RADIATION AND RABBITS: THE PARALLELS BETWEEN “FALLOUT” AND “ALICE IN WONDERLAND”

Promotional image from the Bethesda video game "Fallout: New Vegas" featuring a damaged "Las Vegas" sign and a man in armor and gas mask holding a revolver.

Remember when video games were good? I know good games come out all the time but take my blanket statement at face value for a second. Recently it feels like every triple-A developer is just rehashing old games and not taking any risks. I remember a better time, a time when big studio games felt like a labor of love and not a cash grab. For me, there is no better example of a game studio that used to be amazing but has fallen from grace recently than Bethesda. Their Fallout series is a perfect example of this, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 were amazing games, probably some of my favorite games of all time. It seemed like they could do no wrong. But everything changed when the micro-transactions attacked… Today, Bethesda is run by greedy little piggies who have no idea what their player base wants and just continually re-releases their rapidly aging catalog of hit games with minor graphical updates so they can continue to charge the consumer full price for ten-plus-year-old games. At one point, many moons ago, they created and released fun and creative games, and the Fallout series, for me, was their peak.

For those of you who have never played any of the Fallout games, it’s a first-person and/or third-person role-playing game set in an alternate, retro-future timeline of America. In this timeline, EVERYTHING is nuclear-powered, and I mean everything. Televisions, microwaves, cars, robots, and there is even a soda called “Nuka-Cola” which is radioactive. Well, when everything is nuclear-powered, it’s pretty easy to assume that every single country in the world would probably have a sizable stockpile of nuclear missiles as well. That assumption is correct, and unfortunately, those countries decide to nuke the shit out of each other. I guess we only see that America was nuked but I’m going to assume that we responded before we were reduced to radioactive dust. Isn’t mutually assured destruction wonderful? The thing is, some people were prepared for this nuclear armageddon, they had “insurance.” The insurance was that they had paid to be locked into giant underground vaults. These vaults were built to ensure the survival of the human race in the event of nuclear war and they are set to open once the surface is habitable again.

Still image from the Amazon post-apocalyptic drama series "Fallout" featuring Ella Purnell as Lucy MacLean wearing a blue and gold jumpsuit.

In the Fallout games, you play as a “vault dweller” who, for one tragic reason or another, has decided to leave their vaults and enter into the unknown surface above. The exception to this case is Fallout: New Vegas where you actually play as, what is essentially, a vengeful mailman. Regardless, while one would assume that the surface is a barren landscape after the nukes, that is anything but the case, people survived, but they did not thrive. The surface is full of mutants (both human and animal), raiders, religious knights in power armor, mad scientists, and much more, all battling for control of the wasteland in an attempt to fill the power vacuum that was left behind when every government ever fell. From there, what’s left of the world is your oyster.

That overstuffed paragraph is a brief overview of the world of Fallout. I’m honestly barely scratching the surface here. With a story that rich, it’s only natural that after the massive success of HBO’s The Last of Us T.V. adaptation, other studios would want to cash in on the video game television show hype. I’m sure we won’t get tired of it… Well, Amazon adapted Fallout into a television show, and let me tell you, it’s awesome. The Fallout show follows three different characters whose paths intersect but for the sake of this blog, I’m mostly going to focus on Lucy MacLean played by Ella Purnell. Lucy is a vault dweller whose family has lived in the vaults for many generations. Well, something happens that I don’t want to spoil and she has to leave the vault. There she faces the wild world of the radioactive wasteland that was once Los Angeles.

Promotional image from the Amazon post-apocalyptic drama series "Fallout" featuring Ella Purnell as Lucy MacLean wearing a blue and gold jumpsuit with the wasteland in the background.

If you haven’t figured out why I’m writing about this show on an Alice in Wonderland-themed website by now, it’s time to realize you might not be as smart as you think. I’ll put it in terms you can understand. Woman lives in a world where things make sense to her, goes in a hole, and enters a world where everyone is crazy and must learn rules to keep her head. Fallout is Alice in Wonderland. Replace a rabbit hole with a vault door, the whimsical nature of Wonderland with the wildness of the Wasteland, and the Jabberwocks with Deathclaws, and boom it’s the same story. People even lose their heads in the show too. Now, you might not be completely sold on this fact but lend me your ears, or I guess eyes in this case, and by the end of this blog, I will have you shoving this fact down people’s throats too.

I’ve already given an overview of the Alice character, Lucy, but I want to go a bit deeper before tackling the other characters. Okay, I said there wouldn’t be spoilers but I lied skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want any… One.. Two… Three… Spoilers, the first person Lucy meets perfectly sets the stage for my argument that she and Alice are the same character. Lucy meets a person living on the surface who is trying to use a machine that will extract water from whatever is put in it. This person is struggling to use said machine because when he puts sand in the hopper, only sand comes out. Which is a problem we have all had. In his mind, the machine is broken, but to Lucy’s logical mind, dry sand can’t be turned into water. Their interaction mirrors many of the interactions Alice has in Wonderland. Where Alice explains that something a Wonderlander is doing is “illogical” to her but the Wonderlander finds it perfectly logical. After Lucy and the Wastelander’s brief interaction, the Wastelander asks Lucy if she wants to marry him because she gave him water. Not in a hyperbolic way, he means it. He even shows all the great stuff he has to offer, like his sand. In his mind, this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask.

Still image from the Amazon post-apocalyptic drama series "Fallout" featuring Aaron Moten as Maximus standing behind Knight Titus in silver armor holding a machine gun.

