Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Post by EricJ » March 22nd, 2010, 12:57 pm

Ben wrote:It begs the question, doesn't it: what does it mean, to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I'm intrigued! ;)
(Well, no, not if you know what "begs the question" means...) :wink:

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Post by Ben » March 22nd, 2010, 4:35 pm

Touche!

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Post by LotsoA113 » March 22nd, 2010, 8:03 pm

To Charlie and The Chocolate Factory;noun; (Ch-arl-e and the Chocola-t Fact-or-e):To make a film that grosses 208 million dollars or one that is a less than stellar adaptation of another source.

See also: To Avatar- To Make the Number 1 film of all-time or to combine Ferngully, Delgo and an indian princess

Hope that clears up questions, Ben :wink:

And Droosan, the Charlie in question is the 2005 'un.
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Re: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Post by EricJ » March 22nd, 2010, 10:16 pm

LotsoA113 wrote:To Charlie and The Chocolate Factory;noun; (Ch-arl-e and the Chocola-t Fact-or-e):To make a film that grosses 208 million dollars or one that is a less than stellar adaptation of another source.
2. v. To snub or intimidate the fans of an overexposed culturally-loved movie by claiming it "wasn't true to the original" as defense for spending money on the "upgrade" of a CGI-enhanced remake, and then proceed to improvise an entire original unrelated script based on one or two pop-cultural associations with the previous better-known film version.
(ex. "I saw that new Clash of the Titans movie, but all they did was just Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a lot of 300 refs, because they didn't like stop-motion.")
Synonyms: "Return to Oz" (v),

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Post by Ben » March 23rd, 2010, 11:29 am

This is fun...I'm now glad I picked that out!

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Post by Ben » June 3rd, 2010, 6:41 pm

Well, going by our definition of what it means to Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, then Alice In Wonderland certainly doesn't. ;)

Here's our Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack review:
http://animatedviews.com/2010/alice-in- ... 0-blu-ray/

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Post by Foxtale » June 3rd, 2010, 9:22 pm

Great indepth review. It makes me really sad that the only way to get most of the special features now if by purchasing a Blu-ray DVD. One day maybe I'll have a Blu-ray player. ;P
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Re:

Post by EricJ » June 4th, 2010, 4:36 am

Ben wrote:Well, going by our definition of what it means to Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, then Alice In Wonderland certainly doesn't. ;)
Not unless they claimed it was "closer to capturing the spirit of the original book, in its own unique way"--
And then proceed to throw every revisionist potshot at everything they dimly remember as being "wrong" with the Disney animated version, and tell us how their new re-interpretation "improved" upon it....
In which case it would pretty well fit the Webster's definition.

(But, in fact, we know it's a Linda Woolverton script, in which case "to Linda Woolverton" would be to completely blue-sky a condescendingly 100% made-up Hollywood-screenwriter version of a story only dimly name-associated with the title, and throw any complexity or individuality out of the story by making the heroine a progressive persecuted-feminist saint who Solves Everybody's Problems For Them.
Which would also fit the definition.)

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Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Post by Dusterian » June 5th, 2010, 11:50 pm

Okay, I read the review...

I agree that a good bit of the movie is great, but overall, I, and so, so, so many critics and Alice in Wonderland fans, felt it should have been something different, and better.

In fact, you yourself felt it shouldn't have had the title it did. Yes, this film was undeserving of that title.

You said people wouldn't feel cheated by the title, but I felt cheated that Tim Burton was finally putting his vision on Alice in Wonderland...and then he didn't, he didn't do the original story, he cheated me! Or rather Linda Woolverton cheated me.

At least we agree: Burton was great, Linda, no. Burton wasn't adapting Carroll. He was adapting Linda. That's cheating me right there.

You said it was a great idea that Alice didn't remember being there. That's one of the problems. She said she kept having the same dream over and over, the dream of Wonderland. How did she not remember it after, what, almost every night? A problem with Linda's script right there.

Other problems were her mixing characters and also turning them into cliches and stereotypes. And she said that it all really was Underland and that Alice mistakenly called it Wonderland. At least some press material said that. Linda just wrecked everything, changing it into her own inferior thing.

As for Johnny Depp, more specifically his Scottish accent...okay, you convinced me that it could have been schizophrenia, and a nice idea, but was that really the best idea for the Mad Hatter? Critics may not have gotten what it was all about, but I think the point was it wasn't executed too great, it just didn't work. Orange hair to represent mercury poisoning that hatters got back then, making them mad, that one made a lot of sense, but perhaps not the Scottish accent.

