Archive for lewis carroll

Watched -Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

Posted in ALICE IN WONDERLAND, period drama, WATCHED with tags , , , , on March 13, 2010 by echostains

A new grown up Alice

I got to watch Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in 3D the other night.  I’d never seen a film in 3D before, so didn’t really have a clear idea of what to expect or what to compare it to.  I’m also a big fan of the Alice books, so I was hoping that I wasn’t going to be disappointed.

Drink me at your peril

Alice (played by Mia Wasikowska) is now nineteen penniless and Fatherless.  She is in line to marry an upper class buffoon, but is preoccupied with visions of the white rabbit and dreams of Wonderland.  It seems that she has some unfinished business there.  A party is held to cement the engagement (it seems a forgone conclusion that Alice will accept, given her circumstances).  Everyone waits with bated breath to hear Alice’s acceptance. Unfortunately, the wayward Alice catches sight of the white rabbit again and speeds off after it, down the rabbit hole and back into Wonderland.  Here Alice shrinks and expands with much alacrity – and good effect.

the brave Hatter - mad of course

Wonderland is not as she left it though, there has been much trouble since Alice the child left.  The nineteen year old Alice has grown up and is accused of losing her muchness by all and sundry.  In fact she has a job to convince everyone that she is indeed the original Alice.  Everyone seems madder including the Hatter (played by Depp with suitable madness).  Tweedledum and Tweedledee are both Matt Lucas – only much rounder.  the Bandersnatch is made much of (probably because he is linked in the Jabberwocky poem).  The Jabberwock itself is horrifying and hideous and rather dragon like.  Therefore there an inevitable George and the Dragon scenario ensues with Alice as St………Joan not George.  Curiouser and curiouser…..

Tweedle dee and Tweedle dum double trouble

Wonderland and Looking glass collide and we have the caterpillar stoned out of his very blue head and Dinah the Cheshire cat a wispy vaporising vision.  Watching this in 3D, I was amazed when this grinning feline seemed to come right out of the screen and into the audience!  It seemed so near that you could almost touch it.  There are a few of these little projections – but not too many to spoil the film.

the grinning cheshire cat

I’ve never seen anything in 3D before apart from ‘life’, so I didn’t know what to expect.  But overall I found the film quite entertaining.  Some of the special effects are great and I especially like the way that the Victorian Alice proved herself independent in her thinking.  The story itself left me dissatisfied though and perhaps this was because it is childhood tale taken into adulthood – an adult in a childs world.  Maybe this was deliberate on Burton’s part, to make Alice seem ungainly.  As it is, Alice doesn’t really fit into either world – Wonderland or her real life.

the Red Queen

Bonham Carter is a spoilt nasty cruel little Queen, the exact opposite to her sister the white Gaga like queen who is frankly, just ‘odd’ and a little to like Glinda the good queen out of the Wizard of Oz for my liking.  Yes, there is some Lewis Carroll in this film, but I think in order to avoid disappointment, accept that though there are various components and characters from the books – this is no fairytale or literal translation of Carroll’s books.  once you have accepted that, it’s time to put your 3D glasses on, lie back and enjoy this film!

her sister the white queen

Some images HERE

Mad March and rabbits too

Posted in ALICE IN WONDERLAND, ART, HISTORY, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, period drama with tags , , , , , , on March 2, 2010 by echostains

'Spar' and 'Dancer' sculptures by Jan Sweeney

It may be March 1st when I’m writing this – but it will be March 2nd when you read it as I always schedule my posts and I’d forgotten all about St Davids Day.  No point of celebrating it now (those ancestors will be spinning in their graves, along with St Andrew and St Casimir).

the white rabbit by Tenniel

When I think of March 1st (which I obviously did – but too late)  I always think of white rabbits.  We were always told that it was lucky to say ‘white rabbits’ three times when we woke on the 1st day of March.  But why?

There are many variations on ‘White rabbit, white rabbit’ white rabbit’ all mentioned in an interesting article in Wikipedia.  It does get a bit complicated, but the rabbit tradition seems to have travelled all over the world;

“In some areas in Georgia, particularly in the Atlanta area, many people have begun saying “wabbit wabbit” as another variation.” (Wikipedia) 

The mad March hare with straw (a sign of madness) on his head

The wonderfully mad March hare in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is another reminder of this month…and the Tim Burton film.  The hare cannot keep still in the story and is full of energy.

In real life he’s not much different either (though he’s not drinking tea…) he is leaping, twitching and boxing other hares in an overly excited way.  Is it a coincidence that hare’s mating season begins February and carries on until September?   Perhaps they’re at their most erratic in March?

a baby moon gazing hare garden ornament

A lot of hare sculptures are depicted as gazing at the moon.  Pagans believed that a hare staring at the moon brought fertility, regrowth and rebirth.  the hare is sacred to the goddess Eostre which gives her name to Easter and of course the reincarnation of the hare into the Easter bunny!

William Morris tapestry

I won’t be caught out again with my white rabbits (the same applies to every month).  Also, forewarned is forearmed and I shall be looking out for the Ides of March (15th ) too ……..

My latest poem experiment here… ‘Three For March’ Haiku

Jane Sweeney sculptures here

Moon gazing hare garden ornament available from here


The art of Alice through the looking glass

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , , , on February 7, 2010 by echostains

Sir John Tenniel


I love the illustrations of Alice in Wonderland and Alice’s adventures through the looking Glass.  The original Tenniel ones have a charm all of their own and are the ones I remember the most from childhood.  There is  such a lot of information contained in these small drawings and Sir John Tenniel’s style once seen, is unmistakable.

Alice entering the looking glass world by Sir John Tenniel

Tenniel also illustrated for Punch magazine for a  while and did some political sketches like the example below. Amazingly this fine illustrator was blind in one eye. 

Punch magazine william gladstone and the irish land question

But another illustrator that I quite like is Ralph Steadman.  Of course these two  are from different era’s, but I quite like the clear lines of Steadman’s work, it’s so very stylish.   He has tried to add something new to these well-loved characters – yet make them still recognisable.

Ralph Steadman 1972

But there is another Alice illustrator that I like – one of my favorite authors and who I am re reading at the moment, and that’s Mervyn Peake.  It’s interesting to see the different styles of these artists, each done in a different era but with totally original approaches towards the same subject

Mervyn Peake 1954

Ralph Steadman’s website HERE

Other Alice illustrator’s HERE