A Comparison of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll’s Original Novel
It would be hard to overestimate the importance of Lewis Carroll's Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in the history of English-language children’s literature. The book was published in 1865 and since then, it has been translated into almost every existing language and became one of the most popular children’s stories of all time. It is also worth noting that, despite being written more than 150 years ago, the book remains relevant even today and continues to influence popular culture in a variety of ways. For instance, it was one of the sources of inspiration for Tim Burton's 2010 movie Alice in Wonderland.
However, despite the fact that both the book and the movie are based on the same source material, they are actually quite different from each other in terms of both themes and visuals. In this paper, I will compare and contrast these two versions of Alice’s story in order to demonstrate how Tim Burton's reinterpretation differs from Carroll's original novel.
2. Thematic Differences between the Book and the Movie
2.1. departing from the Central Premise of the Story
The first and perhaps the most significant difference between Burton's movie and Carroll's book is the way in which they depart from the central premise of Alice’s story. In the book, Alice falls asleep under a tree and dreams that she goes down a rabbit hole into a fantastical world called Wonderland. However, when she wakes up, she realizes that it was all just a dream.
On the other hand, Burton's movie starts out with Alice being transported to Wonderland against her will. Moreover, it is later revealed that she had actually been there before and that her previous visit was also not just a dream. This change in the story’s premise allows Burton to explore a number of different themes that were not present in Carroll's original work.
For instance, while Carroll’s Wonderland is mostly a playful and whimsical place, Burton’s version is significantly darker and more sinister. This is not just because of the different visual style that Burton uses (which will be discussed in more detail below), but also because of the different themes that he chooses to focus on. For example, while Carroll’s book is mostly concerned with issues of childhood innocence and imagination, Burton’s movie deals with much more adult topics such as loss of innocence, betrayal, and death.
2. 2 Making Alice a Character with agency
Another significant difference between Carroll’s book and Burton’s movie is the way in which Alice is portrayed as a character. In the book, Alice is mostly a passive figure who does not have much agency or control over her own actions. For example, she often finds herself in situations where she does not know what to do or say and can only react to what others around her are doing or saying.
On the other hand, Burton portrays Alice as a much more active and assertive character who often takes charge of her own destiny. For instance, early on in the movie, she stands up to the Queen of Hearts when she is accused of stealing her tarts even though she knows that she could be executed for it. This difference in the way Alice is portrayed allows Burton to explore different themes than those present in Carroll’s original work.
3. Visual Differences between the Book and the Movie
3.1. Dark and Sinister Visuals in the Movie
As already mentioned above, one of the most significant differences between Burton’s movie and Carroll’s book is the different visual style that they use. While Carroll’s book is mostly concerned with issues of childhood innocence and imagination, Burton’s movie deals with much more adult topics such as loss of innocence, betrayal, and death. This difference is reflected in the different visuals that are used in the two works.
For instance, while Carroll’s Wonderland is mostly portrayed as a bright and colorful place, Burton’s version is significantly darker and more sinister. This is most clearly seen in the way Burton chooses to portray the Queen of Hearts. In the book, she is mostly portrayed as a comical character who is more annoying than anything else. On the other hand, in Burton’s movie, she is a much more menacing figure whose threats are actually credible and often result in death.
Another example of this difference can be seen in the way Burton chooses to portray the Cheshire Cat. In the book, he is mostly portrayed as a friendly and helpful character who offers Alice advice when she needs it. On the other hand, in Burton’s movie, he is a much more ambiguous character whose motives are not always clear. This change in visual style allows Burton to explore different themes than those present in Carroll’s original work.
3. 2 Making the World of Wonderland more Edgy
As well as using different visuals to portray the characters in his movie, Burton also uses different visuals to make the world of Wonderland itself more edgy and sinister. For instance, he uses a number of close-ups and low angles to create an unsettling feeling of unease and menace. He also uses a lot of dark colors and shadows to add to this feeling.
However, despite all these changes, Burton still manages to retain some of the key elements from Carroll’s original work that make Wonderland such a unique and special place. For instance, he still includes a number of surreal and fantastical elements such as giant mushrooms and talking flowers. This combination of familiar and new elements makes Burton’s version of Wonderland a much more interesting and complex place than Carroll’s original work.
4.1 Inapplicability of the Evaluative Criteria Developed for Regular Films to Tim Burton's Works
Before concluding this paper, it is worth noting that the evaluative criteria developed for regular films are not entirely applicable to Tim Burton's works. This is because Burton's films are not intended to be realistic or believable in the same way that other films are. Instead, they are intended to be surreal and fantastical experiences that take viewers on a journey into Burton's unique imagination.
As such, when judging whether or not Burton's films are successful, it is important to judge them against their own internal logic and consistency rather than against the standards set by other films. With this in mind, it is fair to say that Burton