Thursday, April 5, 2012

Alice (2009)

I may or may not have rented Alice simply because Andrew-Lee Potts (from Primeval) is in it. Otherwise, another version of Alice in Wonderland? I'd be as interested in that as another variation of Pride and Prejudice (which is very little indeed).

But Alice (2009) did have another positive going for it: Nick Willing, also the man behind Tin Man (2007), directed it. Both of these are TV miniseries, with the first based somewhat on Alice and Wonderland and the second on The Wizard of Oz. That loosely-based-on, almost-sequel state is awkward and easily done badly. But Tin Man was rather interesting when I watched it a year or two ago, and so was Alice.

Though it was aired, I believe, as two episodes, it is just a solid three hours on the DVD; that's quite a bit of run time, so my attention span did start to run once or twice, but just barely. This was a fun piece that delved a little into psychology and symbols, taking just enough from the original books to set up a basis for Wonderland but also allowing enough to be different to tell a separate story. Alice was the proper "straight man" (as opposed to the more comedic characters), developing more internally than outwardly in a way that is reminiscent of the book (although, of course, with the internal/external thing, Wonderland after all is a part of her internal self made external). And I love what Andrew-Lee Potts did with the Hatter. That character becomes the sort of link between this internal/made-up world Alice visits and the "real world." By providing a contrast to Jack, he becomes the external evidence of the change Alice goes through. And who doesn't love a happy ending? Again, bear in mind that it's still a TV series, but one that carries through by means of actors' performances. At its heart, it's rather a thoughtful piece.

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