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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tink!


Tinker Bell is an odd character. She is a fairy and fairies, as is quoted in the book by Barrie and the film Peter Pan by Hogan, "have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time." So Tinkerbell can only be bad when she is bad and only good when she is good. She cannot find a balance and therefore is somewhat bipolar. She is always so jealous and does evil things to try and kill Wendy, yet as a child I always wanted to be like Tinkerbell and never realized the jealousy behind her. I even was Tinkerbell for halloween one year. I find that Barrie plays with the role of females and males in this novel because even though he portrays Tinkerbell as the jealous and uncontrollably emotional girl, he also shows Wendy as the maternal figure. Though, I cannot make a feminist arguement here due to the male characters in the novel. Peter is always so full of himself and believes he is the best at everything and should be the captain wherever he is. Wendy's father also has issues for dominance when he throws out Nana to prove who is "master" of the house. He illustrates the typical roles of males and females.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Futter..What?



Where did this come from?! I recently watched Tim Burton's interpretation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. I quite enjoyed the movie, yet I felt it was a bit rushed which was completely opposite to the drawn out children's novels. When I saw the anti-climactic ending, I thought it was very predictable and dull but something took me off gaurd: the Futterwacken. I was very confused and lost. I feel this is unecessary for the film and where did it even come from? I would love to know if Carroll wrote a poem or something on it like "Jabberwocky," but I can't recall reading about it. I understand that Disney may have wanted Burton to insert some fun and light heartedness in this film because it is for children (so to speak for Disney's reputation), but I felt this was a cheesy attempt. Yet, I am an adult and maybe my younger brother, who is 8 years old, may have enjoyed the dance. This movie was a twist between the Czech movie Alice and Disney's original Alice in Wonderland in my opinion. It reminds me of the Czech film because it gives a more dark setting than the cartoon with the atmosphere/weather, the human heads in the moat, and the allusion that the queen murdered the king. On the other hand, it has humor and the creatures are friendly (more friendly than in any other form of Alice) which reminds me of the oringal Disney film.

The Many Sides of Wonderland

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There are many different interpretations of Lewis Carroll’s tale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. While some are dark and eerie, others are cheery and bright. In the past few weeks I’ve read Carroll’s novel along with his sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, and viewed two adaptations of Alice’s adventures in film form.

The first film I watched was Alice, by ┼ávankmajer who is a Czechoslovakian director. It may be the culture difference, but this film was demented and horrifying to me. It differed from the book in many ways but also took the form of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland more than Through the Looking-Glass. From the beginning of the movie, when the sounds are intense and creepy, when there is no one stirring but panning through the decrepit messy room, there is violence present for the stones are being tossed into the cup of tea and a few minutes later the white rabbit is breaking the glass and tearing his own stomach open to get out of his cage. Though the entire movie was dark and had a creepy industrial setting. The movie takes place in a sort of underground run down motel where inanimate objects take on life. Even Alice herself transforms into a child’s doll when she drinks the shrinking potion/cookies. This frightened me so much because I am extremely afraid of dolls ever since I was young. Another thing that really freaked me out was when the rabbit, Bill, and the other creatures with skull heads made a huge paper machete of Alice which trapped her. That was definitely not in the book, but it was a creative play with inanimate objects taking on life like qualities for the director. The sounds throughout the entire film were heightened compared to the almost nonexistent dialogue only produced by Alice’s lips, which also seemed off because the mouth was moving for Czech language while she was speaking English. The entire film was odd and off in my opinion. Again, back to the sounds, the “owe” of Alice herself and the rabbit was disturbing to me because they were being violent to each other and clearly not stopping even when the other protested it was hurting them. The director used a sock with dentures and eyes to represent the caterpillar. While I found this creative, I also found it very strange and not at all flattering to the character. I also kept wondering why the rabbit was so intent on possessing scissors, though in the end I was horrified to find out he was cutting of heads with them! When Alice returns to reality, the glass case in which the rabbit use to be is still broken and empty. She finds the pair of scissors and thinks to herself that she would like to cut the rabbits head off. The ending is very ominous and leaves us with a sense of violence and terror for the little girl wants to cut off the head of her stuffed animal! This is not a wonderland or children’s story in any way.

In Disney’s version, Alice in Wonderland, it takes on a happy atmosphere and is clearly a children’s film. This film incorporates both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass. I made note in my book that in the first novel, there are two chapters that are completely left out in any of the film adaptations called “The Mock Turtle’s Story,” and “The Lobster-Quadrille.” Also, the book is opened up by a poem that starts with the line “All in the golden afternoon,” which reminded me of the song the flowers sing in the Disney version, though the flower scene is entirely from the sequel. As well, the queen giving Alice lessons on proper etiquette, the Bread-and-butterfly, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the story of “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” and the concept of an un-birthday are from the sequel and incorporated into this film. This film differs from Alice in that it is a cartoon, it has a brighter and more optimistic setting, it is more outdoors and not confined to dirty walls, the characters she meets are not so mean to her (differs from the books as well), there are many songs included to lighten the madness, and there is hardly any violence as well as Alice being a little smarter in situations.

I must say I enjoyed the Disney version much better than the other film and the two novels. I’ve always loved the Disney film and reading the book was very sad to me because the tone and situations were much different and drawn out. When reading Through the Looking-Glass I was already familiar with Carroll’s style of writing so I was not as shocked, but it was different from the first and still possessed unanswered nonsense for no apparent reason other than to make you wonder what the characters are talking about. The film Alice will never be a favorite of mine though it was an experience to see a foreign film such as that.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

English 312: Film + Literature

My blog will now be transitioning from topics in English 436: major crit theories to that of English 312: Film + Literature. This blog is now dedicated to my fall 2010 English 312 class with Professor Hatfield at CSUN.