So if anything most of this could have been solved with more Carroll, less Linda, and not a semi-sequel-who knows what. Tim only agreed to such a different script because he thought all the other Alice films felt like a girl just skipping along watching weird things (also probably the main reason critics would complain against any Alice film, including Disney's classic). But they could have easily inserted their "she learns things and is changed by the weird things" journey and depth into a more faithful adaptation of the original books, not this seq-whatever.

I found Mia so bland. Walt's Katherine Beaumont Alice was much more lively and enjoyable.

But...you did write your differing opinion so well it was quite nice to read, and I am glad you enjoyed the film and feel it deserves it's success in theaters. Though I do think it could have it's success out of it's amazing visuals, some great performances (queens, cat, Jabberwock), and pure fun...but...the rest...no!
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Post by Dacey » June 6th, 2010, 2:36 am

Well, personally, I didn't feel cheated at all. Not even by the title. ;)

And I'm glad that the movie was a "sequel" and not a direct adaptation. A direct adaptation probably would've felt too "episodic" anyway.
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Re:

Post by EricJ » June 6th, 2010, 5:07 am

Dusterian wrote:You said people wouldn't feel cheated by the title, but I felt cheated that Tim Burton was finally putting his vision on Alice in Wonderland...and then he didn't, he didn't do the original story, he cheated me! Or rather Linda Woolverton cheated me.
At least we agree: Burton was great, Linda, no. Burton wasn't adapting Carroll. He was adapting Linda. That's cheating me right there.
In fact--like the (urgh!) Dance, the Made-Up Non-Carroll Words, or the whole "sisters" plot, Tim would take one blue-sky'ed idea of Linda's and made it SERIOUS PLOT CANON, for lack of any own deeper interpretation of the non-Linda source material.
For example, they start with "RQ and WQ as sisters", decide that if one's good and one's bad they must be like the WOz characters, turn the WQ more into Glinda to the point she even floats and does magic, and then snickers that it would be so much more disgruntled-chick-comedy if they made that plotline even more like the squabbling-sisters "Wicked", because, well, that's what you're supposed to do with WOz.
You can see each...progressive...degree of separation from the book, the more that T&L think They're Being Clever, and the farther that their heads go up their own hinders.
You said it was a great idea that Alice didn't remember being there. That's one of the problems. She said she kept having the same dream over and over, the dream of Wonderland. How did she not remember it after, what, almost every night? A problem with Linda's script right there.
Also, for the whole time she believes it's "only a dream", she never considers herself in any danger, or displays any remote interest in the outcome--And spends half the movie saying "yeah, whatever, how did I dream this one up??" to the characters around her.
Gosh, it's wonderful to see a hero rush into action with such verve and spirit. :?
Other problems were her mixing characters and also turning them into cliches and stereotypes. And she said that it all really was Underland and that Alice mistakenly called it Wonderland. At least some press material said that. Linda just wrecked everything, changing it into her own inferior thing.
Again: NOW will you believe me about the whole "Beauty & the Beast" complaints??
In the Disney B&B, the Beast is robbed of any charm, generosity or nobility he had in the original tale, just so Linda can give us a progressive 90's Belle who reads books, spurns jerk guys, and teaches everybody else how to Think Right.
In Linda's version of Wonderland, Alice not only has to be brave and empowered (and dress up as Joan of Arc, literally), she has to cure the Red Queen's court of their social repression, help the Mad Hatter get helpful therapy, slay dragons herself, AND return to singlehandedly lecture her entire friends and relatives at the garden party on how to Think Right.

(...Y'know, there is such a thing as making your characters a little TOO "role-model"? :roll: )
As for Johnny Depp, more specifically his Scottish accent...okay, you convinced me that it could have been schizophrenia, and a nice idea, but was that really the best idea for the Mad Hatter? Critics may not have gotten what it was all about, but I think the point was it wasn't executed too great, it just didn't work. Orange hair to represent mercury poisoning that hatters got back then, making them mad, that one made a lot of sense, but perhaps not the Scottish accent.
Not even making him "real"-mad:
Wonderlandians don't have "complex psychiatric problems" with causes and therapy, they're just MAD--It's a country of Nonsense. The same as Looking-Glass country is ruled by doing everything Backwards, in the other book.
Thinking that they're must be some "reason" for Wonderlandians to be mad is like going to France and wondering whether there's some reason why everyone seems to be speaking French. :P

