Monday, May 22, 2017

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole: Adaptations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

1951 opening credits to Disney's Alice in Wonderland.
Writing Activity:
For today's class, we will be falling down the rabbit hole with Alice from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  I want us to begin by looking at the opening credits of the 1951 Disney animated feature, Alice in Wonderland, and discussing the ways Disney has appropriated Carroll's story.  When we are finished, please answer the following questions in the comments section below.

1) What visual similarities do you see between Carroll's (and illustrator John Tenniel's) Alice and Disney's Alice?
2) Does the movie follow the story, characterization, and dialogue closely? Why or why not?

2010 opening credits from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (Disney).

3) What major changes does Tim Burton make to Alice's journey down the rabbit hole?
4) What is lost and what is gained by these changes?
5) Lastly, why a rabbit hole?


  1. 1) What visual similarities do you see between Carroll's (and illustrator John Tenniel's) Alice and Disney's Alice?
    I found the tone kind of similar in the book and in the Disney version. Alice in both versions Alice was curious, very pensive. It follows the story line rather well too, starting off with Alice not really paying attention to the book because of the lack of pictures, then she follows a rabbit down the rabbit hole.

    2) Does the movie follow the story, characterization, and dialogue closely? Why or why not?
    The Disney version and Carroll's version are very similar. Falling down the rabbit hole, the dialogue was similar, except Alice in the movie said "of falling down stairs" where as the book says "of tumbling down stairs." The movie seems a little more animated than the book would be though. For example, in the book I pictured an actual rabbit, but in the movie, the rabbit was more of a little person in a hurry. Also, in the way beginning of the book, Alice's sister is the one reading to her, and in the movie it happens to be her mom.

  2. 1) The first similarity between Carrol's Alice and Disney's, is that they are both little girls. In the Tim Burton movie, Alice is played by an older woman. Alice looks similar to how she did in the book, with her blonde hair and blue dress, in both of the movies.

    2) In the Disney movie, everything looks and feels imaginative like the book, whereas in Tim Burtons version everything looks and feels more realistic. I feel that the Disney movie does a better job of sticking to the original storyline, as well as the language from the book. Because Alice is older in Tim Burton's movie, it changes the storyline quite a bit. In the Disney movie, Alice wants to go to wonderland to have her own world just as she would like it. In Tim Burton's movie, Alice is running away from being married. While for different reasons, both movies have the similarity of her "running away" from her life.

    3) In Tim Burton's movie, her fall is made to be scary and more realistic. She is falling very fast and is actually scared of what is going to happen. Alice has no idea what she is getting into, and it seems like she doesn't want this to happen. In the book and Disney version, Alice is not scared, only curious as to where she will end up. Also, her fall lasts much longer in these versions, giving her time to think about what will happen next. Another thing I noticed about the fall in Tim Burton movie, is that Alice would end up hitting things as she fell, and that she landed much harder. In the Disney version, her dress acts as a parachute, and she doesn't get hurt at all.

    4) I honestly think that a big part of the storyline is lost or changed when making Alice an adult. When Alice visits wonderland at a young age, it inspires her of what the rest of her life should be like, while also teaching her lessons. My understanding is that, in Time Burtons version, Alice must have missed out on these lessons while she was younger, and is learning them finally as an adult. It also makes much more sense for Alice to be a little girl, and that she imagined this world for herself, rather than her being an adult and doing that. Children are able to run a away in their minds, but it is much harder for an adult to do that.

    5) I'm not really sure why Carroll chose a rabbit hole. I think the hole itself can symbolize the journey from childhood to adulthood and how long it seems to get there, even though it actually doesn't take that long at all. I also think that it can represent her "falling" asleep, and starting to dream of wonderland.

  3. 1. They both have similar clothing style (i.e., the dress with the apron) and of most noticeably the same curly hair. Though we can't tell what color it is since the illustrations are in black and white.

    2. From what I remember, it follows the story fairly close to the original. Although some characters are left out/changed or certain dialogue is spoken by a different character

    3. True to Burton's style, he makes her trip much scarier. The hole also looks more like a rabbit hole than the Disney one, which made it look more like some sort of warped room.

    4. It definitely makes the scene a bit more engaging to viewers, since there's so much fast-paced movement that one is excited to watch it. However, it loses the childlike sense of wonder as the examines all the floating pieces of furniture.

    5. I suppose a rabbit hole is an interesting and unusual thing to fall down.

  4. 1. They are both dressed similarly, and have long hair. They also are both young girls.
    2. The movie follows the book very closely, with a few differences here and there.
    3. Tim Burton made Alice's journey more of an accident for her. He also made Alice a young woman of marrying age, rather than a small, innocent child.
    4. I think some of the major elements of the story are changed because of the age of Alice. There is less of the childhood curiosity factor that Alice has in the book. However, this change also seems to make the movie more appropriate for older audiences as well as younger ones.
    5. I've personally never fallen into a rabbit hole, but I think they are probably rather large, and therefore a place that children could explore and pretend a little bit.

  5. 1) They are both portrayed as young girls who are energetic .From the illustrations on the book and the Disney version they look and are dresses very similar.

