Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why Alice in Wonderland Should Be Done In 3-D?

Though the rework of this Lewis Carroll classic seem like a merger between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking glass, but is there a need for it to be done in 3-D?

By: Ringo Bones

Though the 21st Century incarnation of 3-D cinematography is here to stay because it manages to sell itself effortlessly, Über-director Tim Burton might had his own reasons for why should Alice in Wonderland be done in 3-D cinematography. But shouldn’t we be first try to explore what compelled the Oxford mathematician named Charles Dodgson a.k.a. Lewis Carroll to write the two adventures of Alice in the first place and why should it be done under 3-D cinematography?

When Lewis Carroll wrote Alice Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass around the early 1860s, the stereoscope – an instrument that became an extremely popular parlor toy during the Victorian era and 3-D cinematography’s great grandfather – started to gain inroads into English households. Stereoscopes require two separate photographs of a scene – known as a “stereo pair” – taken from slightly different angles. These photographs are placed in a small viewer, which permits one to be seen by the right eye and the other by the left. The brain accepts the disparity between the pictures as normal and blends them into a three-dimensional or 3-D view.

Though the stuffiness of “polite” Victorian era society is well known – just ask Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Friedrich Nietzsche among others – the 2010 remake of Alice in Wonderland didn’t forgot to point it out. It was also at this point in time when many mathematicians – like Lewis Carroll / Charles Dodgson – now see themselves as formulators of possibilities, rather than as “mere” discoverers of truth. Which lead to his development of symbolic logic – an attempt to reduce all human reasoning into a mathematical notation.

Lewis Carroll was the pen name of the serious Oxford mathematics lecturer named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and famed for being the finest photographer of children in Victorian England. Most (?) readers today know that the story was invented for a little girl named Alice Liddell, and that it was told to her out loud one summer’s day before it was written down on paper. While the 2010 remake circles around a 19-year old young lady named Alice Kingsley who was doing her best to go to the hoops and conventions of the “polite” society of Victorian England. What everyone now accepts as to what Alice looks like first came from the illustrations done by Sir John Tenniel, when Lewis Carroll’s Alice Adventures in Wonderland was first published in 1865.

Though Charles Dodgson signed his real name to only his “serious” mathematical works, mathematicians for decades have been intrigued by the rich skein of symbolic logic that is woven into fantasies like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It is very likely that Charles Dodgson – a.k.a. Lewis Carroll – influenced Albert Einstein in using familiar situations of his “thought experiments” to explain the unfamiliar ideas of higher mathematics. Thus making Dodgson’s less serious fantasy literature as a “thought experiment” set in prose form. Even contemporary science fiction like Star Trek has inspired Professor Miguel Alcubierre to formulate his now famous Alcubierre Equation.

Lewis Carroll’s famous Alice often gets entangled in many a verbal jungle in the wonderland on the other side of the looking glass, but much of that tangled verbiage can be hacked away via the sharp blade of symbolic logic. The mathematical symbolism of symbolic logic might seem incomprehensible to the layperson, but it ahs a clear and precise meaning to the logician which plain words just won’t do. In the rigmarole of logical jungles much thicker than that encountered by Alice, symbolic logic has been used successfully to blaze a trail to the heart of the meaning of vague or complex arguments in law and metaphysics.

To those in the know, symbolic logic is the most introspective of the Victorian era supermaths. It is a notation for stating and manipulating all sorts of propositions so as to bring both sequiturs and non-sequiturs into mercilessly sharp relief. Through symbolic logic, mathematicians have undertaken a Sisyphean task in which to classify and analyze the thoughts involved in every branch of mathematics. With the aim of identifying the axioms and procedures at the base of each and of reducing all possible proofs to the barest skeletons.

Symbolic logic has produced one of the most curious and influential theorems in all modern mathematics. This is Gödel’s Proof – an extremely abstract line of reasoning which shows that no useful branch of mathematics can be constructed on a consistent set of axioms without raising questions unanswerable within the framework of the axioms themselves.

Now that we know how the fantastic mind of Charles Dodgson / Lewis Carroll works at work and at play, it is now safe to assume that the “inherent weirdness” of the 2010 remake of Alice in Wonderland is as predictable as several impossible things happening right before breakfast. The conflict between the Red Queen and the White Queen may appear to some to be influenced by the conflict between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. But I just can’t help myself thinking that Helena Bonham Carter’s portrayal of the Red Queen poke’s fun at the North Korean dear leader Kim Jong Il.