It doesn't feel as if Alice is "curing" the Hatter in the Big Sentimental Character Climax, it feels as if Linda is vicariously "curing" the story by pointing out the problems of a clearly un-progressive story written hundreds of years ago (back when people were repressive and did drugs and didn't know how to write "sensible" stories), and boy, did that one scene condescend the hairs straight up the back of my neck... :x
So if anything most of this could have been solved with more Carroll, less Linda, and not a semi-sequel-who knows what. Tim only agreed to such a different script because he thought all the other Alice films felt like a girl just skipping along watching weird things (also probably the main reason critics would complain against any Alice film, including Disney's classic). But they could have easily inserted their "she learns things and is changed by the weird things" journey and depth into a more faithful adaptation of the original books, not this seq-whatever.
I found Mia so bland. Walt's Katherine Beaumont Alice was much more lively and enjoyable.
Walt's version may have taken liberties, but they actually caught MORE of the original character than was in the book:
In Walt's version, Alice still prattles "sensibly" silly thoughts (eg. as she's talking with her cat at the beginning), wonders about having a little nonsense around her for fun, ends up getting a LOT of it, and her attempts to restore Victorian order out of chaos only get her into further comic frustration. (Which Beaumont does perfectly.)

One director sees a "little girl skipping along seeing things" and finds the charm and comic element in that, another screenwriter sees it as a Crime Against Modern-Thinking Heroines, and determines to enlighten the story with the flaming sword of Empowerment...Which one's funnier? :mrgreen:

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Post by Ben » June 6th, 2010, 1:03 pm

Phew...all of that got waaaaaaay to bogged down in multiple missing the points, so I just ended up skimming a lot of it.

But, in short, I will say that if you think Wolverton went off and wrote a script without Burton guiding her every step of the way, then you're more deluded than I thought.

And I must say how amusing it is when everyone complains that people keep making the same movie over and over and that they should do something different...but, when they do, those same people complain about that too!

As for the title, it's true that it wasn't Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland. But it was still an Alice In Wonderland story. Perhaps Alice's Return To Wonderland might have been the best solution, but I wouldn't say the title was any reason not to like the movie. It still has a girl called Alice in a place called Wonderland. The nature of the story might have changed (I wonder how many more people would have complained if it had just been a straight run through of the same story *again* after several screen versions) but the title is still (just about) apt. My main point was that the title didn't do this new story justice: a better title would have been much more fitting and appropriate, even if it's not, ultimately, that huge a deal.

Perhaps "Jabberwocky" would have been an another alternate...? ;)

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Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Post by Dusterian » June 6th, 2010, 2:10 pm

I think I agree with most of that, EricJ.

Ben, do you really know how much Tim influenced Linda's script? In interviews she said she just thought of Alice returning to Wonderland older, and started writing, saying she felt she was being kind of blasphemous (or some synonym) to Carroll. Yes, yes she was.

But as I said, Tim could have done the original stories, and still had Alice go on a journey that changes and empowers her, or whatever else he wanted to make it more cohesive and interesting. They could insert what they wanted into the original stories, not a sequel.

And they could also write it well. :wink:

AND...Hook and Return to Oz were GOOD! And better than Burton's Alice in Wonderland! Even you admit those had proper titles! Aaaand...I am not someone who has ever complained for something new! I love many different films of my favorite stories! With each different version you get something new, different viewpoints and different ways to enjoy it...
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Re: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Post by EricJ » June 6th, 2010, 2:28 pm

Dusterian wrote:I think I agree with most of that, EricJ.

Ben, do you really know how much Tim influenced Linda's script? In interviews she said she just thought of Alice returning to Wonderland older, and started writing, saying she felt she was being kind of blasphemous (or some synonym) to Carroll. Yes, yes she was.
Think Linda wanted to basically remake the '99 TV movie (with the characters constantly taking time out from Carroll to give Alice corny screenwriter life-lessons about How To Survive Stuffy Victorian Chauvinism), without knowing that movie existed, and thinking that she was coming up with it herself.
Disney had bought whatever was left of that American McGee videogame movie at a bargain flea sale (or thought they could do their own more harmless sorta-like now that it was given up for lost), heard Tim was interested and said "Yay, one more Nightmare Before Christmas!"
And Tim heard that someone was offering him the job (or was constantly mentioning his name with the project because, well, he should direct it!), immediately associated every corny Jefferson Airplane reference with the story, giggled that he'd get another well-worn chance to shock the teacher, and jumped in with all the vaudeville-act abandon of his corny Charlie/Chocolate jokes.

