Monday, October 8, 2012

A Not-So-Crazy but Still Fun Wonderland (Where One Does Not Play Croquet with Hedgehogs and Flamingos)

Well, hello again. Without intention, I took pretty much a two month break from blogging. One day I looked at the calendar and it was early day is October 8. Time manages to do some strange, unusual, and horrific things when we really aren't paying attention to it, doesn't it? It really is a needy, clingy little thing.

However, I am not without my excuses for my two month leave of absence. The first is that I miss Heath and have spent the majority of my free time either talking to him or eating my feelings and watching trash-Netflix. I have not found the real soap operas on there to waste my time (example- did the evil twin kill his brother's fiancee, Miss Scarlett, in the study with the rope...oh wait, no, that's not right- that's not a soap opera, it's a board game). The second is the age old excuse that everyone bandies around when it seems like the best option. And that is, I'm in law school. It is a time-eating behemoth that's only happy when you burst into tears in an apartment (any apartment really, it doesn't even have to be yours) and end up cursing everyone from yourself for going to law school to your elementary school bus driver who told you that you would go places and everyone in between. I have not done this yet; many friends of mine have and all of them have required the proverbial talking-off-the-ledge which usually consists of a conversation much like the following. Friend (gasping, hiccuping, and just a basic all around mess): I shouldn't be in law school, I am just way too stupid to be here, and I think the admissions office made a mistake and I'm just gonna drop out because I'd probably be much happier in [insert grad program of your choice]. Response (said over the top of a Contracts book- your empathy skills really go to hell in law school): That was a lot of information to take in in 15 seconds. And don't worry, you're not going to drop out and if I'm smart enough to be here, you are too. Friend: No, I'm serious! You don't think I'm serious but I am- I'm gonna drop out, I swear! Response: Sure, you are. I'll see you tomorrow. Friend is then in class the next day. It's quite amusing. However, that's not to say that I have not had my hissy fits. They just have not involved tears and, I am proud to say, they have not been in public. However, they usually involve a veiled threat to drop out of law school, open a bakery, and go into a Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology with a Forensic emphasis. I am nothing if not diverse.

But the reason I posted was most certainly not to bitch about law school. It's a great experience and I'm sure it'll all be worth it just like my undergrad with my doomed Victorian love affair with my thesis. That was worth it, I'm sure this is too. The reason I did post was because I stumbled across the world's best rendition of Alice- and this is the Canadian mini-series called, funnily enough, Alice (imdb link: Alice and her funky adventures in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter are completely sacrosanct to me. I've loved the books since I was a child, have a freakish amount of copies that I read multiple times a year, and, on my 21st birthday, Heath gave me the world's best birthday present, an early 1900s copy of Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There and a reproduced copy of the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland manuscript called Alice's Adventures Underground. These books are close to my heart and I am incredibly picky about the recent outflow of movies, TV shows, and other stuff that's been released about Alice, Wonderland, and the Mad Hatter.

Needless to say, I was hesitant to watch this because, well, what if they did something dastardly with the books. Well, they did. However, everything that they did drew me in and incorporated Lewis Carroll's vision in such a way that I just couldn't not love it. 

The story is the same-ish of the one that we all know and love and yet has it funky quirks. Alice is a black belt, for one. I do not remember that in the story. But it worked. Alice falls in love with guy in Real People World (from here on in known as RPW) named Jack. Now Jack's a sweet guy but receives a gloriously direct text message from someone we as the audience don't know saying, Run. He runs but not before he gives Alice a lovely, very large ring in a cool, cake-like box. I do believe we see where this might be going, except we don't. Jack then runs out and Alice chases him but loses him. She is then cornered by a man with white hair in pigtails in a waistcoat, demanding to know where Jack is. She runs but then falls through a giant piece of glass just randomly sitting in a construction sight. Meet Wonderland, Ms. Alice, where you are an Oyster who the Queen uses to suck out all the emotions that are foreign to the Wonderland-ites. Things like joy, laughter, all of these super-cool emotions that Wonderland-ites apparently don't feel, are stolen from the Oysters who are brought through the Looking Glass.

We then meet the Mad Hatter. So I will be perfectly frank here and say that I did adore Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. They gave him a nice, slightly unexpected backstory and he did well. I liked the movie, even own it actually, and liked how they made it a sequel. It was fun. If I compare it to the books, it's not even remotely close. I mean, they made an entire movie essentially out of a poem- good creativity, Tim Burton, and fun but definitely not spot on. Well, the Alice Mad Hatter is unexpectedly good-looking (Andrew Lee Potts for those of you that know him; if you don't, look him up) and runs a tea room where he sells the various emotions leeched from the Oysters. He agrees to help Alice look for and rescue Jack. Then he discovers that she has the Looking Glass Ring, the Ring that allows the Looking Glass to work as a portal, bringing in Oysters from RPW to fuel their economy with ill-gotten emotions. Searing for the ring ensues by the queen and Alice proceeds to do what Alice always does best which is turn Wonderland on its head. Alas, no spoilers because people who spoil should receive a thousand lashes with a wet noodle. If you want to know the ending, go watch it. It's on Netflix and Amazon.

I was having a really bad day when I stumbled onto this mini-series. This was the perfect cheer-er up-per...those're totally words. Although it is significantly different from the books, it was, for me at least, a really good Alice tune-up. It took most, not all, of the elements that I loved from the books and gave it a modern tune-up while still keeping all of the reasons that I loved the books. Probably not as child friendly as the books or the Disney movie are but that's debatable because the last time I showed the Disney Alice to a child, they burst into tears and kicked me in the shins. I was not pleased. The Mad Hatter is pretty much on point- yeah, he's not mad per se but the madness was inspired by the fact that he was a hatter and therefore had some close contact with mercury fumes which definitely are not too great for the brain. In this, he's not so much a hatmaker but a man who wears a hat and is a little quirky but not mad. It's an intriguing, unexpected spin that was a wee bit risky if you consider that some of the audience would be die-hard Alicers, like me, but it paid off. Kathy Bates as the Queen of Hearts was definitely some inspired casting there. She played the power-mad Queen so very well. In addition, they had some very unusual spins on, say, the Caterpillar, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (who are mind-twisting doctors), Carpenter, and the pink flamingos. Also, Tim Curry unexpectedly appears in all of his wonderful creepy glory and he is, as usual, quite good. The plot, even if deviating from the books, is fluid and you get drawn into it really easily. It is definitely quite addictive and very fun. So for those of you who are interested in seeing a fun, modern Alice that's not cripplingly different from the books (i.e. different in a bad way), you should definitely check into this.

On a side note, I spent my Sunday baking which resulted in pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Just because I am amused by them and they're quite pretty, I am going to post a quick write up and a picture of them tomorrow because...well, hey, it's my blog. I can do what I want- kidding on that one for the most part.

If anyone's interested in seeing a specific review of something, let me know. Provided it's not anime (I am anime slow; I just cannot get into it and not for lack of trying) I will do pretty much anything. Hope you all enjoyed the most recent update! Harley Quinn out.

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