    2)The movie does follow the book pretty closely.There are little details added and removed but nothing too dramatic.

    3)In the book and and both movies the fall down the rabbit hole are all different but the most noticeably different is the Tim Burton.Because she seems scared and is obviously scared that she fell she wasn't expecting it and she also ended falling down on the ground kind of hard.It seems more real than both of the other falling scenes.Everything is happening fast and at the same time kind of magical but she is screaming at the top of her lungs scared unlike the 1951 version.In that version Alice is looking around and is interested in her surroundings and is falling gracefully which is the opposite of the Tim Burton's version.

    4)Things that are lost are definitely a big change to the story. The fact that they made Alice an older girl made the story very different and a different feel to the story.Because you get a little girl having such an active imagination.But then you see a 18-23 year old girl.It's harder to make the story even remotely believable because you can see a child doing this and they have a wild imagination.But there are something that just don't sound right if the character is not a child.Like crying themselves a river than shrinking and swimming with a Mouse.

    5)Maybe the rabbit hole represents her leaving her childhood.Then the rabbit represents her actual childhood because she chases the rabbit but can't catch up to it.Then she can't get in the garden.The garden of purity and innocence, if she can't get in then she is no longer innocent or pure.She doesn't know is gone but she wants it back.

  6. 1) Most of the similarities that stood out to me were the illustrations of the characters. The rabbit was wearing the same clothes, and had his watch. Alice was wearing a dress and had long hair in both the book and movie.
    2) The beginning dialogue was changed a little bit in the beginning, when Alice was talking about "her wonderland," however the movie does follow the story of the book closely. Other than the story line being the same, I thought that Alice's characterization was the same, because when she was falling down the rabbit hole she had the same thoughts about falling down stairs and reaching the end of the earth.
    3) First, Alice isn't a little girl, but a grown woman who is old enough to be making arrangements with men. Secondly, when she falls down the rabbit hole, Tim Burton made it seem like it was a horror movie. The music was faster, and more intense. She didn't have any of her famous thoughts. Instead, she was just screaming at the top of her lungs, as if inevitable death was upon her. Though this is probably what one would do if they fell down a miles long rabbit hole, it changes the story completely because it takes away from the nonsense aspect of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
    4) A real life vision of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is gained, because it shows us a girl in real life following a rabbit, and falling down a rabbit hole. The visuals help us to understand what is going on clearer. However, much is lost. Due to the fact that Alice is older in this adaptation, her character loses it's innocence and child like imagination.
    5) I think it could be a place where a child could play or explore and let their imaginations run. Why wouldn't it be a rabbit hole? Alice was following a rabbit. However I guess it wouldn't surprise me if the wonderland rabbit went down a different hole such as a badger hole or a weasel hole, considering wonderland's backwards qualities.

  7. 1) What visual similarities do you see between Carroll's (and illustrator John Tenniel's) Alice and Disney's Alice?
    Both Alice's are very youthful. They both wear aprons, have "blonde" hair, and black flats. The Alice in the book is similar to Alice Liddel's figure, and the Disney's Alice is a representation of that as well.

    2) Does the movie follow the story, characterization, and dialogue closely? Why or why not?
    The Disney version did well at keeping Alice's innocence and made it dream like. It is definitely the closest version to the book because it would be hard to change much because it's such a unique story. The Tim Burton version seemed to have changed it a bit, by making it fast paced; yet, that Alice is searching for her innocence back.

    3) What major changes does Tim Burton make to Alice's journey down the rabbit hole?
    It's fast-pace, intense, and something adults would enjoy. Whilst the Disney version was very slow and she was pretty much floating down.

    4) What is lost and what is gained by these changes?
    The innocence was lost by this change. Reality was gained by it. That fall was something we can relate to, and it made sense. Disney's Alice's fall was "nonsense"

    5) Lastly, why a rabbit hole?
    To represent the entering of another dimension. or the stages before REM sleep.

  8. 1) Carroll's (and illustrator John Tenniel's) Alice and Disney's Alice are both young girls with very free-spirited and energetic. They also look similar, both with long hair.
    2) Disney's version of the story is similar to Carroll's version. There are not many changes in what is said in each the book and movie. Alice acts very similar in both as well, and she tends to do what she wants out of curiosity (go down the rabbit hole).
    3) Alice was terrified, and unlike the story, she didn't mean to go down the rabbit hole. She screamed the whole way down, whereas in the book, she wasn't so afraid. She was also older in Tim Burton's version.
    4) The curiosity and youth of Alice was lost in Tim Burton's version. However, the change showed what Alice might've acted like if she was older when Wonderland took place. She wouldn't have been so care/worry free.
    5) Children are always exploring and playing outside. A rabbit hole is a place where a child could easily find and be interested by.

  9. 1) What visual similarities do you see between Carroll's (and illustrator John Tenniel's) Alice and Disney's Alice?
    In both these versions of the story Alice is young, and has a very similar, personality and appearance. For example she is wearing a dress and has somewhat long curly hair and is fairly sassy mostly because she isn't used to how easily offended all the creatures are and starts to lose her patience.

