Last week I watched Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, twice, and to clear one thing up right away: it is now my all time favourite movie. I’m saying this first because after watching the movie I went to the imdb and on the board there found a raging war between lovers and haters of the movie.
Brilliant! That doesn’t surprise me at all of course. It would be a movie dividing the opinions, it has to be. The “problem” with Alice is that it does not allow for linear thinking. If that’s how you watch this movie, in a straight line so to speak, you will find all the “faults” the critics find and guess what, then you are right. Anything I read about what the people didn’t like about this movie were reasonable comments and for the most part I agree with them – in the context of a linear thought process.
However, if you apply lateral thinking everything changes. Then you enter a magical world and everything makes sense, then it becomes a truly outstanding movie, brilliant in every way. The key is to move away from judgement and comparison. To view it on its own, in its own world, own way. Lateral thinking means finding a new, more creative solution to a problem, putting the pieces of the puzzle together, seeing the big picture, etc.
It’s a mystical story using metaphors, archetypes. Everything in this story is symbolic, it is not meant to be read and understood literally, how could it? Speaking cats for crying out loud! That should make it quite clear you’re in a fantasy world and have to stop applying your senses as you’re used to in our own world.
It’s a visual feast about the journey we all have to take, sooner or later. And it all starts with remembering a dream we had in our childhood. Now we’re grown up and are supposed to live just like the world wants us to live, but the rebel has awakened. We don’t want to wear the corsets and stockings of “normal” any more, much less marry someone we don’t love! If we’re lucky out of the corner of our eye we see the rabbit and at some point the want to find out about the rabbit is bigger than the reasoning to do as we’re told to do. That’s when we break free in a daring leap from under the gazebo and into the rabbit hole.
I love this movie so much because just this beginning is exactly how my life has always been. I have always refused to wear the corset and live the way I was supposed to according to the “norm”. I have huge trouble when someone tries to tell me what I must or mustn’t do. And I have followed the white rabbit many a times and jumped into the hole with him. By now for me jumping into the unknown has become the norm! (Hence the title of this blog, decided upon long before the movie came out)
The minute I find myself under the gazebo I look out for the rabbit and explore the alternative to find the “impossible”. My favorite quote:
Alice: “This is impossible”
MadHatter: “Only if you believe it is”
Parts of this story make total sense to me and I relate to them in totality, other parts are clouded in mystery and I haven’t quite made it out yet.
Take for instance the love story. Clearly in Tim’s version between the adult Alice and the Mad Hatter true love is present (Johnny does an incredible acting job here by the way, portraying this under all the make up is an incredible performance!). And yet she leaves it behind in pursuit of becoming the real Alice who sails off to China on her ship “Wonder”. I admit, I’m battling with this. Is that what it will always be for Alice? Sacrificing closeness to the Mad Hatter for exploring new avenues? Or does it simply mean that the Mad Hatter will be with her all the time anyway as long as she follows her purpose? And just because he isn’t there for “real” doesn’t mean he isn’t there at all?
She says in the end that she can come back anytime she likes. So if that is the case he is never gone, he just isn’t there the way it would be expected by the “norm”. Which would leave us with a new way of exploring the love story.
Fascinating without end! 🙂
About 2 years ago I first heard that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are working on this movie together. I knew right there and then I would love it. This is a story very close to my heart, well of course, even my blog is called “Notes from the rabbit hole”. It’s the perfect metaphor for observing my life and my explorations.
So thanks to Tim, Johnny and everybody else involved for producing this beautiful magic movie!
PS: If it was up to me I’d put the rating on R because to me this is a movie for adults. Adults must watch it. It’s not a “kiddies” movie at all in my opinion. Sure the kids will enjoy it (older ones, there are heads being cut off and rolling around!) but to understand it you do have to have adult consciousness – with a kid inside.