by Ellen Gillingham
In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, at first Alice is bored by her sister’s book, but ends up stuck in a surreal world. Here, Alice cannot understand many paradoxical problems. For example, the Mad Hatter’s tea party, the queen’s croquet game, and the stolen tarts. The universal theme Lewis Carroll creates in Alice in Wonderland is events in life are not always logical. Not everything is as straightforward as it seems and events are often filled with riddles and answerless challenges.
Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland 2010 film incorporates a theme of restoring political power to the prior queen, as the current queen has destroyed peace and equality. The film reflects many of the cultural concerns of America in 2005 (the year the film was made), as well as those of 1866. Characters such as the Mad Hatter are interested in taking down the Queen of Hearts. He says, “Down with the bloody big head” (Burton). Scenes include formal film techniques such as rapid editing and 3-D technology to express the main theme of the film.
In this adaption, the main consistency is the characters. A main issue is that the story is different and seems to be more of a sequel to the book because Alice is older and there are references to a pervious Alice. Burton’s version shows Alice’s growth and maturation. She claims that her dream is her own and that she should be able to make her own decisions.
This PDF from 2004 is a literary analysis of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that I found using the search terms “critical analysis of Alice in Wonderland.”
This blog from 2010 is an analysis of feminism symbols in Alice in Wonderland that I found using the search terms “feminism Alice in Wonderland.”
This website is an analysis of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland that looks closely at the heroine’s quest for self and focusing more on the Id, Ego, and Superego.
The 2010 blog “Alice in Wonderland: Full of Girl-Power Feminism” argues that the character of Alice is “modern, free-thinking, and populist” similar to how the girls in the audience view themselves. It also ranks the film’s rebelliousness as appropriate, but problematic. The blog is important for understanding the film because it explains a problem with Jonny Depp and Tim Burton. Depp is criticized as not being a comedian and the plot is insignificant. The blog would have viewed the film as more satisfying if it did not defend Victorian values and had a more confident main character.
What are these issues and do they add depth to the story, or do they serve as an unwanted distraction (as in Willy Wonka)?
Both Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland are films in which the main character’s “daddy issues” are unwanted distractions, but Alice in Wonderland’s “daddy issue” a more diverting. Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton are film adaptations of children’s books, and both incorporate “daddy issues” in distracting ways. However, Alice in Wonderland’s use of the issue contradicts Alice’s character. Willy Wonka’s issue is distracting, but makes sense. It does not go as far as being a contradiction. In Willy Wonka, the character of Wilbur Wonka is used to explain why Willy Wonka is the way he is. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice recalls one line that her father said, but this contradicts her character trait of being independent. For example, in two scenes Alice says, “my dad used to think of six impossible things before breakfast” (Burton). This shows the reader that she is following her father’s advice instead of being independent. By using “daddy issues” Burton merely creates a distraction for viewers in Willy Wonka by adding an unnecessary detail to the plot, whereas in Alice in Wonderland he creates a confusing distraction that the plot would be better without.