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Alice Through The Looking Glass [DVD]
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This magical live-action adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic tale features an all-star cast headed by Kate Beckinsale, Steve Coogan, Ian Holm and Geoffrey Palmer.
Alice returns to the strange world of Wonderland where she joins the Red Queen in a giant game of chess and once again encounters all the weird and wonderful characters: the odd-ball twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the White Queen, the Red and White Knights, Humpty Dumpty, and the scary Jabberwocky. As she continues her adventures things become curiouser and curiouser.
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The acting isn't particularly good however it's the way in which they've interpreted particular elements of the book that I found the biggest problem. For example the Walrus and the Carpenter scene has Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee as cockney geezers ("geezer" is used a lot in their conversations) They read out the Walrus and the Carpenter while the backing music pretty drowns out their dialogue.
I havent watched all of it as I lost interest.
‘Alice through the looking glass (and what she FOUND there)’ is the second book that Lewis Carroll wrote for Alice Liddell so as to deliver messages hidden in plain sight in a fabulously delightful way – this time lessons on BEHAVIOUR and what to watch out for as Alice treads the chessboard of life in a mirrored world filled with good and evil – and how to spot danger and have the sense and fortitude to overcome it.
What Alice FOUND there was a book, and in the book is a poem - ‘The Jabberwocky’.
Aside from the wonderful sounds captured in the words of the poem when the poem is recited out loud (which is essential to maximise the pleasure of the piece), there are many Anglo Saxon words within the poem that Alice does not understand and so she cannot decipher its meaning – words such as toves, borogroves, mome raths, frumious, bandersnatch, outgrabe, uffish, whiffling, tulgey, burbled, frabjous, and (the biggy) jabberwocky - which prompts Alice to ask Humpty Dumpty what the words mean – only to discover that Humpty Dumpty is a pompous idiot who informs Alice that words mean exactly what HE says they mean – neither more nor less – now there’s a good knock-down argument for you!
In fairness to Humpty Dumpty, he DOES correctly explain to Alice what SOME of the ancient words mean – and as I suspect that YOU are now curious about what all of the words mean - so that you too can make sense of the classic poem - I feel that it is only fair that I provide you with the words and their meanings in the order in which they appear in the poem further down this review so that should you choose to satisfy your curiosity in such matters you may do so, however, what I wish you to know is just what a frabjous adaptation of Carroll’s masterwork this film is.
The whole masterwork is filled with deep philosophy, such as the scene when Tweedldum shows Alice the Red King - who is asleep – dreaming about Alice – and he explains that should the King awaken then Alice would instantly disappear because who Alice is, and what Alice is experiencing is taking place is in the Kings dream.
Every scene brings forth messages of life – such as Tweedledum and Tweedledee going into battle over a resource (a football rattle) that isn’t any use to either of them.
One scene that stands out for me is when The White Knight (beautifully played by Ian Holme) recites ‘Haddocks Eyes’ (or should that be ‘A-sitting on a gate’?) which teaches Alice that if you ask stupid or rude questions then you will receive stupid or rude answers, and if you have lapses of concentration then you will suffer the consequences. I found the scene extremely moving.
Should you be motivated to purchase the BOOK, you will discover many many wonderful gems all gently tucked away awaiting the observant eye. One such is the poem ‘A boat beneath a sunny sky’. When the first letter of each line of prose is read going DOWN each line of the poem, a very special message is revealed.
Should you be motivated to purchase the masterwork in book form then my recommendation is the magnificent version ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass’ published by THE COLLECTORS COLOUR LIBRARY (ISBN 978 1 907360 36 7). Available from Amazon, this beautiful publication is the perfect size to fit into a jacket pocket or handbag and all of Tenniel’s drawings are reproduced in full colour. ‘Haddocks Eyes’ is on page 254, and ‘A boat beneath a sunny sky’ is on page 282.
Be warned! Once you watch the film you will become curiouser and curiouser as to what is taking place – and you will watch it over and over again.
There isn’t a better film version of this wonderful story – a story filled with all of the many lessons of life - lessons we wish we could have learnt when we were young.
Well now you and your children CAN! And some!
Well dear reader, to satisfy your insatiable curiosity, as I promised, here are the meanings of the Anglo Saxon words in ‘The Jabberwocky’ – in the order they appear so that you may be able to read, enjoy, and digest the MEANING of the classic poem – and lose all track of time. Oh hum.
Brillig – Soup-boiling time and the time for tea and cucumber sandwiches. Farmers work until it reaches ‘brillig’ (almost evening) and brillig was the time a farmer’s wife would begin preparing her husbands’ supper (soup-meal). Brillig varies throughout the course of the year. On the day the picnic took place when Lewis Carroll first recited ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to Alice Liddell, brillig was around four-o-clock in the afternoon – tea anyone?
Slithy – a LOGISM meaning sly, slimy, and slithery.
Toves – feral, often delinquent children who shun any attempt to educate them. They were noted for ‘misleading’ well brought up people and steering them into danger and so seen as ‘bad company’ to be avoided at all costs.
Gyre – to spin round and round like a gyroscope with your arms spread out. While the urge to ‘hop’ on one leg is ingrained within the DNA of young girls (and some boys), gyring was seen as a form of lunacy in children who did this.
Gimble – to screw into something to make a hole. The reference was that if slithy toves (barmy children) spun around long enough they would screw themselves into the floor and remain there. The allegory is that they DO screw themselves into the floor by living in hovels and having lots of children. They are also shallow, insular, and BOREing.