    2) Does the movie follow the story, characterization, and dialogue closely? Why or why not?
    I think the Disney movie kept the story, characterization and dialogue more closely to the original than Tim Burtons because I noticed a lot more (almost) direct quotes in the Disney interpretation. Although Tim Burton still follows the story pretty closely I think it's safe to say he appropriates it much more than the Disney version.

    3) What major changes does Tim Burton make to Alice's journey down the rabbit hole?
    Tim Burton takes Alice's story and puts a twist on it so one can have a visual adaptation of what would happen to Alice if she went to Wonderland as an adult. So because of this there are obviously going to be some major changes. For instance instead of being taught lessons when she happens to notice the rabbit in the waist coat she is being proposed to by someone she does not have much interest in. Another major difference of when she is actually falling down the rabbit hole is that instead of crawling into it at first she's just looking straight down and then topples downwards at a much faster pace than the Disney version. Tim Burton made the tone very stressful and chaotic for Alice rather than kind of slow and dreamy like.

    4) What is lost and what is gained by these changes?
    To me the changes that Tim Burton made were essential to match his story line. Because in his version Alice is older and not the carefree, go with the flow kind of girl the young Alice was in the Disney version. So in Tim Burtons version, Alice's role of not knowing who she is flip flops in a way. Because instead of not knowing who she and almost feels like someone else, she knows who she is but wants to deny that she's the "right" Alice and fool herself that she is someone else. Without this part of Tim Burtons storyline would be lost.

    5) Lastly, why a rabbit hole?
    I think a rabbit hole because for one it's outside so it matches the setting she's in. And two it makes it very mystical and not logical (in our world) for there to be a whole other world within the passage way of a rabbit hole, but that would be nothing but normal in Wonderland. For Carroll it could also represent Alice falling in a deep sleep since he mentions it being so hot out that it made Alice feel "stupid" and sleepy.

  10. 1. Alice was the biggest similarity to me. In both movies, they're wearing the same style clothing in color and along with her hair.
    2. The Disney version follows the novel very well, with being dream-like and playful whereas the adaptation was more mature and had a dark undertone to it.
    3. Tim Burton's adaptation was more fast-paced and was straight to the point whereas the Disney version was slow and dreamy.
    4. Definitely Alice's innocence is lost in Tim Burton's version. Alice is more adult and mature whereas in Disney, she is childlike.
    5. I think the rabbit hole represents her falling into adulthood.

  11. 3) What major changes does Tim Burton make to Alice's journey down the rabbit hole?
    He makes this version original. Nobody wants to see the same movie twice, so those who decide to watch this movie have probably already fallen in love with the story though the movie or the book. The major changes he makes in his version of this scene is that when she falls, it seems so frightening, but in the movie, Alice just seems curious. This may have to do with her age, because when you are older falling, you fell life threatened. Although as a child, you are kind of blocked to even the thought of death because children are unfamiliar with it.
    4) What is lost and what is gained by these changes?
    How the movie is interpreted is lost. The story of Alice is not really how it is in the Tim Burten version, but a new interpretation is also gained because it allows people to wonder what would happen if Alice were to return to Wonderland.
    5) Lastly, why a rabbit hole?
    Honestly, I don't know if a rabbit hole has some sort of meaning, but possible Alice Lindell's favorite animal was a rabbit. Also, I know that when I was a kid, I would find rabbit holes and always joke with my mom that maybe the Easter Bunny was down there. Rabbits have a connection to children so a rabbit hole seems like a reasonable thing for Alice to fall through.

  12. 1. They are both very similar in the place where the story begins (by the river), and it is also like she is following the rabbit because she is curious and wants to go down the rabbit hole with him.
    2.I do not think that the Disney version follows the story and dialogue word for word, but much better than the Tim Burton version.
    3. When the older Alice falls down the rabbit hole, she is much more scared of it. It is a much faster fall too. In the 50s version and in the book her fall is very slow and she can take in at all the things that she falls past, but in Burton's version, its like Alice is speeding to get there.
    4. I think that making older Alice fall faster make the story better because she has already been there before and is unnecessary for her to see everything again if she has already fallen down the rabbit hole. I think that the changes made from book to movie are good because it makes the people who watch the movies stay engaged
    in the story. For the most part, I think that the story stays the same even with the changes that are made when making the movies because the overall message does not change.
    5. Possibly a rabbit hole because it seems like a sensible reason for a child to become distracted when by the riverbed. I feel like if a rabbit ran past me when I was younger, I would certainly follow it to see where it was headed. Just the curious minds of young children perhaps.

  13. 1. One major visual similarity between disney's and the original is the general look of everything. While characters like the hatter and march hare are a bit more conventional looking in Disney's version the general look is the same.
    2. The movie follows the book fairly well, is does skip a few parts that wouldn't hold children attention but this makes sense.
    3. The biggest change Tim Burton makes is that Alice is terrified while falling down the hole rather than being intrigued.
    4. A new tone is set in Burton's adaptation that creates an atmosphere of severity whereas the tone of childlike wonder is lost.
    5. A rabbit hole is an unassuming place for an entrance to another world so it fits with the theme of the book.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.