Alice in Wonderland (1985 TV mini-series)
The first part opens with Alice (Natalie Gregory) helping Mother set the table for tea time. Although thankful for her daughter’s help, Mother tells Alice that she is still not grown-up enough to join the adults at tea. Alice goes outside to see her sister (played by Gregory’s real-life older sister Sharee Gregory), but gets bored at the “dull thought” of reading a book with no pictures. Her sister tells her that she will understand when she grows up, but Alice thinks she is already grown up (after all, she’s seven and a half). While playing with her cat, Dinah, the White Rabbit comes running by, saying he’s late. Wondering where he is going, Alice follows him until she falls down a dark rabbit hole, which takes her into Wonderland. Unlike the book and most movie versions, the rabbit hole appears here dark and frightening.
Alice finds herself in a hall with many doors, all of them locked. On a table is a key which Alice can use to open one small door. Yet the door is far too small to even fit her head in. A small bottle appears labeled “Drink Me.” Doing this, she shrinks to the right size for the door, but can no longer reach the key to open it. A box of sweets appears labeled “Eat Me.” Doing this, she grows to over nine feet tall. As she begins to cry, her tears fall on the floor and flow under the cracks. The White Rabbit appears, but frightened of the giant Alice, runs away dropping his fan and gloves. Using the fan makes Alice shrink again to a size small enough to crawl into one of the cracks, which takes her diving in her pool of tears.
While swimming in the pool of tears, she meets the Mouse, who tells her why he hates dogs and cats. Alice later catches up with the White Rabbit, and, in his house, curiously she finds another “drink me” bottle and chances it growing her full 9 foot character once again. Angry at Alice, the rabbit and his friends think that this is uncalled for and begins throwing stones at her which turn into cakes that causes her to shrink back to size. After running away she meets the Caterpillar and goes to the house of The Duchess. Finding the house too violent and hateful, she takes the Duchess’ baby away, but it then turns into a pig. She meets the Cheshire Cat, who gives her directions to see either the March Hare or the Mad Hatter, but warns Alice that they, along with everyone else, are mad. Alice visits the garden of the Queen of Hearts, who always yells “Off with her Head!” and plays croquet, or at least watches the others play. She visits The Gryphon as well as the Mock Turtle, but then she is called to attend a trial.
The trial deals with the Knave of Hearts, who is accused of having stolen The Queen’s tarts. There is no proof that he did it, but again there is no proof that he did not do it, nor is there proof that anybody did it, which proves him guilty, according to the Queen. Alice argues with the ways of the court, but inexplicably begins to grow larger again. The Queen becoming angry, yells “Off with her Head!” and has the guards chase the giant Alice, who is hardly afraid of them as “they’re nothing but a pack of cards”. Alice keeps running until she trips and falls and finds herself back home, in her normal size.
She runs happily back home, but finds that nobody is there and nobody can hear her. Hearing her cat Dinah, she sees her in the other side of a mirror, along with her parents, who can only see their own reflections and can’t see or hear their daughter. Alice doesn’t know how to get through to the other side. She notices a strange book next to her and starts reading it. There is a poem called Jabberwocky about a scary monster. Trying to deny her fears, she gets very scared as the room becomes dark and the Jabberwocky monster appears in the house.
The second part opens with the Jabberwocky scaring Alice. But as Alice wishes it away, it disappears. Yet, she is informed by The Owl in a painting that it may come back any time and reveals to her that it is a creation of Alice’s own fears.
After an interesting conversation with talking flowers, Alice meets The Red Queen, who is taking the place of one of the pawns/children of The White Queen on the chess board. Alice plays a pawn, but finds herself now on the second square, from where she must reach the eighth square to become a queen. The Red Queen tells her that only if she becomes a queen she may go home.
On the way to the eighth square, Alice meets many various characters and visits many places. She goes on a train that doesn’t stop, along with The Goat, The Horse, and The Gentleman in Paper Suit. She meets The Gnat king, as well as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, who sing the story of “The Walrus and the Carpenter”. She bumps into The White Queen, who speaks about the ways of the land and ends up turning herself into a sheep. She is then chased by a giant bird, which she initially thought was the Jabberwocky, and meets Humpty Dumpty. The Jabberwocky appears again, and Alice flees when it pursues her after knocking Humpty Dumpty off a wall. Alice then meets The White King and his Messenger, who bring Alice to see the Lion and the Unicorn, who are fighting for the crown. The combatants call a temporary truce and are intrigued by Alice, whom they perceive as a “fabulous monster”. Alice flees the group after a deafening barrage of drums begins to play, which she is apparently the only one to hear. Thereafter, she meets The White Knight, who sings and dances with her. Finally, Alice reaches the eighth square and finds her way to her castle, where a great feast in her honor takes place, with many of the characters she met previously on her journey.
Alice appreciates the feast but tells everybody that what she really wants is to go home. A present is then brought to her, out of which comes The Jabberwocky. The beast starts frightening and terrorizing everyone in the castle. The White Knight tries to rescue Alice, but fails. Alice manages to find her way back to the mirror and into her home, where she gets to confront The Jabberwocky. Telling him that he is just in her imagination and that she does not believe in him, he finally disappears. After this, Mother walks in and tells her daughter that she is finally old enough to join the grown-ups at tea time. Alice then sees the Wonderland characters in the mirror, and they sing farewell to her. Tearfully, Alice waves them goodbye as the movie ends.
Here we go, another Alice in Wonderland, but this time the film in question is the 1985 CBS miniseries. The thing that sticks out the most about this film from e is that it covers the story we ll know in the first half, then going”Through the Looking Glass” for the second part. For some reason, the Looking Glass is always overlooked, so its good to see an Alice film tackle that part pf the stories as well.
If I’m not mistaken, this is the youngest Alice on film, including the animated versions. Her youth is obvious, but so is her talent. I’m not sure what Natalie Gregory is doing these days, but she appeared ot have a career ahead of her
Each of the fantastical creatures and whatnot that Alice encounters are brought to life by various celbrities, such as Sammy Davis, Jr., Red Skeleton, Carol Channing, etc. Normally I’d rip them a new one for this, but these Thespians pt that behind them. Unfortunatley it seems that many of them took the job for a quick paycheck and didn’t clock in for a full say of work,,
In the eighties mini-series like this one were commonplace, as people actually tuned in and watched television, rather than spending almost every waking hour in front of computer screens or video games. Alice in Wonderland is not the best version of the classic story, but it is one of the more entertaining ones, if for no other reason than to see the all-star cast and their various costumes. Is this worth the time to watch? Well, being that it is 3 hours and 12 minutes, it has that working against t, even if it was mini- series. While it is enjoyable, it doesn’t fully capture my attention as anything more than a forgotten joke. For that reason, I can’t say this is anything more than half way decent film.
3 out of 5 stars
This entry was posted on April 10, 2010 at 6:51 pm and is filed under Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags alice in Wonderland, Carol Channing, Jabberwocky, Jayne Meadows, looking glassland, Natalie Gregory, Queen of Hearts, Red Buttons, Red Queen, through the looking glass, White Queen, Wonderland. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.