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'Twas brillig and the slithy film

Showtime with Sasha

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POSTED: December 10, 2010 8:57 a.m.
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Fanciful character prance through a fanciful landscape.

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Today’s topic is a well-known children’s tale that has undergone a major Hollywood makeover.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

So begins the “Jabberwocky,” the poem by Lewis Carroll that comes from his sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, titled “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.” I didn’t realize there were two different books nor that the Jabberwock isn’t actually mentioned in the original Alice in Wonderland.
That doesn’t seem to bother Tim Burton any. In his 2010 CGI-enhanced offering, “Alice in Wonderland,” he uses his gothic cinema wizardry to reinvent the classic tale, complete with a henchman knave and a monstrous jabberwock. Alice is currently available on DVD and digital download.
The look of Burton’s film is amazing. He gives Alice’s story a logical, more fully developed setting (it’s probably even historically accurate) and puts a mild spin on things, in that this may not be Alice’s first time in “Underland,” which is how Wonderland’s inhabitants refer to the place. He also makes the audience question what is real. Alice has an important mission this time around and Burton embellishes the original tale here and there, such as with his invention of the character Bayard the Bloodhound.
While Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter seems excruciatingly detailed, I was most taken with the stroke of genius that is Anne Hathaway’s character, the White Queen. Her mannerisms and many of her lines are simply brilliant. Notice she carries her hands perpetually at shoulder height no matter what!
Having said all of that, I’m not a fan. I can’t put my finger on it, but in the end something was most definitely missing. I’m glad I watched, though.

 

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