Saturday, January 09, 2010

A new and improved Wonderland

I think I like this idea of re-imagining fairy tales and other stories into the modern world. I like the way that the re-telling or re-imagining of the story makes it more accessible and relevant to the world we live in today. Sure, they could just put the actors and set into a strictly modern setting, and even modify the dialogue slightly to reflect modern times, but that wouldn't be the same. This world has a lot of technology and if some kind of high technology isn't part of the story, it just doesn't feel quite right, does it?

Speaking of re-imaginings, we finally managed to watch Alice, a re-imagining (sequel?) to the original Alice in Wonderland story. This is not to be confused with Tim Burton's upcoming Alice in Wonderland, which I'm very much looking forward to seeing; this was a four-hour miniseries produced by the same company who produced Tin Man, which was a re-imagining or sequel to The Wizard of Oz.

In each case, the familiar characters are there. The story is that Alice follows Jack, her current boyfriend, into Wonderland to return the ring he left with her. This isn't the pastoral Wonderland that we know from the original story, but a more high-tech, modern version, with modern, very tall, buildings and very high-tech biochemistry. The story follows Alice as she first tries to find Jack and then to go home. There's lots of action, funny moments, romance, and interesting characters throughout.

The story is fairly well-written and the acting is quite good. I loved the little shock of recognition I got when I figured out which original character each one was portraying; that invested me more into the whole story. I especially loved the casting - there are lots of well-known actors in the many roles and they all do a great job - as well as the costuming and sets. I loved how so much of it looked like it was straight out of a 60's mod set, with the short a-line skirts, plastic, mirrors, geometrics, and makeup. The art direction really solidified the movie.

There were a few continuity problems, a few parts that didn't totally make sense, and a couple of CGI compositing issues. However, I felt that these issues didn't detract from the story at all. I liked this miniseries quite a bit and I hope that you get a chance to watch it.

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