Alice in Wonderland – especially the 3-D version – is nothing less than a contemporary cinematographic extravaganza, director Tim Burton should be praised for having an eye for detail for the little things. That Martin Scorsese like eye for detain in the scene where the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) and Alice (Mia Wasikowska) are in the Quite Queen’s somewhat over-lit kitchen / apothecary. Where Alice’s tiny and delicately blonde arm hairs got iridescently emphasized by the overly lit atmosphere of the White Queen’s kitchen / apothecary. Not to mention Mia Wasikowska’s brilliant make-up team that allowed her delicate blonde lashes to shine through. Probably reminding everyone that there is a G-Rated way to tell if the carpet matches the drapes – or is it making us movie geeks with Y-chromosomes nostalgic about our middle-school era Swedish exchange student crushes.


  1. I thought that you're into redheads? Anyway, despite of being accused as a child pornographer and being Jack the Ripper (both too speculative and the Oxford mathematician can take my photo anytime, thank you), Charles Dodgson a.k.a. Lewis Carroll has bequeathed us not just a literary masterpiece called Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, But also a very useful branch of Group Theory called Symbolic Logic. Symbolic logic is not only useful in settling arguments in Lewis Black's Root of all Evil, but also spawned a "smart-ass" version of Kurt Gödel's Proof about whether God in Her infinite wisdom ever ever make a piece of rock so heavy that She Herself can't even lift on Her own.
    Another "upgrade" of the 2010 remake of Alice in Wonderland is that the Mad Hatter is no longer being portrayed in the entirety of the movie as being a milliner suffering from chronic mercury poisoning in Victorian England, but as a misunderstood genius. Kinda like Johnny Depp in real life.

  2. I find redheads really cute, especially Eastern European ones. Anyway, Mia Wasikowska should be thankful of her make-up team because - I think - eye make-up that brings out the delicate beauty of lighter-hair-colored girls is a recent invention. It definitely wasn't around during the 1980s. Imagine Bret Michaels of Poison or Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe wearing eye make-up that highlights their delicate blonde eyelashes.
    Back to Alice in Wonderland, I do admire Mia Wasikowska's courage to not remove that shot that highlighted her delicate blonde armhairs in the brightly lit White Queen's apothecary. I too agree that this is a G-Rated way to tell if someone's "carpet" matches with the "drapes".

  3. This 2010 3-D remake of Alice in Wonderland will not only do wonders for Mia Wasikowska's acting CV, but also remind everyone why they liked Avril Lavigne in the first place - as a perpetual 17-year-old Goth vampire with an Art Noveau fetish. Avril should stick this kind of music - the movie's soundtrack - as opposed to that bubblegum-pop crap that made her sound like a cross between Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

  4. In the whole history of the Western World, eye make-up had been tailored to those with darker colored hair. I began to first notice about eye make-up geared towards blondes and red heads around 2005 in Vogue and Glamour magazines' make-up tips section (I think). After seeng the 3-D high resolution version of Alice in Wonderland featuring make-up that allows the beauty of the delicate blonde lashes of Mia Wasikowska, I think this new revolution in eye make up should have been around 25 years ago. 1980s Hair Metal bands could have benefited from it.

  5. Speculations about Lewis Carroll's paedophilia arose right after his death in 1898 when he left behind hundreds of pictures of his "Little misses" that he doted on all his life. This includes Carroll's famous picture of a then 7-year-old Alice Liddell costumed as a sultry beggar girl. Lewis Carroll could have had entirely innocent aims in his child photography, but when viewed through the lens of our present time, Carroll's child photography could be so easily mistaken for child pornography.
    Anyone interested in this topic should check out The Lives of Muses by Francine Prose.

  6. I've first noticed The Lives of The Muses by novelist Francine Prose back in the Halloween of 2002. The subject of the book is about the women who have inspired creative men from Samuel Johnson - creator of the worlds first definitive English dictionary - to one of the best singer-songwriter of the 20th Century named John Lennon just to name a few. In The Lives of The Muses, Francine Prose devotes an entire chapter to Alice Liddell - the little girl who inspired Lewis Carroll / Charles Dodgson to write Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. From my perspective, Prose takes the wiser course of treating Lewis Carroll poignantly and letting the obvious questions with regards Carroll's suspected paedophilia go on hanging in the air. Wiser because Carroll's feverant attachment to pre-pubescent girls seems sweaty to us now. Scholars had always warned us that we should not look at Carroll's 19th Century era child photography through modern eyes, finding sex where the Victorians saw only creamy innocence. In our contemporary on-line society, one person's "My Friends' Photos" could easily become another person's child pornography collection.

  7. What about Lewis Carroll's photos of the Hatch sisters - specifically Evelyn Hatch? Isn't this child pornography? I think I do know it when I see it.