Even if the Disney Film isn't out of copyright--the Tenniel surely is!

I’ve just seen the new Alice in Wonderland (And got caught in a thunderstorm on the way home.  I feel like the dormouse in the teapot! Or something like that.)  The new movie is sort of an Alice-meets-The Wizard of Oz action-fantasy, with the Red Queen pitted against the White Queen and Alice as Jabberwock-slayer.  Not what I was expecting, but I had fun seeing it over Spring Break anyway, and it’s generated a few random questions for me:

1) Why does Johnny Depp affect a Scottish accent every time he says something particularly mad?

2) Why is her father’s name “Charles Kingsley”?  She’s not a waterbaby–though I guess the fantasy element is there.  And why does she have a father named “Charles” instead of a special friend “Charles Dodgson”?  Really changes the sexual dynamic.

3) Speaking of sexual dynamics–why is she prancing around Wonderland half-naked with her dress falling off her shoulders?  Couldn’t her clothes change with her, like they do in the Disney version?

4)  This was another Disney movie actually, and I wondered if the Disney version had become the touchstone rather than the book.  The blue dress, the falling down the hole with a piano and the flowers in the early scenes were all right out of the 1940s film.

5)  Shouldn’t the Disney version be out of copyright by now?  And if so, is anyone doing anything interesting and neo-Victorian with it?

6) At the end of the film (sorry spoiler!) Alice declines a marriage proposal to go off and build trade relations with China.  China = Wonderland?  Really?  I’m no postcolonial scholar, but this seems a tad problematic.  Though I think the Victorians would have liked the parallel, and I have to admit I was into the businesswoman idea.  And the girl as Jabberwock-slayer.

Has anyone else seen the movie yet?  Would love to hear your thoughts.


One thought on “Alice in Wonderland

  1. I haven’t seen the movie yet, Karen, but I’ll be sure to respond when I do – thanks for the pre-emptive cautioning! I don’t know of any really involved neo-Victorian treatments of Disney’s Alice, but here’s Pogo’s “Alice” in the meantime:

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