Saturday, December 24, 2011

Alice in Wonderland (movie review)

This is a film about determinism, predestination, destiny, epiphenomenalism.

She's being swept along on fast forward, life overtaking her, drowning her will.  Time to hit pause, visit a wardrobe, race down a hole or whatever.  Check into a facility if you can afford it.

Being a star feels that way too, on the set, off, learn the scene, learn the lines.  Getting typecast, being born for such roles.  It ends in the pirate movie anyway.

The too big and too small is also about too fast and too slow.  And sometimes we do feel like the giants in some scenes, which could mean slow and oafish, but I'm saying so much older.

When you're a kid it seems especially pronounced:  we're off at the starting gate and then mature in different ways at different rates.  Sometimes it feels like they're all ahead of you.  James felt that way (thinking of a friend of ours).

I just want to say, a lot of imagination went into that, with the flashback built in, as the hero integrates and is reborn anew.  It's the archetypes adventure too of course.

The determinism is in the scroll or prophesy, with the dog giving one of the sternest lectures early on, about what is or is not predestined, and Alice having her strongest voice back, a dog like that being somewhat safe to tell off (unlike her mom).

Dogs hear a lot from us humans and their job is to just take it.  Some suggest inter-stellar affairs but that's always in the background among serious star heads.  Sarah-the-dog was on the couch at my feet.

The scroll shows faux Alice consulting the scroll, caterpillar making a pronouncement.  As the audience, we know Alice had those dreams, but our inner loyalties are conflicted as we decide whether we can take an older Alice into our hearts, through this vehicle.

From Alice's point of view, sure it'd be really easy to forget those dreams if they weren't in a universe that had made them a famous children's book already.  Her dad is kind and understanding, but the equivalent of grinning cats in parallel universes tend to fall by the wayside, lets face it.

We should empathize with her older self not immediately reconnecting with her childhood psychosis (psyche, crazy kid, goofy guy), her inner window in to a shared [mad] world, her private line. She's just remembering the "it's a dream" part from the earlier scene.

Audiences know more than the characters sometimes, but then don't really exist in some sense.

The twisted Alice videogame we had for Tara, the voice of the cat.  That was the cat, the cat and the hat.  Dr. Seuss doesn't just fade away in Tim Burton movies when you think about it.

The film succeeds because it doesn't try to do too much.  It tries to be the Disney film that shows our state of the art, with some of our best and most mysterious.  Depp is so used to getting made up as a scary bozo.

The vorpal sword needs to fight the Jabberwocky, we all see that coming, the scroll does not lie.  But what we don't expect also happens around the edges and warps the plot.  Who ever thought those two would become friends?  They know it's their fate at some level.

The dream is hard, is the hard part.  The feeling of expectation is palpable, when we all look back to the castle gate, expecting our hero.  She's under that pressure to perform.  That's life, it's cosmic.

The funniest scene is the dark knight (bad guy) coming on to the giant Alice, saying he really likes big girls.  That's too literally true here to not be hilarious at the same time it's on the scary side.

Shades of Spirited Away with the warring sisters and their castles.  A Disney callback to Miyazaki (yes, we're here too) who had to authorize the Disney dubbing.

We projected in the living room.  Walker took a break from recording with R2D2 (the drum machine).

Tara and I had gone to Movie Madness earlier.  Gattaca, Tara's top choice, was the one we watched before Alice, the one I was most desperate to see.  Both blew me away.