“And then they fled from the roof on flamingos.” – Syfy’s “Alice”
Last night I got to introduce a couple of friends to the Syfy miniseries “Alice” at our weekly Stitch n Bitch. I know I’ve mentioned this show in passing a few months ago but I wanted to go into a bit more detail on it and see if I can entice you guys to give it a chance.
The setting of this version of the story puts us in modern times but in Wonderland approximately 150 years have passed since the Alice of Legend was there. The main character of this retelling, Alice Hamilton, is often asked if she is The Alice but she continues to deny giving the story a plot that doesn’t feel like a reincarnation story or a sequel. It was presented on Syfy as a 2-part series but if you nab the dvd be prepared for a full three hours of awesome visuals and story. There is no break in the middle so you may find that it’s later than you realize when you finally make it to the end credits.
The cast is a mix of actors and actresses that I know well (Kathy Bates, Colm Meaney, Tim Curry) and some that I hadn’t seen, or at least I hadn’t been aware of, before watching the movie (Caterina Scorsone, Andrew Lee Potts). For me, such a mix tends to make me sit up and take more notice of a movie. I can now claim to have a bit of a crush on Andrew Lee Potts as Hatter. If you’re interested in sets, costuming and other visuals you won’t be disappointed. Wonderland is presented as someplace that looks real enough to believe it might exist.
The storyline is different enough from other retellings and reimaginings that I actually found myself caught up in the story. Last night the girls were watching and making guesses about how certain things would turn out and were pleasantly surprised to be wrong. This version of the story brings the characters to life as more “human” and at the same time with less “humanity” in many cases. There are many elements that have an “American McGee’s Alice” feel to them, name the dark tone of Wonderland and many of the characters. Yet at the same time we’re given a heroine who is believable. We’re not even asked to believe that she’s related to the original Alice in any way.
Heck, she’s even a Judo instructor and uses that to kick butt in Wonderland when push comes to shove. Who wouldn’t love that?
There are some awesome and memorable characters and moments in the series. The Hatter in general is awesome (because when is the Hatter not awesome?), the White Knight is so loveable that you’ll want to hug him, squeeze him and call him George, and Alice manages to not always be a damsel in distress. Wait until you meet the Walrus and the Carpenter and discover the “Oysters”. Those and the Tweedles reach some serious levels of creepy.
If you’re a fan of any of the Alice in Wonderland incarnations but haven’t seen this one (even I put off watching it for months), go ahead and give it a try. Then come back and let me know what you think.