Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This Isn't Your Grandma's Looking Glass

"The time has come, Walrus old friend,
To test our many stills.
The oohs, the ahhs, the healing drops,
The passions, the thrills,
And to see how joy and awe and lust
can all be turned to pills"

- Syfy's miniseries Alice (2009)

In Canada we don't have this Syfy channel, but we do have Showcase, which aired Tin Man back in 2008, and so I was just a tad interested to see this new re-imagining of the classic Lewis Carrol novel. Showcase did in fact air Alice in 2009, and it was definitely interesting. You see, as a child, I had always been partial towards Alice in Wonderland whether it was in movie or book form. I went and saw the midnight opening screening of the recent Tim Burton film earlier this year. But this, was altogether different. Teas brewed from emotions traded like stocks on the market. And just about every character was there, just not in the ways we remember them. The Hatter owned a tea shop (which would make sense) with his friend the timid doormouse working in sales. His old friend "Mad" March Hare - Get it? It's the Hare that's mad, not the Hatter - is the Queen of Hearts most beloved assassin, in charge of finding Alice and a magical ring she possesses.

The first thing you'll notice of course, is that things are a little less "anthropomorphic" - that is to say, that most every "creature" from the Wonderland we remember is actually a nicknamed Human. The few animals in the show do not actually talk, and gives the show a good sense of reality, without losing some of the fantasy. In fact the show is, in my opinion, more fantasy than ever.

Brief synopsis for people who seem to rely on them to make movie-watching decisions: Alice Carrol (Any guesses to the tribute there?) is a black belt martial arts instructor who is unlucky in love, until she meets Jack. When Jack gets kidnapped, she follows his kidnapper, wearing two rabbit-ear like ponytails, into an abandoned building and through a looking glass into a fantastical world, the same wonderland 150 years after the original children's tale, where she gets lost, kidnapped herself, and then only the Hatter and a valiant white knight named Charlie can save her, but not until she finds out what happened to Jack, and the clues she keeps finding about her father, who disappeared when she was ten.

As she follows the clues, she gets curiouser and curiouser, but then again, curiosity killed the Cheshire cat...

"Do I need a reason to help a pretty girl in a wet dress?"

- Hatter

While this two-part mini series failed to gain the attention that Tin Man had, and will likely never have a strong enough following to gain cult status, if you want something weird and unusual this just might be "your cup of tea."

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