Nineteen-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of ter... Read allNineteen-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.Nineteen-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.
The Alice stories are special, special absolutely and special to me.
For many people, the stories are simply amusing nonsense for children, something to be fuzzily remembered in the same way as, say, Peter Pan or a Grimm's tale. But it is anything but. Carroll advanced our ability to speak to ourselves when he polished the story and sent it to us.
One can hardly expect someone like Burton, or anyone making a big budget Disney- distributed project to understand the material. But if you cannot understand the soul of what you are working with, you cannot leverage or extend it. You will need to count on your own talents instead. But Burton's strength is simple: the imposition of disordered fantasy on relatively ordered reality. He has exhausted this and was finished as an artist long ago.
By any measure other than color intensity, this is a failure as a movie. When Depp isn't given a complex structure to support, he can at least be amusing. Here, we have not even that.
What is normally considered nonsense sequences in the books are anything but. Dodgson was the foremost theory of logic in Europe at the time. Based in Oxford, he created the story for the child of the Dean, the creator of the then great Greek lexicon. Dodgson/Carroll was a master of the inadequacies of logic within the medium of everyday language.
All the "nonsense" sections are really a catalog of all the strange ways in which logic breaks when it encounters the way we linguistically form thoughts. Many of these parody assumptions Dean Liddell made in his understanding of Greek, mistakes that have saddled us with flawed scholarship on Aristotle and his logic. They are great, great fun: puzzles that even a 6 year old can laugh about.
This is where playful narrative originates. Only Shakespeare, Joyce and Lennon-NcCartney have had similar influence on our everyday thought. Karl Rove, for example, stands on the shoulders of Charles Dodgson's trickery.
None of this is conveyed. None, even though the Marx brothers made this safe territory for film humor.
Even the overall structure of the Alice stories is cool. Dodgson was not a pedophile, nor a drug addict, but he was something more dangerous to his soul. He was a charter member of Oxford's Psychical Society and a student of the inventor of mystical tarot, the self-named Court de Gebelin. The structure of the Alice stories, based on this, is our first structurally folded literature.
His ordination ruined by his guilt about this, he spent the remainder of his life writing a C S Lewis-like Christian allegory, Sylvie and Bruno to make amends. It was every bit as tepid and worthless as this. Every bit as wrong, as offensive to reality.
The movie also mixes in Jabberwocky. That was a poem written years earlier as a teen, to amuse his crotchety parson father, someone obsessed with the perversion of noble Saxon words by effete French. The poem is about the battle between true (Saxon) language and logical language.
(This comment is on the two-dimensional exhibition. I decided that the effects would be beowulf-like and cheaply distracting. I think I was right.)
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
- Mar 18, 2010