It might be fitting to follow Fish and fools by alluding to Mad Hatters, March Hares and therefore Alice. She is, after all, bound to return from time to time, if time exists and allows, and at such timeless, infinite occasions she should naturally be treated with all the respect she deserves.
Tim Burton's thoughtful and poetic rendering does exactly that. This interpretation fully honours Lewis Carroll's conceptions and endearing idea of first immortalising Alice in a Wonderland where time stands still, and then (in his sequel) of freeing her (and time) by allowing her to assert herself, grow up and leave innocent youth behind.
Burton therefore joins the main themes of 'Alice in Wonderland' with 'Alice through the Looking-Glass', incorporating the 'Bandersnatch' and the 'Jabberwocky' as extreme challenges- especially the latter- that Alice must come to terms with to become herself, a liberated, young woman in the oppressive, pursed-lip, Victorian society.
Johnny Depp as a poetic Mad Hatter is superb. The feeling throughout the film is definitely Carrollian- reinforced by a fabulous Tweedledum and Tweedledee pair, and an excellent Queen of Hearts.
We don't miss the henpecked King of Hearts. We don't miss the Duchess. The film concentrates more on the challenge between the White Queen and her tyrannical sister, the red Queen- (on the chess board of Through the Looking-Glass). We don't miss the Mock-Turtle or the Gryphon- (of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) which also seems to show how complete the film is in itself.
Time then is gradually allowed to start ticking, when Alice, magnificently clad in armour, has to eventually take on the Jabberwocky to free Wonderland, herself and to dethrone and ban the Queen of Hearts in favour of the more worthy, virtuous and beautiful White Queen.
Alice then returns to reality to face the society of the epoch as the newly, liberated young woman she has become.
A subtle and moving, final touch, also to emphasise that time has re-become a 'reality'. Just before Alice leaves Wonderland, the blue Caterpillar ('Absolem') transforms himself into a crystalis.
Having returned and about to depart aboard a ship on a 'real adventure' (after convincing her late father's business partner that she is also perfectly capable of working with him) Alice, on the ship's deck, sees and naturally recognises a beautiful, blue butterfly who flies round her, perches momentarily on her shoulder and then flutters off, as if to wish her peace and farewell ('Absolem').
All this may read like a review. Be as it may. But it comes from yet another visual interpreter of the classic, therefore it might have more significance. It's also written as a homage by a proud father who has had the great pleasure of seeing his immortalised 'Alice' free herself in a similar, fatidic way, and also grow up to become a beautiful queen.
Text and images © Mirino (PW) April, 2010