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Wonderland is a crowded place

September 22, 2010

I was poking around Netflix the other day, and one of the movies that was recommended for me was Phoebe in Wonderland.  I was a bit wary, because I absolutely love Alice in Wonderland, but in a very purist kind of way– I haven’t even seen the latest remake of it.  But the synopsis sounded interesting, so figured I’d start watching it, and I really enjoyed it.

Phoebe in Wonderland is the story of an imaginative and curious girl who is trying to work through some behavioral issues, while the adults around her try to help her.  Phoebe’s interactions with other kids improve after she becomes involved with a school play of Alice in Wonderland.  And those adults?  They make a mess of things, except for Phoebe’s drama teacher.

I usually absolutely hate any depiction of precocious children, as Marissa can attest after seeing me mock Michelle from Full House every time she said some scripted thing that was supposed to be “wise.”  It always seems so contrived and a cheap ‘aww’ moment.  But Phoebe in Wonderland wasn’t like that at all– Phoebe was portrayed as a sweet but believably flawed girl, intelligent but not weirdly ‘knowing.’    This was a really great movie to watch just for the visuals, too– between the plot and the color story, it reminded me a lot of Amelie. The lighting was pretty and dreamy, the color story for each character fit perfectly, just a very nice film to look at.  I definitely recommend watching this movie, it’s touching and relevant and well-done.

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Then I watched another Wonderland themed movie… Malice in Wonderland, from 2009, had a good basic premise and…. that was about it.  It was meandering and while I can see where those who are into the trippier aspects of the original Alice might enjoy it, it just didn’t do much for me.

Honestly, I think my main issue with this movie was the portrayal of Alice as this sort of Lolita character.  I really can’t stand when she’s portrayed that way.  For instance, in this version, Alice gets amnesia and is left to blink innocently at a bunch of increasingly sketchy men.  In bars.  And their cars.  And asks them for a ride home.  And she follows them all over London (Wonderland, sorry) because she just trusts them so much.  Puh-lease.  I guess part of why I was so disappointed with this movie was because the idea is actually pretty good, to hint at the classic Alice while putting a modern, edgy spin on it, but the execution was mediocre.

There was one saving grace to this movie, though… The actor who plays the equivalent of the White Rabbit, Danny Dyer, is pretty cute.

Happy Autumn everyone!

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