Monday, November 15, 2010

Movie: Alice (2009 Miniseries) & Alice in Wonderland (2010)

It seems nowadays that, films that follow the original novel faithfully just don't seem to create any interest in the public as much.  There has to be something cool or new in the movie to capture anyone's attention.  One thing today's directors like to do is either shoot a film with a story that "takes place after the main events of the book," or a "present day setting."  English classics Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass has been adapted to film numerous times, yet as the embodiment of the fantasy genre itself, it never stops to fascinate people.  It is interesting that two very different attempts at injecting new life into these 100-year-old stories are released so close to each other.

Alice is a TV miniseries that originally aired on Syfy (formerly Sci-fi) in 2009.  The total length is around 180 minutes, a good 3-hour long movie.  The story takes place in present day, where the main character, Alice Hamilton, a judo instructor, travels to Wonderland.  Instead of finding talking animals and knights, she finds Wonderland as mainly a large grand casino where people from our world are kidnapped to.  The people are drained of their emotions, which are then fed to the people of Wonderland as drugs.  Central to this tyrannical rule is of course, the Queen of Hearts.  In this adaptation, there are no talking animals. Rather, all the characters and names in the original novel are referenced in genuinely clever ways.  For example, the White Rabbit is "Agent White," working for the queen, and the hookah-smoking Caterpillar is now leader of the resistance against the Red Queen.  As I had just recently reviewed the Carroll classic, I found the references to be very smart and funny.  Also, Kathy Bates stars as the ruthless Queen of Hearts, and Colm Meaney (Miles O'Brien of Star Trek) plays the King of Hearts.   

Taking a different approach, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland takes place years after Alice visits Wonderland.  Now a teenager, she is dealing with the loss of her father and at her age, expected to be married, in accordance with what is socially proper for a young woman to do.  Troubled by a recurring dream since her childhood, she loses it at her engagement party and leaves, only to fall down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.  Here, the familiar characters of the novel take turns making their appearances.  In this adaptation, the Red Queen (not to be confused with the Queen of Hearts) is the main villain, and the main climax of the battle scene features Alice slaying the Jabberwocky.  One good thing about being Tim Burton is that you have the best film-making technology at your disposal.  Here, the film is filled with computer special effects in creating pretty much 90% of Wonderland, including the landscape scenery and talking characters.  Strong, vivid, contrasting, and Gothic colors are a trademark of Tim Burton, and the average person is treated to a great visual feast.

In short, two interesting adaptations of the ageless classic, both worth checking out.  Even though both films fail to capture the witty dialogue and puns in the original novel, they make up for it by other means.


2009的「愛莉絲西遊記」,原本是美國Syfy電視台的Miniseries,總長大約三個小時。在這部片裡,愛莉絲是現實世界中的柔道教練,誤闖的Wonderland裡,沒有會講話的動物,反而有一間高科技的賭場,裡面全是我們世界被紅心皇后下令綁架過去的人。這些人沉溺在賭場的同時,感情會被榨乾,淬取出來的「溶液」,拿來當做控制皇后的子民的毒品。可能是電視台的電影經費不足,沒辦法花錢做太多特效,所以原書裡的動物角色,在本片中都成為真人角色,很巧奇地融入故事情節裡。有時,這些人物有原著的動物的特徵。譬如,「海象」是皇后底下榨乾人類情感的幫兇,角色身型略肥,而「毛毛蟲」成為反叛組織的領秀。如念過原著,那觀眾不難看出每個角色的典故。資深女演員Kathy Bates飾演紅心皇后,實在是真的能鎮得住場面的人。

2010 Tim Burton的「魔境夢遊」,則算是後傳,講原本的Alice已經成長為十九歲的少女了。從小,她便不斷地做著那相同的夢,一直被困惑著。痛失父親的Alice,生活上也少了依靠。在她訂婚宴會上,在猶豫婚事的同時,她又跌入了同一個兔子洞,回到了Wonderland。多年不見,Wonderland被Red Queen(是Through the Looking Glass的Red Queen,和第一部的紅心皇后不是同樣的角色)的極權統治,生活籠罩在恐懼之中。Alice被預言是會將Red Queen的Jabberwocky擊斃的人物,因而受到White Queen的擁護者的支持,同時也是Red Queen一心想盡快處掉的。而Alice,還不斷在思考,這一切是真的,還只是一場夢? Tim Burton大導,當然可以取得當今世上最好的動畫科技,也因此在特效上毫不手軟,一看就是砸了大筆錢上去。Wonderland裡的場景和動物角色,基本上都是特效,只有其餘人物角色才是靠人演的。其中,Mad Hatter是強尼戴普,Red Queen是Tim Burton自己老婆Helena Bonham Carter,還有White Queen是Anne Hathaway所飾演。Alice,則由年輕的奧洲女星Mia Wasikowska主演。電影的畫面,運用了鮮豔且對比濃厚的色彩,加上了一種很陰森的感覺,也是Burton的特別風格。如對故事本身沒太大的興趣,至少是能得到視覺上的一種享受。

為了看這兩部電影,特別複習了一下當初Lewis Carroll的原文小說。兩部電影都沒有抓住原著裡角色無厘頭對話的精髓,不過它們各有自己改編的主軸和特色,也有一定的娛樂價值。


GGs Adventure said...

"但無故竄原來的劇情" 少了一個字"竄改"的"改" :P

真服了你,竟然可以先寫好一個月份的. 我就會讓我的青黃不接 XD

Deadlockcp said...



John Hendron said...

You sold me on the first one with Kathy Bates.

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