Alice is a daydreaming young girl. She finds learning poems and listening to literature boring. She prefers stories with pictures and to live inside her imagination. One day, while enduring just such a poetry reading, she spots a large white rabbit...dressed in a jacket and carrying a large watch. He scurries off, saying he's late, for a very important date. She follows him through the forest. He then disappears down a rabbit hole. Alice follows, leading her to all manner of discoveries, characters and adventures.Written by
[reading from a history book]
"... leaders, and had been of late much accustomed to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the Earls of Mercia and Northumbria, declared for him: and even Stigand..." Alice.
[camera zooms out to show Alice sitting in a tree, playing with Dinah and making a crown of daisies]
Hmm? Oh, I'm listening.
"And even Stigand, the archbishop of Canterbury, agreed to meet with William and offer him the crown. William's conduct at first was moderate."
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A 1987 airing on ABC made the following cuts:
1) Alice's song "In a World of My Own".
2) After Alice left the Caucus race, there was a commercial break. Following the break, the film picked up at the garden of live flowers scene. This means that the scene with Tweedledum and Tweedledee and the Walrus and the Carpenter and the scene in the White Rabbit's house were cut.
3) The Cheshire Cat's first scene was cut, meaning that his first appearance was not until after the Tulgey Woods scene.
4) Several of the creatures in the Tulgey Woods scene were removed, and so was the simultaneous song "Very Good Advice".
5) The entire trial sequence was cut, going from the croquet game straight to the final chase.
Row Row Row Your Boat
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Timeless magic of warped genius.
Most films age over time. In 20 years will Titanic still be as amazing as it was in 1998? Will Jurassic Park still have people gawping open mouthed at the cinema screen? I think not. Its a rarity, but sometimes, just sometimes, there comes a movie that is timeless, magical and eternal, one such film is Alice in Wonderland.
It seems to me, when watching most Disney films, that Walt Disney had an evil masterplan to mess with the minds of children, young and old. Dumbo is a film about an outsider, Pinocchio is a film about a freak child who cannot stop lying. Walt only made these films family viewing through constantly having a moral ending. Dumbo can fly and Pinocchio is rewarded for risking his life to save another, however, these moral endings do not disguise the fact that, at times, Disney films were quite peculiar.
Alice in Wonderland on the surface is a dreamlike fantasy about a child nodding off and visiting a wonderful wonderland where flowers sing, caterpillars smoke and rabbits talk. However, similarly to Blue Velvet, this film is not about the surface values, its is about the dark, seedy undertones that exist beneath the aesthetic surface.
Below its surface lies a wealth of wholly unlikeable and unhelpful creatures. Aside from the King (Hooray) of Hearts, each character only serves to hinder Alice in her attempts to come to terms with her warped dream. The Cheshire Cat is responsible for putting Alice in court, the White Rabbit wants to have Alice destroyed when he finds her at his home, the flowers shun Alice when they incorrectly perceive her to be a common garden weed, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare also shun Alice for no reason whatsoever, this list is as long as the tunnel that leads Alice into her Wonderland.
To look back at the film nowadays, one could surmount that the ending is nothing more than a cop-out (these thoughts were true for Lynch's Boxing Helena). She dreamt it all along is nothing more than saying, here, we'll give you licence to create a magical world, no boundaries because it all exists inside a young girls mind.
I'll admit this review might seem overly critical of the film, but it is for these warped reasons and the context of what the film represents or least what it should represent that I absolutely adore it. Walt Disney might have had a masterplan to screw with the minds of his children, but I say, good luck to him. A subtle undertone to the magical shell of the movie shows that the yolk is in fact sour. I daren't but will compare this movie to Adrian Lyne's Jacob's Ladder, another film about a false surface level and the warped undertones of life and death.
Sleep is only a state of mind, it's what happens in this state of mind that really matters. Or at least, what mattered to Walt.
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