An Alice returns through the rabbit hole in this cinematic if oversaturated goth-punk retelling of Alice in Wonderland.
When she reached adolescence, Alyssa Gardner began to hear voices, like her mother and the other “Alices” before her. Instead of talking back, she kills the whispering bugs and flowers and uses them in her morbid art, maintaining her spot as school oddball and tortured artiste. Madness, gift or curse, Alyssa ignores the legacy of Alice Liddell until she must enter Wonderland to save her mother. With hot crush Jebediah Holt—artistic, scarred and with an endlessly fascinating labret—in tow, Alyssa races to correct the original Alice’s mistakes, drying up the sea of tears, punishing the walrus and restarting the tea party. Alyssa’s rather muddled mission becomes even more convoluted thanks to tasks assigned by Morpheus—a dark butterfly-boy who has haunted her since childhood. Alyssa thrives in the chaos, though characters’ murky motivations cast her as pawn rather than queen in Morpheus’ ever-shifting chess game. Howard playfully employs Carroll’s original matter, but the absurd Victorian framework suffers under the weight of a standard teen love triangle as well as added issues of parental abuse and mental illness. Attention to costume and setting render this a visually rich read.
More Tim Burton than Lewis Carroll, a sensuous version of Alice’s adventures for the Hot Topic crowd. (Fantasy. 14 & up)