...It would help if SOMEBODY had read the book, but if they had, we'd realize that yes, the jersey probably had been retired and nobody really did need to make it one more time, 3-D gimmick or no.
What's worse is, if it was supposed to "bury" the videogame movie, it didn't, and now fans are going to be saying "When are they going to do THAT one?...And maybe Tim can direct it! :P "

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Post by ShyViolet » June 6th, 2010, 5:28 pm

Again: NOW will you believe me about the whole "Beauty & the Beast" complaints?? In the Disney B&B, the Beast is robbed of any charm, generosity or nobility he had in the original tale, just so Linda can give us a progressive 90's Belle who reads books, spurns jerk guys, and teaches everybody else how to Think Right.

Sorry to go a bit OT but the original B & tB story would have been somewhat tedious as a Disney movie movie, as well as grim. A lot of it is just Belle and the Beast in the castle spending many nights together eating dinner and Belle refusing the Beast as a suitor. Of course there's much more to it but as a Disney movie it would have been quite dark and very difficult to translate into a family film, especially since the plot is quite complicated. I think that at one point it was shelved (produced partially in England I think) because it simply WAS too dark.

The Disney version (also greatly influenced by Howard Ashman's ideas) was an interpretation of the fairy tale as well as somewhat of an inversion of past Disney fairy tales; Belle IS a more active heroine because other Disney heroines were not as involved in "rescuing" themselves as they could have been. The Beast does come off as noble because he obviously cares enough for Belle to let her go even if it means giving up his own humanity. He is a foil to Gaston, who like the sisters in the fairy tale represents shallow beauty and selfishness. That's what truly makes Beast stand out; unlike Gaston, the faux- Prince Charming, his soul is redeemed through sacrifice and love. I think the basic spirit of the fairy tale is retained: beauty is only skin deep and love transcends that.

I also don't think that Belle "teaches everyone to think right"; she never forces the Beast to read or even have good table manners; she spends time with him and her teaching of him is simply out of kindness, not egotism. And Belle is not 100% perfect herself; naturally the Beast frightens her and she recoils from him the first few times, even saying: "I don't want anything to do with him!" at the very beginning. She also goes exploring the castle despite being told not to, and when the townspeople cannot understand her love of books she simply shrugs and smiles, never putting them down for obviously not understanding why she loves to read so much. The love between Belle and Beast, like in the story, develops gradually and when Belle confesses her love for him at the end it feels completely earned.


It doesn't feel as if Alice is "curing" the Hatter in the Big Sentimental Character Climax, it feels as if Linda is vicariously "curing" the story by pointing out the problems of a clearly un-progressive story written hundreds of years ago (back when people were repressive and did drugs and didn't know how to write "sensible" stories), and boy, did that one scene condescend the hairs straight up the back of my neck... :x
I don't really see it that way, like B & tB this film is an interpretation of the original tale; they're taking elements from the Carroll story like madness and childhood and "adult nonsense" (translate into social conformity) and using these deeper themes to re-construct the story as a film in its own right. Curing the MH doesn't mean they think the original story was bad; they're using his "recovery" as a leitmotif of the madness vs. social conformity vs. childhood theme of the film. As said it's an interpretation and not a direct "Well, this story was shallow, let's mess around with it."

Also, when people say stories had repressed themes in stories and use them in film adaptations it doesn't mean they're trying to "improve" them; on the contrary, they're often taking the best of what the writer did and translating it to a visual medium so that viewers can get a deeper, more enhanced look into the book.

As Ben said the idea of this film resembles Spielberg's Hook; instead of re-making the Peter Pan story the film is basically a sequel to it: "What if Peter Pan actually grew up?" Like Tim's Alice it's NOT a retelling, but a reaction to the idea of eternal youth and play.

Hook isn't really about Peter Pan (at least not in the conventional sense): he doesn't actually show up until the last half hour; it's about a driven yuppie named Peter Banning who has lost his childhood and by association his current adulthood, hence his rejection of fatherhood. It's only when he can be a child again that he can finally take up the responsibilities of being a father to his children.

Likewise Alice is a sequel to AIW and TTLG. At the start of TTLG Carroll wrote a poem about the real Alice's approaching adulthood and wondering how much of his story she would remember (she was 13 when he wrote TTLG). The Burton film takes the imaginary Alice and poses this question: how much of the dreams she had would she remember and what would they mean to her as an adult? How would she see the characters' "madness" now that she is not a child? He doesn't fully answer it but the film's conclusion does seem to support that Alice takes the "madness" of her childhood dreams and applies it to freedom and independence as an adult. Again, an interpretation, not a rejection of Carroll's ideas; other than mocking Victorian rules and lessons his two books WERE basically posing the question of what Alice's eventual adulthood would mean.
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