So, I’m glad to say that I am totally addicted to Alice in Wonderland after watching the movie today. In fact there is now a widescreen poster that I paid an additional $12.95 blue tacked to the wall to serve as the background to my makeup collection. I am officially obsessed. My obsession though doesn’t stem from the Urban Decay book of shadows but from the movie. I have realized that it has such rich symbolic content that I feel sharing with you would make your trip to the movies this weekend or the next so much better.
If you don’t know the story of Alice in Wonderland, I WILL RUIN IT FOR YOU in this post, so I suggest you save this for later and these are just my own opinions and thoughts.
The story is simple: aristocratic girl tumbles into an imaginary world. But, don’t take it light heartedly. Alice represents the common being trying to escape from the choices of life – she escapes to Underland in her dreams at night and escapes in the movie when faced with the decision to accept a proposal that she hates but those around her want. The author has manipulated this character to represent you and me. Don’t know if you remember this but the drink me and eat me messages relate to the author playing on the fact that no matter how small or big you are in this world, you can succeed. Alice doesn’t believe herself, she doesn’t know who she is and doesn’t know that she’s “the right Alice” – many people currently face an identity crisis or are deluded by the fact that they are too weak to pursue anything. They are insecure. Heck, I’m insecure. In the movie, Alice only carries out her acts of bravado after thinking that she’s in a dream and that because it is her dream, she can do anything she wants and most importantly, she CAN do anything and nothing can hurt her. Burton urges us to take control of our lives and to live out our own dreams and believe in the impossible for only then can great things happen. But its not only us he is calling out to, its the whole society. Aboslem (the all knowing catipillar) greets Alice with a you’re “hardly” alice and then bids her good bye saying that she is complete. Things don’t happen overnight. She’s had only one dream in her life and every night since she can remember, she visits Underland and goes through the same thing, but when she stumbles into the rabbit hole again, she doesn’t remember what to do – fiddling with the drink me, eat me system – the creatures of Underland wonder if its really her and she doesn’t remember coming at all. Just like Alice, we don’t always learn from the past or keep it in mind like we should and apply it to new situations. Things would be easier and we would be braver.
The Mad Hatter is also an interesting character. In fact, is the Hatter actually mad, or is it the society that has called him crazy? Burton plays on the definition of craziness. What is craziness? If the Hatter was in fact mad, he wouldn’t be able to help Alice or think logically at all. It could be that he is the one that is perfectly normal (the only one that believed in me and you at the start) while everyone is nuts. He laughs at the Red Queen’s company, the aristocracy, wearing fake long noses, foreheads and bellies to live up to their idea of beauty when they’re obviously ugly fools to mimic the Queen’s bulbous head and tiny body. Sort of how we do funny things to imitate celebrities but we don’t notice it at all until someone points it out to us. He’s the only one who sees through everyone else, but who listens? He’s crazy right? But apparently its the most incredible and most awesome people who are crazy – a recurring quote in the movie. I honestly believe that this is the author. Mad Hatter helps Alice conquer the red queen. The author is helping society conquer the government.
I also find how ironic the Red Queen is. She’s presented albeit evil but surrounded with images and symbols of love – from hearts to deep red roses. She often thinks about whether it is better to be feared or loved and she represents the person who is scarred, the evil nobody who no one likes. But, her hatred is out of jealousy. She wants love and attention like her sister, the White Queen always has so she surrounds herself with images of love to fill the void and even flutters her eyes at her royal guard who out of fear fakes his love for her, but at the end desires to kill her when both are banished from Underland. People love her in fear of her “off with his head!” and politically, subjects fear evil monarchs but in the end it makes for a droopy forced society. Forcing love never works. As for the White Queen, you’ll notice that she is always in a pose around others. She represents purity and perfection but this comes at a price. She rarely can be herself and when she is (from the skewed facial expressions when something smells horrid, or running to Bayard when her courtiers leave) often takes the form of a sigh of relief. In life, people aren’t necessarily born evil – people who are currently mean or rude or horrid have been wronged by another at a point in time and have used that feeling to try to affect others so that they feel what they actually feel inside. If that makes sense haha.
And there’s tons of political implications. Just a few – Burton (I’m assuming is the author of this version) laughs at the fact that man can go to war with man, and in this movie SISTER goes to war with SISTER. Its so out of line looking at it but it’s possible and very related to today. The White Queen offers a negotiation but the Red Queen driven with jealousy mentioning the line (no you will not make me melt, like you did to mommy and daddy) orders the war to be carried on. And I also most definetley think that Burton urges society to step up to any government no matter how ruthless for change and justice to be had.
As you can see, Alice in Wonderland is super interesting. There’s tons more but I didn’t want to bore you!