Alice in Wonderland was a very confusing book for me when I was a teenager. I prefer biographies and books which have some semblance of “realism”. So imagine my joy when I watched the 2010 Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland movie recently.
I was intrigued with the idea of the little daughter telling her father about a reoccurring daydream and then fast forwarding many years to when the child was now a young lady. I recall thinking that the make up artist got carried away with the white face paint and powder because the older Alice was so ashen that it appeared the director was attempting to make her look like a corpse.
Alice sees a white rabbit in a coat, but nobody else sees the dressed up bunny. Per the fairytail story, Alice falls down a crack in the ground and begins her trip in”Wonderland.” There is chitchat of whether this is the “right Alice” – the Alice from her childhood – and she tries to say she is not the “right Alice” but as time goes on, the young woman remembers her first stay to this fantasy land and accepts that she is the Alice they all have been waiting for. There is a scroll which shows Alice fighting a mighty flying beast and she continually tells everyone she can’t and might never ever slay that beast.
Alice has many out of the ordinary adventures and comes upon the Mad Hatter having a tea party. While they are talking, they hear the Red Queen’s army. The Red Queen has heard of an intruder, and she has sent her army to locate Alice. With some potion, the Mad Hatter helps Alice decrease to such a small size she fits into a teapot.
Since I am a dog lover, I also enjoyed a subplot involving a hunting dog who was told that if he located Alice he, his wife and pups would be freed from the red queen’s clutches . The horse tells the knight, “dogs will believe anything.” The hound knows Alice is in the tea pot but the Mad Hatter tells him something so he runs away. The army takes the Mad Hatter and Alice vows to go get him rather than stay safely away.
In Wonderland, the White Queen had been replaced by the Red Queen in an adverse course of circumstances where the Crown landed on the Red Queen’s head. The director really created a very out of the ordinary character with the Queen of Hearts – red locks, inthe shape of a heart, ghost ashen face with stripes of blue above her eyes, and cherry lipstick in the shape of a heart on her lips. Her clothing was very regal in a typical ball gown form with gold and red colors – and of course, hearts .
While red hearts are normally associated with kindness and passion, this queen is the opposite of good. One of her favorite quotes is, “off with their heads.” She is quick to anger and not very brainy. To underscore the Red Queen’s lack of acumen, when Alice is found on the castle property , and she is asked her name, Alice knows she can’t tell her “Alice” and in an attempt to stall, replies, “…um…” which the Queen believes is her first name .
She proceeds to call Alice “Um” and tells everybody that the young lady’s given name is “Um.” In addition, it occurred to me that since this world does not in reality have people like Alice existing there, the Queen of Hearts seemed to have no suspicion that this strange, big, being could be Alice!
Alice tries to help the Mad Hatter escape, but it does not go smoothly and he tells her to go get a special sword and take it to the White Queen. Alice is able to get past a great beast to obtain the sword and she takes it to the White Queen. Ultimately the Mad Hatter and hound family (yeah!) join her and the White Queen.
The White Queen seems a bit atypical to me, as she has dark, black lips and black painted nails. She has long white tresses and a white ball gown so the contrast of light and dark did not make sense to me. The actress plays the part perfectly with agile, flowing movements, including arms that seem to constantly be outstretched as if they were wings – but seem ideal for the White Queen.
After some time the two Queens meet and we find out they are sisters. The White Queen does not want to fight, but the Red Queen refuses to give her back the crown. So the war begins, and Alice, with the special sword, follows the Red Queens example and pronounces “off with your head” when she beheads the Jabberwock.
The fighting stops and then the White Queen banishes the Red Queen and Knight from the kingdom, and no one is to have anything to do with them for the rest of their lives . In the movie, Alice sadly says farewell to her friends and climbs out of the fantasy land and as they say in all fairytales – lives happily ever after!
The popularity of the movie characters has created a frenzy for Halloween costumes from the fairy-tale. Outfits for Alice, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad hatter seem to be the most well-liked and can be bought in all sizes and price ranges.
The Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland is based on pure fantasy and if you would like to break out of reality this Halloween, you can find plenty of options for every size and budget. The website http://costumequeenofhearts.net has a plethora of womens, mens and child Halloween costumes from the Alice in Wonderland movie – not just the Queen of Hearts.