March 4, 2010, - 5:20 pm
“Gloria Steinem in Wonderland”: Hollywood Turns Alice Into Feminist Manifesto, Anti-Male Action Flick
If you’re planning to see Disney’s new version of “Alice in Wonderland,” know that it really isn’t Alice in Wonderland at all. It’s Gloria (Steinem) and Betty (Friedan) and Susan (Sarandon) in a high tech, souped up, feminist wonderland. It’s like NOW (the National Organization for Women) invaded a kids’ flick and turned it into a horror movie. There’s nothing wondrous or wonderful about it. It’s dumbed down baloney.
Gloria Steinem’s Fantasy, Not Lewis Caroll’s Charming Classic
The new “Alice” is about the horrors of marriage and how, even back in the 1800s a young girl knows more about business and trading in far off lands than a wealthy English tycoon. The movie, which debuts in theaters tonight, bears very little resemblance to the classic Lewis Carroll fairy tale, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” While the 3-D effects were okay and some of the movie was cute, the destruction of Carroll’s charming tale is a huge disappointment. And it simply wasn’t “Alice in Wonderland.” It was the feminist manifesto fraudulently and deceptively dressed up in that name.
Instead of a young Alice, bored and sitting with her sister, falling asleep and dreaming of Wonderland, Disney’s latest Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is 19 years old, her father has died, and she’s on the way to a party, which everyone but her knows is her engagement party. She’s about to be married off to the son of a wealthy English noble whom she barely knows and in whom she has no interest. But that’s not before she spies her brother-in-law cheating on her older sister and that sister lectures her about how she must get married before she “loses her face” and becomes an “old maid.”
Of course, Alice’s wanna-be fiance is a slobbering idiot, as pretty much all the men in this movie are (but for her father, who dies at the beginning). The only decent human male in the whole flick is the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), and he’s crazy. When Alice is ambushed with the marriage proposal, she runs away and falls down a hole in a tree stump, which is where her action adventure in a dark fantasy world powered by women begins. There is no King of Hearts in this movie, only a Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), who has an oversized head and is supposed to be the Queen of Hearts from the original. And there’s her sister, the rival White Queen (Anne Hathaway), who is good.
A scroll foretells that on a certain upcoming day, Alice will save all the good people in the world by slaying an evil monster, the Jabberwocky, who is under the control of the Red Queen. It shows a picture of Alice as some sort of action hero slaying the giant dragon. The Red Queen learns of this and wants her soldiers and henchmen to find and kill Alice. Most of the rest of the movie is their search for her, and how she and the Mad Hatter arrive in the Red Queen’s palace, then escape with a magical sword with which to slay the Jabberwocky. Yes, there are the rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the Cheshire Cat, along with the Hatter. But there really is very little charm in any of them (but for the cat), as they are simply extras in a saccharin political story that is far off the path of the Lewis Carroll story where they were at home and endearing.
At the end of the movie, when Alice elects to go home from Wonderland and the White Queen, she publicly declines her male suitor’s proposal for engagement to marry, tells off her non-feminist married sister and her lecherous brother-in-law, and tells the world that marriage simply isn’t for her. Then, she instructs the father of her rejected suitor on how to open new business in China. You see, they are now partners in business, and she being a 19-year-old in 1800-something knows more about how to succeed in business than a wealthy man in his 50s who has been a success in business for most of his career.
The end. Make sure to complete your NOW membership card before you turn in your 3D glasses to be recycled.
Back when I was in Fourth Grade, my teacher made me memorize a poem from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which included this verse:
The time has come the walrus said to talk of many things, of shoes and ships and ceiling wax, of cabbages and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings.
There was none of that poetry or greatness in this faux-“Alice.” Not even close.
Lewis Carroll, ne Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, is turning over in his grave. But, hey, a women’s rights activist, Linda Woolverton (who wrote this screenplay), and a bizarro director, Tim Burton, turned his deep kids’ tale into a shallow, “updated” political polemic for the 2010s.
The ghost of Betty Friedan is laughing at poor Mr. Carroll, assuming they went to the same place. And I don’t.
FOUR MARXES PLUS A BETTY FRIEDAN
Tags: action hero, Alice in Wonderland, Anne Hathaway, anti-male, anti-marriage, Betty Friedan, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Cheshire Cat, Disney, feminist, feminist action hero, Gloria Steinem, Helena Bonham Carter, Jabberwocky, Johnny Depp, Lewis Carroll, Mad Hatter, Mia Wasikowska, movie, Movie Reviews, NOW, Red Queen, Tweedledee, Tweedledum, White Queen