Friday, August 6, 2010

A trip to Wonderland!




I never read Alice in Wonderland. Watching a film based on a book is an emotional process only if you have read the book. And as it were not so in our case (hubby dear and myself), we sat down to be entertained when we watched Tim Burton’s, Alice in Wonderland, in 3-D.

It was hugely entertaining! Readers of the book would know that it is not based on the book, Alice in Wonderland, only but is an extension of the original and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass. This made it crisp and exciting. The film is full of metaphors and archetypes, just like almost all animated (does this film qualify as an animation?) films are. But the addition of real actors (even if some of them don’t look that real!) makes it easy to relate the figurative with the literal (if you know what I mean!).

The whole underlying message of the film had to do with destiny – Alice was destined to kill the Jabberwocky (a big flying evil dragon) in order to rid the people of the evil Red queen. If only it were this simple in real life as well. ‘Kill the Jabberwocky and get rid of Zardari’ (I’m Lovin’it!).

There were a lot of characters thrown in to aid and stop Alice in her quest to become the champion with the Mad Hatter being the most prominent good guy (and why wouldn’t he be? He was played by none other than Johnny Depp). Hatter was somewhat crazy (okay, I admit – someone who has orange hair does qualify for being completely off the rocker but he lived in Underland and maybe that was the ‘in’ thing there!) but there was more to him than met the eye.  He was brave (was willing to sacrifice his life for Underland), talented (made the most creative hats. That’s what he did for a living. Why did you think he was called Hatter?), intelligent (knew how to butter up the evil Red queen in order to give time to Alice to find ‘the’ sword to kill the Jabberwocky. I think that’s our problem. We don’t have the right sword to kill our Jabberwockys!), and sensitive. Most of all, I felt he was original. And of course, he was also Johnny Depp!
The prominent bad guy was the evil Red queen who believed firmly in being feared than loved. And she was feared all right! Her favourite line was, ‘Off with his/her/their heads! Her court was full of fearful, sweet talking flatterers who praised and agreed with her every decision. Sounds familiar? Instead of a red queen, we have a chameleon president surrounded by some dumb courtiers and knaves.

You might be familiar with the term knave if you are a card player as the jack is called by that name. The literal description of a knave is of a dishonest person who has no moral principles. The Red queen had one such knave, the Knave of Hearts, who looked quite unscrupulous with a heart shaped patch on one eye! And he had the audacity to seduce Alice and when questioned by the Red queen, he not only pleaded innocent but also labelled Alice as the seducer! His end was great; he was banished from Underland with the Red queen as a partner. She loved him and he couldn’t stand her! Such should be the fate of all the men who are knaves in the real world.

Talking of banishment, why can’t we also banish our politicians? But there are so many of them that even if we banish them someplace, they would all get together and start a new mess.

It seemed, after watching the film, that Tim Burton (or maybe Lewis Carroll also) is a feminist. Alice changed her own destiny that of the inhabitants of Underland quite singlehandedly and against all odds.  She defeated the Red queen and made the White queen (did I not mention her? She was in exile during the Red queen’s terror reign. Don’t we have such a character also? Except that the White queen was the good guy. Ours isn’t!) Empress of Underland. In the real world she not only refused to marry the man everyone else had selected for her (her late father’s friend’s son) but also suggested to her to-be-and-then-rejected father-in-law to expand his business to China and herself came on board as an apprentice and sailed off to China. Something like this usually happens in movies only and that too, in Bollywood. It can’t happen in our country. Here Alice would be charged for adultery with the Mad Hatter and stoned to death. The White queen would be sent to exile much further from Underland, in a place with better climate. She would occasionally get in touch with her underlings through a phone call or two. The knave would get the Red queen killed and become the undisputed king of Underland. And he would be much feared because the Jabberwocky would be at his beck and call.

Do watch the film!

Photographs: Google Images