Alice in Wonderland

The film is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871). The nineteen-year-old Alice now returns to Wonderland from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns her true identity: to end the Red Queen’s reign of terror, slay the Jabberwocky, a dragon-like creature controlled by the Red Queen and restore the White Queen to her throne.

This film confirms to the fantasy genre of fictions. At the beginning of the film, unlike Carroll’s book, Alice does not voluntarily fall into the rabbit-hole. It is an accident, a result from escaping the wedding proposal. In Wonderland, Alice has undergone all those absurd experiences as she did in her childhood once again. As the adventure progresses, Alice gradually finds her real identity, and after she has slain the Jabberwocky, which is a critical point for Alice to understand what her father means by saying “The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible,” she finally attains the courage to make the decision not to get married.

Two master plots that come to my mind is the adventure and the transformation, maturation to be exact. As the title suggested, the adventure scenes are obviously seen throughout the film. While Alice has just entered Wonderland, the white rabbit, talking flowers, Dormouse and the Tweedledum and Tweedledee are all not sure about whether she is the correct Alice or not, even including Alice herself. Compared to Carroll’s book, the Caterpillar shows several times in Tim Burton’s movie.

Absolem, the Caterpillar, is the only character in Wonderland that has the power to determine whether she is the one. At first, he declares Alice to not be the one they need. However, later in the film, the Caterpillar claims the opposite. There must have been changes within Alice’s adventure, between the Caterpillar’s two statements. Followed by the advice of the Caterpillar is the sudden attack of Bandersnatch the monster sent by the Red Queen. It is not until Bandersnatch inflicts a wound on Alice’s arm that she realises that Wonderland is real.

The sudden attack causes Alice lost in the woods. Following the Cheshire Cat’s guidance, Alice then go find the Mad Hatter for she believes that he can help her to shape her identity because he has met Alice before. At the tea-party, there are the Dormouse, the March Hare, and the Hatter. The first thing, which he says to Alice is “it’s you!” However, the Dormouse corrects him, and says she is the wrong Alice. The Hatter disregards this claim, and tells everyone that she is “absolutely Alice! I’d know you anywhere”. The dispute between the Hatter and the Dormouse, if Alice is the right one or not, resembles Alice’s progress in adapting into the one that Wonderland needs.

The climax of the movie is that when Alice gets ready for the battle against the Jabberwocky, she recites six impossible things, which now she finds possible. By reciting these impossible things, she establishes the reality of Wonderland and her role within it, as its saviour. In Tim Burton’s movie, when Alice leaves Wonderland, she brings with her the experiences. Alice decides not to get married, and proposes to her father’s old colleague that they should trade with China. Alice is then last seen on a trading boat looking into the horizon, getting ready to travel across other borders. Alice has learned that crossing borders helps to develop personal identity, which for Alice, is a happy ending. (600 words, excluding title)

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