Alice (2009)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Until a friend reviewed this, I really didn’t pay much attention to it. Mostly because my entrance into fantasy has been very gradual and not being a die-hard fan of the story on which this is based didn’t help any either. Still, it was always in the back of my mind to someday see.

Independent, but with some bottled up trust issues, Alice (Caterina Scorsone) is an expert black belt and part-time instructor. Since her father walked out on her mother and her some ten years ago, Alice was left with feelings of inadequacy. This means she has transferred that to her relationships with guys. This time though, she is crazy about her boyfriend Jack (Philip Winchester). They are taking the next step in their relationship, but when Jack proposes marriage, Alice does what she does best – she panics and sends Jack out the door. Noticing he slipped the ring in her pocket, she dashes out after him and witnesses men forcing him into a truck. Trying to stop them, she follows the mysterious man claiming to be helping Jack… and instead she falls headlong into a strange world that everyone calls Wonderland.

FILM REVIEW | Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Fantasy network SyFy created a unique look for a storybook fairytale that had the potential to become the “same-old, same-old” mantra. Instead of falling into that trap, they upped expectations, setting it in modern times with a brilliant production design and twists that inspire touches of an “old world” era. An example is a Wall Street-like trading room which was created with traders costumes that are more from the 1900’s whereas the rest of the film dresses its characters in modern attire. Everything at the palace is terrifically reminiscent of the iconic playing cards – and really modern, making that setting and costuming full of whimsy. Seeing Alice in one costume the entire time grew a little tedious, mainly because the dress wasn’t all that attractive.

The creators idea seemed to revolve around exploring the world of Wonderland one-hundred plus years after it first appeared and that idea pays off. Instead of trading stocks, residents’ trade emotions, having been driven into such despair by poor leadership, they are now unable to feel anything. Some may find this theme a little bothersome since the villains capture people from the real world in order to suction all their emotions, bottle them and sell them to the highest bidder. 

Most of this is, plain and simple, clever. Granted it is really wacky, but otherwise, things are decently harmless with exception to the whole idea behind the story. Following closely on the heels of this miniseries was Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. For a heroine, this Alice is a complex and strong leader. Caterina's Alice is a much more interpretive portrayal than that of Mia Wasikowska. Both female protagonists inspire feminism; one in a world dominated by men, the other by her fearless personality. I won’t lie. I like characters – male or female – to be strong leads. A lady doesn’t need to be so independent she's above needing help, but I don't mind if she's confident enough to know her own strengths – and weaknesses.

Seeing Alice pitted as a more coherent heroine is interesting. Her one stumbling block is a lack of trust. Her distrust encompassed the small things in life as well as the bigger things. All of which was fostered by a feeling of abandonment; feelings of inadequacy. How filmmakers put viewers in mind of the classic tale was adorable while adding their own unique spin, and taking their production and interpretations of it in completely different directions. Both of the adaptations or re-telling gave Alice a fabulous support group, mainly in their respective Hatters; both of whom are memorable for different reasons.

How all the characters interacted with their storybook counterpart was ingenious. Even to someone who is not religiously knowledgeable about the original concepts, I can see the parallels. And not just in the characters, all of the wonderful additions pay homage to Carroll’s work and that is something to applaud. This was an achievement that the entire cast and crew should be proud of. The results are comical, touching and reminiscent of the “true” Alice. Even in its whimsical, wackiness, I loved it.  

(A couple of sexual insinuations may pepper the script. Da*n and h*ll are used. There is an “epic” battle nearer the end… with a bunch of corpses. Shots are fired at various people at various points in the movie. Two men get inside Alice’s head, trying to gain information and later torture a man. Plus an assassin is kind of weird having lost his head; scientists have to use a ceramic bunny “head” as a quick fix.)


  1. Wow! This is really long, so i did not have time to read it all. But it sounds awesome from what I did read ;)

  2. Yes, I do tend to write long posts. Mainly because I review movies, but also because before I know it my word count is five-hundred something and then jumps to 1,000! It is crazy. =)

    "Alice" is a delightful miniseries but is also VERY quirky. If you like that genre or fantasy, it's great.

  3. I was trying to message you earlier, but for some reason the site wouldn't allow me. I wanted to say how thankful I am for you to become my very first follower. The other two followers are myself, and for months I have been trying to get my blog going and still no followers. Thank you so much for following me, you truly gave me hope and I'm not giving up! God bless you!

  4. Charli - being new to blogging myself, I can totally relate. I enjoy searching out new blogs to follow - especially those that are new, because that is where I am at!

    I LOVE my frequent readers and friends, and their input, so anytime, you want to visit, join in the conversation. Thank YOU for following my little blog, and I look forward to reading your future posts - just keep on writing. =)

    As for the Google messaging thing, I might not be set up for that, but leaving a comment works well, because I always see them. And, I tried to comment on your site when I joined the other day but couldn't because our blogs are set up differently. However I upgraded to Google Chrome today and everything seems to be that much more awesome and I am now able to comment where I wasn't before. I am heading to your blog now...

  5. I ADORE this too! SO SO SO good. That kiss scene *le sigh*

  6. Juju - I love this miniseries BECAUSE of its unique story-telling. It surprised me because I was tentative to see it in the first place, but I rented it, fell in love with it, and then promptly bought it.

    It is awesome, isn't it!? And, the ending is just adorable, I smile every single time. =)

    Thank you SO much for stopping by! I always like reader input, so please, feel free to do so again.

  7. I LOVED this mini-series. It was such a different take to the story. And I really loved Hatter!! :)

    1. Creativity is in no short supply in this one, Alyssa - that is FOR sure. And the result is AWESOME! Ironically (at first I was skeptical) this is one of my very favorite miniseries - part of the credit for that is due to Hatter. He's adorbs plus oh-my that ending!


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