Monday, December 7, 2009

Alice, or watch the purists heads pop off

When you come into my house one of the first things you notice (after you notice the shitloads of books. I collect books, so there are, quite literally, shitloads of them) is the Alice in Wonderland stuff.
I am a very big fan of the Alice books. I wrote papers on the books in college (how the stories themselves changed children's literature from the "good kids all die" model of the Victorain era to a more liberal and fun model, and how the poetry was part of a cutting and funny social commentary that runs through the books. Yeah, I'm a geek, stop staring). I collect editions of the book itself. I have collectables, playing cards, tarot cards, pictures, and all manner of other items Alice related scattered through the house.
So, you might imagine I was excited when I found out they were "re-imaging" the stories on SyFy.
I was.
So far it's a little dark, has many of the same characters, it's set 150 years in the future, and is pretty fun. But somewhere off in the distance I can hear Alice purists (the Alice in Wonderland version of the people who freak right the hell out over the Harry Potter movies being different from the books) screaming. Why? Because Alice should be left alone, it was perfect the way it was, etc.
Honestly, if it gets people interested in the story then awesome! We can always use more people reading. And Alice is a book that carries well into adulthood. It's wonderfully disturbing, which is one of the reasons why I won't read it to the kiddo yet.
Now all this may change by tomorrow after I've seen the second part (after all, Tim Man kind of fell apart at the end, so this one might too), but if it does at least generate some interest in a story I love very much, the more power to SyFy.
And expect a post like this one when Tim Burton's movie comes out next year. But with more fangirl screaming. Because Depp as the Hatter is just too perfect.


  1. Alice purists (the Alice in Wonderland version of the people who freak right the hell out over the Harry Potter movies being different from the books)

    To be fair to those Harry Potter fans who scream about the movies - Every movie past the second one has sucked. It's not that they changed things (this is to be expected and even enjoyed), it's that they didn't seem to understand the source material.

    I'm kind of excited about seeing this SyFy version of Alice because they're not trying to faithfully retell the story, they're making an adaptation, which means I don't need to worry about how close to the source material they stick - I'm on board with the idea that there are going to be wholesale changes, so complaining that Character A is different or Plot Point B ceases to exist would make me look a bit silly.

  2. Bah, the HP movies didn't suck. The books needed heavy editting, JKR was given a free hand and no one stopped her. I love the books, but jesus christ, how many pages of camping went on in Deathly Hallows? Seriously, was that necessary? House Elves? Why create a plot point just to drop it three books later. There are parts of those books that really bug me (aside from Harry, who I am sure bugs everyone).
    One of the parts I enjoyed about the 1st part of the new Alice is watching the characters show up. They put in B-list characters (The Walrus and the Carpenter, for instance. I love them. And the Dodo) along with the major players. And they used Tennell's design for the Jaberwocky. Yay!!

  3. The movies are so purty! Plus, JK Rowling fell prey to a common malady amongst break out best sellers- editors that lack the moxie to put on the brakes and say no. Nobody wants to slap the golden goose in the face, even if it might need it.

    Oh, and nice to see you again!

  4. The movies and the actors are both pretty (Tom Felton is teh Hawt).
    Rowling also had the problem of not being a writer before getting her blockbuster, so she didn't know how to stop either. She just went on and on and she didn't know to stop and no one told her.
    It's good to be back!!

  5. I'm not going to say that the books don't have problems, but here's the point that I go to for my "why the HP movies suck": The Hungarian Horntail. In the book, Harry completes this task in (I am not exaggerating) a page and a half. He strides in, calls his broom, swoops down on the egg and is done *faster than everyone else,* thus winning the competition. In the movie, they blow 50% of the SFX budget and 15 minutes destroying Hogwarts for no good reason. Not only did it not do anything to advance the plot, it made Harry look bad at the one thing he was actually good at.

    Anyway, Alice (part 1) was great! It was great to see that they didn't even bother with retelling the original story, and just ran with the fact that it was history and explaining Wonderland as a fantastic place that real people (not just fantasy characters) live in.

  6. And the dragon gets away, which I really liked, and sometimes would imagine it comes back at the end of the movie and burns them all to cinders. But that's neither here nor there. The 4th movie is the one movie where I can honestly say I have no idea what the director was doing at points. The tasks were just bizarre, yet the battle with Voldemort was awesome. Mainly, I think, because Fiennes decided he should actually show these kids how it's done and brought his a-game to the movie. Like Oldman, the man can act if you can get him to focus on what he's doing. Luckily these problems were all sorted out by the next movie, when the direct read the book, said WTF? and decided to trim it down to size, let Oldman play Siruis they way he should have been written, and figured out what was happening at the end there.

    Dude, the second part of Alice? Even better. And I'm not just saying this because I've had a small crush on the man playing Hatter since he was in Primeval. The Catepiller!! They actually found a way to get him in there! And the whole idea of Jack Heart stealing something from his mother was awesome! (I suppose less awesome if you don't know the poem. The Jack of Hearts stole some tarts, etc.)


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