Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Review (Spoiler-Free)

As some of you might know, I really really really really love ABC’s amazing drama “Once Upon a Time” (which is a 10/10 in my opinion). So when I found out that they were going to be adding a one-season spin-off show focused on Wonderland, I was really excited.

(This photo does not belong to me…obviously.)

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I think that after having watched the first three episodes, I would give it a 7/10 (I wrote a review of this show on IMDb as well).

For info on this show: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2802008/

The show itself is pretty decent but it falters in comparison with its incredible parent show. What makes Once Upon a Time so wonderful is that it throws away the “pure good vs. pure evil” silliness and creates real, diverse, and deep characters. The villains especially may do horrendous things, but one still sympathizes with them because the viewer understands how that character got to that low point.

Wonderland, however, presented stereotypical villains within the first few episodes. At the end of the third episode, we received a sliver of a back story for the Red Queen, so hopefully that trend continues throughout the rest of the show.

Overall, I liked the actors and even though the CGI doesn’t look realistic, I actually liked that choice as well. The setting appears as if you’ve leapt into a Yellow Submarine-esque hallucination.

My biggest issue with the show is that it seems to miss the basic essence of Wonderland. No one on this show is mad.

I think that madness is the defining quality of Wonderland, and to miss that is an enormous fault on the writing. Every character we have met so far is completely sane and logical, and without that defining quality of insanity, Wonderland seizes to be Wonderland.

That being said, I have no problem with someone creating a sequel-type of film/show for the novels (as in this case), or coming up with their own interpretation. I’m no stickler, but forgetting the madness is undeniably a big deal.

What did everyone else think of the show? Let me know in the comments.

Artistic Interpretations (with some videos!)

One thing I love about the arts is that everyone gets something different out of a piece. That’s why it always frustrates me to hear someone say that another person’s analysis is “wrong”, because unless the artist tells the public what he/she specifically meant in whatever it is he/she created, there is no way of knowing.

Talk of art, literature, music, and the like often result in some debate. It’s kind of hilarious reading the YouTube comments for a song’s video, because usually people start fighting about the lyrics and the writer’s meaning.

For example, a while ago I saw an online debate about the meaning behind Soundgarden’s song “Spoonman” (below).

Some were absolutely positive it was about heroin, others said it was about human suffering, and there were plenty of other theories. Turns out, the lead singer confirmed that it’s really about a guy named Artis who uses spoons as intruments and is known as the Spoonman. (Artis is actually playing in the background of the song.) So “Spoonman” is apparently just about Artis and the joy of making music.

And then of course there are books.

Literature (as with all art) has such a profound influence on us, so much so that phrases such as “catch-22″ and “Big Brother is watching you” are integrated into our vocabularies.

I’ve also seen enormous amounts of “fan-art” for various novels, which are always very interesting to see how others view their favorite characters.

Perhaps the interpretation that gets people the most fired up is the book-to-movie adaptation. Everyone sees the book in their own minds and typically the movie doesn’t live up to one’s expectations. There are also cases in which the author of the novel is angry about the adaptation to his/her work.

Take F. Scott Fitzgerald, for example. He hated the movie adaptations for The Great Gatsby, and if he had somehow drank an everlasting life-potion and seen the latest version with Leonardo DiCaprio, he probably would have hated it, too.

There are other books as well, such as Alice in Wonderland, that have been made into films over and over again. You can see in the videos below how two directors could take totally different approaches with the source material and interpret it differently.

This first video is the “falling down the rabbit hole” scene from the 1951 cartoon version. Alice in this version doesn’t really fall but floats down leisurely, and you can tell by the tone of her dialogue and the mood of the music that this is intended to be a more positive view on Wonderland compared to the book.

The next video is from Tim Burton’s 2010 version (which is actually a sort of sequel to the Lewis Carrol novels). There is a completely different urgency in this version of Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

Burton’s view of Wonderland is a darker world that I feel matches the novels’ tones more accurately. Although his version was gorier than the books, he seemed to capture the lunacy of the stories and the taunting, wonderfully obnoxious characters quite well. But of course, that is only my opinion, and depending on what someone else got from those books, they might have a different perspective.

On a different note…

Speaking of Wonderland, I have watched the first three episodes of ABC’s new “Once Upon a Time” spin-off, “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” and I will be writing a review for that soon.

Until next time,

Nikki

The Pretty Reckless Concert

Last weekend, my friends and I saw The Pretty Reckless in concert, and it was an awesome show! We were able to get really close to the stage and take nice photos.

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Their opening act, Heaven’s Basement, is also a really great band. They were very fun to listen to and they put on an excellent show.

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