To Wonderland

March 8, 2010

Trip to Wonderland

by Audrey Pullet

In case you wondered, the just-opened Alice In Wonderland is no tea party. It’s a fantastical feast whipped up by Chef Tim Burton. I thought I knew the story of “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. Think again, I said to me, this Wonderland’s a trip.

Alice In Wonderland (Walt Disney Pictures)

I suspect many of us at the 2D screening were overflow from the 3D IMAX event down the hall. I was concerned that Alice might not hold up in two dimensions. But a few minutes into the film, I whooshed down the rabbit hole right along with her. The pace never lets up, except where it’s supposed to, in the obligatory “what should I do?” scene. Well, it doesn’t take Alice long to decide what to do. “It’s my dream,” she says. “I make the path.”

This Alice is not the little girl of the original tale. She’s a young woman on the brink of…of a dream, played wonderfully by newcomer Mia Wasikowska. Johnny Depp, who always takes his characters to the brink, is a crazed and clever Mad Hatter. Helena Bonham Carter is the darkly daft Queen of Heads—I mean, Hearts. Anne Hathaway is the slightly off kilter, black-lipped White Queen; call her the Off-White Queen. Of the animagical cast, the March Hare and Cheshire bleu Cat kept me smiling.

This Alice holds up well in two dimensions, thanks in great part to screenwriter Linda Woolverton. But I’m tantalized: what if the depth of 3D technology is not a third dimension at all, but a fourth? Because every movie, flat or filled, requires the audience to supply an extra dimension known as taste. How is it? Is it good? Do I love it?

Call me crazy, but I do. My compliments to the chef.

• • • • •

Audrey whacked the cabbage in two, sliced it thinly, grated a carrot and stirred in crushed pineapple, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. She mixed it hurriedly and set it on the table.

Adding a fourth place setting felt odd. Pulling up a fourth chair and seeing Joe sit there—weird. When was the last time?

“Look at this guy,” Joe said. “Ev, you seriously grew four inches.”

“No, dude,” Evan said. “You shrank.”

They laughed as if they’d already filled in the missing months. To Audrey, dinner was taking place in a time warp. Carl hadn’t said a thing. He’d come home from work an hour ago. She’d seen his truck idling in the driveway a good ten minutes, much too long to be listening to the end of “When You’re Strange.” He’d stayed in the garage, putting away tools, sweeping six-month-old sawdust from behind the band saw, organizing his screwdrivers (common and Phillips) which had prompted Audrey to ask him what in the world he was doing.

“Great coleslaw, mom,” Joe said.

Audrey smiled.

©2010 Pam Wells

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