Wabe (way be) - The piece of ground in the shadow cast by a hill or a sundial – as opposed to the shadow cast by the gnomon on the sundial – which indicates the time.
The sun at brillig on a clear summer’s day casts long evening shadows and the wabe would seem to stretch into the horizon. Carroll was saying that this ‘shady, shadowy world’ full of people who are not good for you is everywhere – and that the shadow can creep upon you at ANY time of the day.
Mimsy – a logism comprised of miserable and flimsy. Carroll is referring to the shallow flimsy lives led by toves; a life that has is unfulfilling, has no purpose, kills the inner spirit, brings very little – if any – joy, and generally leads to a life of misery.
Borogove – half-starved creatures (gypsies, beggars, and tramps) that are parasites on society. Carroll also calls them ‘mop-heads’ – later realised by Jim Henson as ‘Muppets’ (mop-head) – creating a frog, a pig, a turkey, and a whole array of dim-wits – even the drummer is called ‘animal’.
Mome raths – homeless rats that have never been shown a good way forward and so flounder in the sewers of life, feeding off crumbs cast from the table.
Outgrabe – to come out and grab you – to catch one unawares.
Jabberwock – the BIGGY! The jabberwock is a DEMONIC TALKING SPRITE that resides IN YOUR HEAD. To jabber is to talk rubbish, and wock is the Anglo-Saxon word for terror. It enters one’s head through being the UNWILLING VICTIM of EVIL that has taken place EXTERNALLY (such as being raped). The Jabberwock sprite ENSNARES ALL other spirits that reside in the human psyche and unless this demon is FACED and DESTROYED then any chance of that person achieving SELF-ACTUALISATION is virtually ZERO. The reason for this is because the Jabberwocky INSTRUCTS the possessor to do EVIL deeds.
People who are possessed with a Jabberwock are usually very shy and are TERRIFIED and will SCREAM OUT with terror. This is because the demon TALKS (jabbers) to the person and confuses them. The way forward with people who are afflicted with a Jabberwock is for them to seek out someone who will be their friend, mentor, and GUIDE. Very often, such a mentor will turn up out of the blue. There are several spiritual reasons for this: a) the person is suffering deep anguish and the call has been heard; b) the person is mentally, emotionally, and SPIRITUALLY ready to face the battle and free their spirit - as in Alice’s case; c) as awareness and realisation kicks in, the Jabberwock is at its WEAKEST – and will REALLY kick off; and d) the time to face the demon is right.
Jubjub bird – a desperate being that lives in fear of its own sounds. The jub-jub is a reference to the jub-jub sound a shire horses hooves make when it walks in a field – and then it startles itself when it walks on stony ground.
Shun – this means ‘avoid at all costs’, ‘push away’; reject; and ‘get rid of’.
Frumious – a logism meaning furious and fuming with rage. Caused by FRUSTRATION at not been able to deal with the internal turmoil that is taking place.
Bandersnatch – a vicious creature that can move very quickly, such as the terrier dog Alice encounters when she escapes from the rabbit’s house (to rabbit is to nag someone into doing the nags bidding – which is why Alice feels the walls of the rabbit's house coming in on her when the rabbit incessantly nags her to do his bidding). Sprites are ‘quick-witted’ and the ‘snatch’ comes out as offensive or sarcastic remarks that aren’t from the TRUE person – but put into their minds by the sprite. The modern term is 'Turets Syndrome'.
Vorpal – a weapon used to bring forth truth – the sword Excalibur was a vorpal weapon. It is a logism composed of the words verbal and gospel (i.e. speak truth)
Manxome foe – manly and large enemy – a reference to men from The Isle of Man. Carroll was showing Alice that the Jabberwocky is only PERCEIVED as being large and strong to Alice – and that she has the fortitude WITHIN HER (the crux of the poem) to overcome her demons.
The strong words ‘drink me’ and ‘eat me’ in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ are to teach Alice that she must AVOID temptation – which is why Alice’s greed and puffed up conceit prevents her from being small (humble) enough to enter the beautiful garden, just as the pool of tears - don’t wallow in your own self-pity - will wash you away!
Tumtum tree – the metaphorical tree in your tummy that makes you grow physically large.
Uffish – a logism derived from a rough, gruff huff expressed as a very angry and very frustrated Hommer ‘doh’ – usually let out as a loud wheeze when someone is in a ‘huff’.
Whiffling – running through life without any sense of direction or purpose – running scared.
Tulgey – thick, ugly, and creepy. Alice must FACE the woods and not be afraid of those around her (the trees) so that she can have the courage, fortitude, and FOCUS to face her demon and defeat it.
Burbled – a logism of babbling and burping - talking rubbish and making noises that make another feel queasy.
Snicker-snack – a logism of snigger (scornfull laugh), nick (like cutting yourself on paper) and snack (a sharp stinging bite such as you get from a terrier dog).
Galumphing – a logism of gallop and triumph - galloping around in triumph.
Beamish – someone who is not YET beaming with happiness – but has the ABILITY to beam – and will soon be doing so. The ‘boy’ reference is suggesting that Alice needs to seek out a LADISH spirit to conquer her shyness.
Frabjous – a logism of fair, fabulous and joyous – what the real Alice eventually becomes!
Callooh! Callay! – Anglo-Saxon for ‘hip-hip hurrah’.
Chortle – a ‘hen-chuckle’ with a loud snort at the end (which some women do) – which is funny to listen to – and is used to make a child laugh so as to lighten the poem.
Ready for the poem? Its on page 160 of The Collectors Colour Library edition of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass’ (ISBN 978 1 907360 36 7).
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