Alice in Wonderland (2) – How Tim Burton handled with the challenges of Carroll’s masterpiece

We keep going, listing the most emblematic parts of Alice in Wonderland, from Lewis Carroll, and analyzing what was its conversion to Burton’s motion picture.

After falling into the well, another sensational event is when Alice turns out to be only some centimeters tall, around 25cm, after having drunk from a mysterious bottle, and she is trying to escape to the beautiful garden she had seen from the keyhole of one of the doors belonging to the room she fell in. At this moment, the advise she gives herself (“mostly I give myself great advises, although I rarely follow them”) was to try to eat the cake she found, believing that it also could have some special powers. “If I became taller, I reach the key and open the door, if I get even more smaller, I slip thru the door“. Brilliant!

It follows, to my understanding a scene that is a summary of a probable metaphoric reading of the book. The cake, indeed, produces a strange side effect, and Alice, surprised with the phenomena that follows, proclaims:

“Oh my Gosh, my Gosh, how everything is so weird today! Yesterday was everything exactly like it always was. Did I change last night? Let me think: Was I the same when I woke up this morning? I am almost thinking I can remember of feeling a bit different. But if I am not the same, the next question is: Who am I? Ah, that is the greatest quiz!”

Both passages may evoke many interpretations, one of which tells us about the changes a teenager suffers, but I would incline myself to consider more the one that considers that Carroll was doing a great reflexion about a human being’s evolution: how to feel one self’s changes? How to deal with memories from what we were in the past ? A human being’s integrity is given by its conscience of our own experiences, isn’t it?

What happens in the film? Well, Tim repeats the passage almost ipsis literis, but as Tim’s Alice is already well grown-up, the entire philosophical aspect is lost.

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