Alice in Wonderland (2010)

For: witchcraft, cannibalism and blood-drinking, moral confusion, and morbidity

Alice in Wonderland is a bizarre Burtonesque mishmash of sly occultism, morbidity and half-articulated bad philosophy.  While in another movie some of the questionable elements might have been resolved by appealing to fantasy, this one heads off that possibility with Alice’s climactic realization that Wonderland (including its occultism, morbidity and bad philosophy) is real.  The loss of the  movie isn’t great enough to disappoint fans of the normal, and fans of the bizarre are just going to have to try elsewhere.

A vicious-looking hag of a witch concocts, before Alice’s very eyes, a potion made from cut-off body parts, horsefly urine, coins from a dead man’s pocket, wishful thinking, and the hag’s own saliva, and (with a blood-curdling laugh) offers it to Alice with the promise that it will make her wish come true.  Alice eagerly takes the magic potion and drinks it.  And… her wish does come true, and in return Alice joins the witch’s army to help her prolong her reign as queen of Underworld.  Happily ever after, the end.

Actually, the only difference between the above version of the story and what really does happen in Alice in Wonderland is that in the movie the witch queen is disguised as an angel of light, and she does not in fact laugh while handing Alice the potion.

Alice’s fate, and the fate of all Wonderland, is divined by consulting a magic scroll which predicts the future.  The source of the scroll’s power is not disclosed, and Alice doesn’t ask.

A sword with special powers is given to Alice to use against the enemy.  She is told that the sword knows what it is doing, and that it will bring them to victory.

Again, Alice’s all-important discovery is that Wonderland/Underworld is part of reality - the same reality, in fact, where murder is evil, where theft is evil, where siding with the bad guys is evil, and where witchcraft and divination are biblically defined as evil1.

Cannibalism and Blood-Drinking
Alice glibly and knowingly takes and consumes a drink made in part from human fingers.

Alice is also seen drinking a vial of fresh blood as part of a mystic rite.

Moral Confusion
The “good” side leader, the White Queen, has a weird brand of personal pacifism just as twisted, if not more so, than nonfiction pacifism.  The White Queen states (very persuasively) that the reluctant Alice is the only one who can save Wonderland/Underworld from a killer animal sent by the bad guys, because while the White Queen is perfectly capable of slaying the beast and saving the lives of her loyal countrymen, she absolutely refuses to… on the grounds that she has made a vow (never mind to whom) not to harm any living creature.  This is a weird, ignorant, shallow and morally perverse life philosophy, but it is instead presented as the epitome of what is wise and good.

The White Queen’s determination not to protect life if it means causing the tiniest harm to a living creature also makes her completely reject the death penalty, even in the case of two remorseless serial killers (who are also guilty of high treason and violent insurrection).  The White Queen admits that the villains are “worthy of death,” but places her decisions above the law by once again appealing to her personal vows (never mind to whom).  This is the legal and moral equivalent of a judge refusing to give the death sentence to an ax murderer who happens to be his second cousin, on the grounds that he has a personal vow against harming relatives.

A caterpillar makes obvious allusions to reincarnation by describing his entering his cocoon as the “end” of his life, and telling Alice that he will see her in “another life”.

As an aside, Alice is tickled by the notion of all the women coming to a dance in trousers, and all the men coming in dresses.  Dressing in drag is not a funny idea, biblically.2

A magically shrunken Alice hops across a blood-filled moat on a path of floating severed heads.  At one point she stumbles, landing on one of the dear decapitated’s faces, and puts her foot into its slime-filled mouth.

A mouse stabs a giant creature in the eyeball and pops it out, stuck on the end of his sword.  Quite some time later, they give the eyeball back to the creature, who proceeds to put it back in the socket.

Other scenes emphasize a decapitation, for instance, or other dismembered body parts.

1 Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Deuteronomy 22:5

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