Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Visit to Wonderland

I've been an Alice fanatic since I was 15yo. I got into it for all of the wrong reasons. But the important thing is, I got into. Now I have quite a collection of Alice books, probably 30 or 40 different versions with different illustrations. Two summers ago, I made a pilgrimage to Oxford and walked around the grounds of the Christ Church where the real Alice heard the story for the first time. I have a photo of real Alice on my ipod, taken by Lewis Carroll.  

There's an easy explanation for this...Lewis Carroll is easily one of the biggest influences on me becoming a writer. He's an incredibly interesting figure. I credit him with inventing children's books as we know it. Prior to him, books for children were primarily for instruction. He wrote 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland purely for the entertainment it could provide for one child. And despite the over-popularized notion, the book has nothing to do with drugs. It's about logic and about a child trying to understand the absurdity of the adult world.  

Needless to say, I'm also a sucker for anything with an Alice spin on it.

Last night I watched Phoebe in Wonderland, a wonderful film that used Alice properly. It used Wonderland in a modern way to address the problems a girl was facing in our world. I'd been wanting to see this since I first watched the trailer last winter. Being a bit of an Alice geek, I could see that it had potential. And I'm happy to say it delivered. It was heartbreaking, moving, and uplifting at the same time. Wonderland is used as a metaphor for escape for Phoebe. She doesn't fit in, the world doesn't make sense to her...but when she envelopes herself in the story, she feels at ease. It's a must see for any Alice fan.

As added's my list of other great Alice inspired projects that you should check out:

Alice by Jan Svenkmajer- My favorite film version of the book, but it's still an interpretation and not a straight forward telling. It's a surrealist movie that captures the imagination of the story.

Coraline- I loved both the book and the movie. It borrows a lot of elements from Alice in order to tell a completely different kind of story. The movie skews a little younger but is beautiful. The novel is a little darker...but in a good way.

Miyukichan in the Wonderland- An anime film done by CLAMP (my favorite Japanese art team responsible for Cardcaptor Sakura amongst other wonderful projects.) This a complete reinterpretation of the story and focuses on the the imagery. It's a wonderful tale. (Not for young children).

The Taxi Navigator by Richard Mosher- I read this middle grade novel when I was in college and interning at the publishing house that put it out. I picked it up because of photo of the real Alice that appears on bottom right hand of the cover. In this great story about New York's West Village neighborhood, a boy meets Alice. Very enjoyable read.

The Last Mimzy - Unlike most, I actually liked the film's story better than the short story on which it was based. But either way, there's an Alice connection in that the real Alice was one of the children that received one of the messages from the future. This is a sci-fi take on the story...Sci-Fi and Alice...two of my favorites in one.


  1. Alice always puts me in the same mood that The 5,000 fingers of Dr. T puts me in. I just love it all.

  2. thanks for directing me to this post! good stuff. who woulda thunk last mimzy. that's one film i wasn't planning on watching... until now ;-D

  3. The word "mimzy" comes from the opening stanza of the Jabberwocky poem in Through Looking Glass.

    "Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were teh borogoves
    And the mome raths outgrabe."