Alice in Wonderland

1966 adaptation of a notable math debater's most famous novel

Rating: 15/20 (Buster: 0/20)

Plot: It's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I don't have the time or energy to tell you what that's about.

Any adaptation of Lewis Carroll's novel about a little girl falling in a hole while chasing a talking white rabbit with a watch and then changing sizes repeatedly, being threatened with decapitation, and having conversations with disembodied cat heads and hookah-puffing caterpillars is going to be strange. I might argue that this version created for the BBC is the strangest of all despite a lack of talking animals, special effects, or weird imagery.

This version is very faithful to the novel except the animal characters are all replaced with actual people. Ironically, that makes the whole thing odd. Odd and a little chilling. The deadpan delivery of Carroll's lines makes the journey through a place that doesn't even look all that magical seem really cold. The story's actually somewhat fragmented as some scenes that would require special effects--like the flood of Alice's tears or her growing to immense proportions inside the White Rabbit's house--are truncated or completely missing. So a familiarity with the source material is probably recommended before diving into this version.

Anne-Marie Mallick is fine as Alice, succeeding in seeming more mature and confident as the story progresses. There are a lot of famous faces around her. Michael Redgrave plays the Caterpillar, Peter Sellers is the King of Hearts, John Gielgud is the Mock Turtle, and Peter Cook and Michael Gough are understated and funny as the Mad Hatter and March Hare respectively. Nobody overdoes anything, not even the Queen of Hearts.

Oh, I forgot. There is a special effect with the Cheshire Cat--just a normal house cat--getting his head superimposed in the sky above the characters' heads at one point. It's unremarkable.

Anyway, this is a good case of a movie that is unusual for not really being unusual at all.

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