In my film class, I’ve been studying Spielberg and his recurring theme of paternal absenteeism. Aside from that, I’ve basically been forced into the habit of studying the structure, symbols, and themesof movies. So when I took the day off yesterday to go see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, I immediately saw parallels to Spielberg’s Hook.
For one, Peter Banning in Hook returns to Neverland as an adult without any memory of his prior visit. Peter Banning is simply Peter Pan all grown up as an adult. His identity as Peter Pan is questioned however. He arrives in Neverland in order to save his children but requires the help of Tinkerbell in order to coach him into developing the necessary skills. In the end, Captain Hook is killed and the imaginary world of Neverland is rid of evil.

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice returns to Wonderland (sorry, Underland according to Burton) as a girl who’s grown up (not nearly as advanced in age as Peter Banning, but still). She also has no memory of her previous adventures. And like Peter Banning, her identity as the correct Alice is questioned. By the end of the movie, Alice restores order to Underland and dethrones the evil Red Queen.I’ll have to wait until Alice in Wonderland comes out on DVD (unless I go watch it again with pen light and notebook in hand), but so far I’d have to say that the connection between Alice in Wonderland is a pretty strong one.I viewed the movie in 3D at the Union Square theater. The 3D effects were slightly off: I’m not sure if it was an issue with the projector or something, but it just felt slightly miscalibrated. In Avatar, the 3D effects were spectacular and I never felt any fatigue in my eyes throughout the movie. In Alice however, I did feel the fatigue that others have reported. I wonder if such fatigue is due to poorly set up projection equipment or if it’s an issue with the source material.

On another note, I was pretty disappointed that Burton’s reinterpretation of Alice in Wonderland wasn’t rife with twisted creepiness and all those other hallmarks of a Burton film. Visually, it is undeniably Burton-esque, but the story was rather straightforward and the character development felt a little sparse. Then again, I do need to watch the film again to make a better judgment. I also have to admit that I had only gotten three or four hours of sleep the night prior to my viewing, but I didn’t fall asleep or anything.