Deconstructing Tim Burton's "Alice"
03/29/2010, 12:19 PM #
is not easy to do, at least carefully. Saw the flick last night and boy do I love Helena Bonham-Carter, though not as much as Mr. Burton himself. Years ago, how many of us imagined being either Julian Sands striding purposefully across that Italian field in A Room With A View, or Ms. Bonham-Carter waiting for him? Even I did, and I was rooting all along for Daniel Day-Lewis as Mr. Vyse---he reminded me of someone.
----Tudor roses? Bonham-Carter's Red Queen visually----costumes, castle settings, hair---was deliberately made reminiscient of Elizabeth I. A brief shot of a family portait on the castle wall revealed a Henry VIII lookalike.
----Anne Hathaway's White Queen has no immediate allegorical analogue, but Johnny's Depp's Mad Hatter was portayed oddly enough as a stereotypical (Wonderland stereotypical) Scotsman (sorry Z-B), and almost all the other good and heroic characters reverted oddly to thick Scots accents when push came to shove. Hmmmm....
----The Wages of Colonial Empire a theme, then, as Elizabeth Red's warlike brutality is thankfully thwarted just in time? (Hey, who sent that Armada, anyway?) Our Alice, once back in Victorian England from Wonderland, pointedly rejects the stereotypically inbred prig of an English aristocrat who wants her, and opines boldly (and as it happens, prophetically!) about the vast oportunities respresented by trade and congress with.....China.
----Alice's father is named "Charles Kingsley". I didn't go to Wikipedia yet, but that's the name of the author of Westward Ho! and The Water Babies, children's lit classics for several generations but much less known today. I wonder if Kingsley was friends with Lewis Carroll, and Burton with Roman Polanski?
----Recalling say Joan of Arc and Pope Benedict's recent woes, is our modern-day Alice a hapless victim transformed (again) into another's uses? Not sure without checking---and maybe someone here knows---but I remember reading summat about Wonderland and rabbit-chasing being the real-life Carroll's elaborate, imaginative method of distracting and isolating a real-life teenaged Alice so that he could molest the object of his desires. "Drink me" and "Eat this" and hookah smoke thus had real-life analogues, a drugged girl being more pliant and less dangerous to Carroll before, during, and after his pleasure-taking.....