kind of movie Tim Burton could make in his sleep now, and as Sam Adams mentioned in this recent AVQ&A, it's very sad that in the last few years, Burton has "managed to rid his work of anything vaguely inventive or personal while still keeping up the facade of being the goth kid who sits alone at lunch.")
There is something about Lewis Carroll's Alice books that makes people want to do adaptations that play hard and loose with the source material.
I'm limiting myself to five today, though I can certainly think of more (for example, you can't technically say that "Lost" and "The Matrix" AREN'T adaptations -however loose- of "Alice" can you?)
This is certainly not the first Disney take on Wonderland. But while everyone knows the 50's "Alice", and Disney fans are generally aware of the early "Alice' shorts, one Disney take has faded into obscurity. In the year 1990-ish, the Disney Channel announced a new series for young children. This was around the same time Disney/MGM Studios was still in use as a working television/film/animation studio and was essentially the Disney Channel's headquarters. A massive set was built upon a soundstage in the Studios, and the series "Adventures in Wonderland" was born:

Answering the inevitable question: yes, the early 1990's really were like this. Giant anthropomorphic rabbits and everything.

I've already discussed "Dreamchild" over at
The Realm. Sadly, the film is not available at Netflix (which doesn't even seem to have even heard of it). Fortunately, a kind soul on YouTube has uploaded the utterly terrifying tea party scene, so I can spread the Nightmare Fuel around. (I am indeed giving this a very serious Nightmare Fuel warning. Kids, stay far away. Adults, don't watch this late at night.)
EDIT: "Dreamchild" has recently appeared in among Netflix's instant-watch options. Enjoy.
Speaking of Nightmare Fuel. There's also the odd tendency to want to make scary, dark and edgy versions of Alice's adventures and of all the Wonderland characters. When most 80's kids think of weird versions of the Alice books, their minds immediately go to
this little slice of childhood trauma (again, not embedding this because, seriously, between the creepy mirrors, the parents ignoring Alice, and the monster -however cheesy the costume is- popping up in the dark hallway, the scene seems coldly designed by committee to scar a child for life). What's especially weird about this version is that this one scary scene comes right the f**k out of nowhere; the overall tone of the miniseries was upbeat and whimsical up to this point. But you can expect to say, "What the hell" at least once during the cast list in the opening credits.
Thankfully the next two weird "Alices" are far more lighthearted throughout. This was something my sister and I watched one Easter morning for some reason. This little slice of crazy stars Mr. T as the Jabberwocky. That's probably all you need to know.
Skipping right to the middle for you. This is because, as you will see, their Humpty Dumpty is... different:

And rounding out our journey through Wonderland is yet another 80's oddity. Even as a kid sitting in the theater, I thought, "This feels like the studio wanted to make an Alice in Wonderland movie, and then for the hell of it they stuck in their most famous characters." It's not hard to find the full film on Youtube:

Quick movie review. I watched "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and I thought it was cute. Yes, cute. Cute is not a bad thing. It's charming and whimsical, I love the herky-jerky low-tech stop-motion animation, and I'm curious enough to see Wes Anderson do more animated films. Also, it's interesting how the more derived adaptations of Roald Dahl books are better as movies. (If you're not sure what I mean, watch "Willy Wonka" and then watch "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". I am not talking about the nostalgia filter here.) By the way, "Mr. Fox" is fine for kids, though I wonder what kids will think of it.
And in case you missed it, there's a fun review of an old "Simpsons" episode (it happens to be one of my favorites) that turns into a meditation on the use of pop-culture references over at the Onion AV Club.
Sketch of the Day!
3.17.10 - Sketchbook Page
Hocus Crocus Alimagocus!!!
Feederwatch Friday!
Rock Pigeon 3
Mourning Dove 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 4 (!!!)
Tufted Titmouse 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
American Robin 2
Song Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 1
House Sparrow 20
Next week: Four-Part Walt Disney World Trip Report!!!


Zachary said...

Kids will be bored to tears, as I was. Wes Anderson turned the lovely book into a typical Wes Anderson movie with lots of awkward family moments. That's his WHOLE CAREER. My distain for his films knows no bounds. I went into Mr. Fox thinking there was no possible WAY he could screw up an 80-page book, but hey.

Somebody needs to make "Very Hungry Crocodile" movie.

iheartkatamari said...

I actually watched all 8 parts of "Alice Through the Looking Glass" on Youtube a couple of weeks ago, and it was, indeed, pretty sweet!(Tweedledee & Tweedledum are body builders? LOL! :D) Another interesting note regarding it, BTW, is that Phyllis Diller(complete with her raucous laugh and equally raucous sense of humour) played the White Queen. IMHO, the Care Bears version was also pretty nifty, even for non-Care Bears fans. Oh, BTW, another version I might recommend(albeit one that's not as weird as the others on this list) is the Hanna-Barbera version, "What's a Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This", which features, among other things, the cutest little White Rabbit and Sammy Davis Jr. as the Cheshire Cat.