Your “Alice in Wonderland” Follow-Up Appointment
For the third week in a row, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland has come in #1 at the box office. Burton’s version shows Alice traveling back to Wonderland as a teenager to help save the day. Whether it be the familiarity of the story, the curiosity of another odd Johnny Depp performance, or the fact that it’s in 3-D, the movie has obviously struck a chord with audiences. So this is a post for those who have seen the movie. Don’t worry, I won’t be spoiling anything (the Mad Hatter gets Alice pregnant!). Instead I want to suggest some “further reading” for you to tackle if you saw and/or liked the movie. Now, on to your assignment:
If you saw it because you like Tim Burton…
Tim Burton seems to be becoming more and more successful as the years go on, but it’s never a bad idea to go back and visit his older work. Back in 1988, when Johnny Depp was still on 21 Jump Street, Burton teamed up with his future Batman, Michael Keaton, and made Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice shows us how creative the director could be despite 1988’s technology. Tim didn’t need computer animation. He had Michael Fucking Keaton, Alec The Stud Baldwin, and Geena Whatup-Pretty-Lady Davis. Still, all the Burtonian elements are here: the quirky characters, the Danny Elfman music, the wild and colorful set design, the wispy, Gothic heroine (in this case, Winona Ryder). While Alice in Wonderland may be sleek and pretty, the rougher and dirtier (that’s what she said) Beetlejuice is still one of Burton’s best.
If you saw it because you like magical fantasy worlds…
Jim Henson directed Labyrinth in 1986 with the help of George Lucas, David Bowie, and David Bowie’s bulge. Like Alice, it features a young girl (Jennifer Connelly) who travels into a mystical land; this one filled with riddles, magic, strange creatures, and midgets in puppet costumes. If you thought Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter is off the wall, check out David Bowie’s Goblin King. Depp has method acting and modern computer effects at his disposal. All Bowie had was a can of hairspray and some tights, and he made that shit work.
If you saw it because you like semi-sequels to beloved children’s stories…
Return to Oz
This is not your mother’s “Over the Rainbow” Wizard of Oz. 1985’s Return to Oz is goddamn terrifying. Wheelers! Headless Women! Rock Monsters! Creepy Witch Lady from Willow! Electro-fucking-shock therapy! THIS IS A KID’S MOVIE?! Fairuza Balk takes over for Judy Garland to give you and your children nightmares. Tim Burton may have the reputation of being a weirdo, but even he couldn’t be as demented as the monster who made this movie. Watch it with the lights on.
Feel free to leave a comment if you venture forth and complete the assignment. But no need to complete it right away. Nobody likes a teacher’s pet.