Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on 20 April 2014
Throughout the years many versions of Lewis Carroll’s classic masterwork have been transcribed to film but pretty much all of the adaptations seriously fall short of what the allegories in the story are all about – be it Alice floundering helplessly as she floats down the one-way rabbit hole of life; her being ensnared in a bland clinical environment and trying doors to escape – only to discover that the paths that she (as a female) wishes to take are sealed by locked doors that bar her from entry; drowning in her own sorrows as she shrinks within herself but having the fortitude to swim out of the mess she finds herself in – only to be confronted by a bunch of sly deceitful confidence tricksters who trick Alice out of her wealth (her sweeties) before she meets a bombastic rabbit who is always in a rush and flurry and has Alice at his beck and call (fetch me my gloves Alice) until she reaches a state when she finds the walls of his house are closing in all around her while the rabbit throws rocks at Alice and orders others to go in and sort it out.
On the way we meet the wise caterpillar who instructs Alice to be more alert to what is going on around her, and the fish footman who advises Alice to ‘look before you leap’ (Alice: ‘How do I get into the house?’ Footman: ‘The question you should be asking is why do you want to go in there in the first place’) when Alice wishes to enter the house of a Duchess to seek directions – only to discover it is a hovel filled with people on drugs (the pepper) having a horrendous argument over trivia whilst trashing everything that is useful (the crockery) and abusing the child who must be ‘beaten when he sneezes because he only does it to annoy’ (Jim Henderson, the creator of ‘The Muppets’ does the pig muppet).
As a terrified Alice dashes out of the hovel with the baby in an attempt to rescue it to prevent the baby from further harm, the baby transforms into a pig and Alice then meets the wise old Cheshire Cat (beautifully portrayed by Whoopie Goldberg) who enquires: ‘What happened to the baby?’ Alice informs the cat that ‘the baby turned into a pig’ and the cat replies ‘I THOUGHT it might’ – informing us that the baby grew up to be a pig because of NEGLECFUL NURTURING.
When Alice asks the cat for directions, the Cheshire cat asks Alice which direction she wishes to go. When Alice says that she isn’t really bothered the cat replies: ‘Then it doesn’t matter which direction you take’ – informing Alice that SHE has choices in life – and not to aimlessly go through life without any goal or purpose because one will end up floundering and in a mess (called ‘blocking your own road’).
On the way Alice enters the Gentleman’s club where she encounters the mad hatter seriously bullying the dormouse, and the March hare always siding with hatter – where in their cruel attempt to be rid of Alice because women are not welcome by asking her riddles that do not have an answer to make Alice feel foolish (Why is a raven like a writing desk?), Alice learns about how people can twist things around to bring things to their own advantage.
And so the film goes on – accurately depicting each and every lesson that Lewis Carroll has masterfully hidden in his masterwork for the astute child (adult?) to see and learn from for themselves.
The film has a stellar cast (including Ken Dodd) who unfold the curious adventure and deliver messages hidden in plain sight in a fabulously delightful way that makes the film compelling viewing over and over again – always supplemented with LOTS of discussions with children and adults – both during and afterwards - on what is REALLY taking place and what lessons are to be learned from Alice’s adventure in ‘Wonderland’.
Be warned! Once you watch the film you will find the contents to be curiouser and curiouser – and you will be tempted to watch it again and again.
There isn’t a better version of this wonderful story - a story filled with all of the many lessons of life we wish we could have learnt when we were young.
Well now you and your children CAN! And some!