Monday, 8 March 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll's Alice stories were some of my favourites when I was a child - not my absolute favourite, which was Black Beauty, but books that I read and re-read, and have a great affection for. I never took to the Disney version, but I am a Tim Burton fan, so I've been really looking forward to seeing his take on the stories, and carefully avoiding interviews and reviews so as to go and see it with fresh eyes and an open mind.

Burton's film is not a faithful adaptation of the books, more an 'inspired by' fantasy, and it leaves out some of my favourite moments and characters, but it picked me up and carried me away, and I don't think I stopped smiling or being delighted at any point. The colour-scapes, the design, the use of the 3-d, the costumes, the whole rhythm of the piece, as well as some absolutely fantastic performances - well worth having paid out the extra for the big-screen 3-d screening.

If you want to see just how far both the technical medium and the conventions of our visual language has come since 1903, have a look at the first film version of Alice in Wonderland, restored by the BFI for its centenary. The long version is here, or the 3 minute highlight reel is here.

(If you've been meaning to re-read the originals, Project Gutenberg has the e-text of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.)

* Photo by seriykotik1970, used under Creative Commons, with thanks.

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