I lied about the spoilers ending here, go to the next paragraph to truly skip the spoilers… Another example of the Wasteland essentially being Mad Max: Wonderland is in a scene where another character, Maximus played by Aaron Clifton Moten, saves a man who is about to be killed by another person. On the surface, it seems as though the would-be killer is a crazy person. It turns out that the victim he had rescued, who claims to be a “scientist” was having biblical relations with the “aggressors” chickens. Killing someone for fraternizing with poultry is pretty logical. There is a choking the chicken double entendre joke opportunity here but that’s too blue for me to say… Hey, don’t get mad at me, you’re the one who came up with it in your filthy minds… How is this Alice in Wonderland related? Well, I would argue that this scene is meant to establish the madhouse that is the Wasteland and those who inhabit it. The man who was trying to protect his birds even says the fact with an air of exhaustion in his voice, as if this isn’t the first time this has happened and probably won’t be the last. It’s just the world he lives in. Maximus has grown up on essentially an army base his whole life so the wilds of the wasteland to him are just like the wilds of Wonderland for Alice. Things just are the way they are because that’s how they are.

The Fallout television show doesn’t just share a lot of similarities with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, it also has characters eerily similar to other Alice-related IPs.  Take Cooper Howard a.k.a. “The Ghoul” played by Walton Goggins. First, because I have to, a “Ghoul” in the Fallout universe is a human who has been exposed to high levels of radiation, causing their flesh to melt. Due to their appearance, they are essentially second-class citizens. The terrible hand they have been dealt is compounded due to the radiation affecting their minds as well, all ghouls are slowly going feral and without constant medication will eventually become essentially human-shaped animals that kill and eat anything that moves. Well, Cooper Howard is a bit of an antihero in this show. He’s survived in the Wasteland for hundreds of years and knows the rules of this world and how to navigate it. He’s a badass bounty hunter who’s honed his fighting skills living in a harsh environment. Nothing surprises him and his gruff exterior shields a tormented past. He instantly reminded me of a character created from the mind of my overseer, Frank Beddor. That character is Hatter Madigan, Frank’s version of the Mad Hatter. While Hatter Madigan is an elite member of the Millinery, in the Looking Glass Wars novels, he wanders the globe looking for Alice. Wherever he goes, tales of his epic deeds follow. Much like The Ghoul. Plus they both wear long coats.

Promotional image from the Amazon post-apocalyptic drama series "Fallout" featuring Walton Goggins as The Ghoul/Cooper Howard and a German Shepherd dog with the town of Filly in the background.

If I haven’t sold you on the fact that the Wasteland is Wonderland, Lucy is Alice, and that Fallout, whether the writers of the games knew it or not, is quite similar to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I have one final thing to drive my point home. Let’s look at the mysterious antagonist of the Fallout T.V. show, Lee Moldaver. I haven’t finished the show yet and my internet is down at the moment, but from what I’ve gained from the six episodes I have seen, she is a powerful woman whose name alone strikes fear into the hearts of those who live in the Wasteland. Just like the Red Queen/Queen Redd does in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

When a piece of media is so popular and transformative to storytelling as Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was, it’s not hard to notice similarities in all the media that comes after it. The basic premise of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the perfect foundation for a fantastic story. If done correctly, like the Fallout series, it’s a recipe for success. Due to this, it’s easy to see why Alice has endured for as long as it has.


Jared Hoffman Headshot

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

“Percy Jackson” and “Shogun”: Disney and Hulu Have Gone Down the Rabbit Hole

If you have been outside in Los Angeles within the past couple of months you may have noticed billboards advertising that Hulu is on Disney Plus. The ads are quite simple and smart, they consist of a Disney quote that in some way is related to a character from a show on Hulu along with a picture of said character. Some of them are quite good like this one. Where the full title of the show helps complete the quote. Like this ad using a song from The Jungle Book and The Bear (Fun fact: The Jungle Book character who delivers that line/lyric is actually a bear).

Disney Plus and Hulu billboard featuring Jeremy Allen White as Carmy Berzatto from the Hulu comedy-drama series "The Bear".

Some of them are okay. This Lilo and StitchFamily Guy ad isn’t the best but it gets the point across:

Disney Plus and Hulu billboard featuring Peter Griffin from the Fox animated comedy series "Family Guy".

And some of them feel like they really ran out of ideas. I mean Darth Vader’s quote from Star Wars and American Dad relate enough, I guess, but it feels like a rough draft that somehow ended up getting approved. I imagine some Disney exec being like, “We need a Star Wars quote on the ad to remind people we own everything. I don’t care if it actually is a good ad.”

Disney Plus and Hulu billboard featuring Stan Smith and Klaus Heisler from the TBS animated comedy series "American Dad".

But there was one that inspired this whole blog, involving the cast of Only Murders in the Building, and, you guessed it, an Alice in Wonderland quote:

Disney Plus and Hulu billboard featuring Martin Short, Selena Gomez, and Steve Martin from the Hulu mystery comedy-drama series "Only Murders in the Building".

So, what am I getting at here? Why did I feel the need to write a whole blog about ads? Well, I didn’t. But I’ll be honest, I’m struggling with coming up with a segue to my main point here…so…something something, down the rabbit hole of the television renaissance. Yeah, that works.

Television has been pretty awesome recently. I mean, these four billboards are all shows I watch or have watched in the past. Family Guy is a staple of adult animation. It is a member of the holy trinity, which as we all know is: The Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy. Seth McFarlane’s other hit show American Dad is, in my opinion, his best show to date. I almost named my cat after Roger the costume-wearing alien who lives in their attic but my girlfriend was worried since Roger is not a good “person”, my cat would be bad. We settled on naming him Archer, after the world’s greatest secret agent Archer, from the FX series Archer. She agreed on the name since she had never watched the show.

Still image from the FXX animated comedy series "Archer", featuring Sterling Archer holding his finger up and drinking from a liquor bottle.

Of the live-action shows featured in the ads, as an ex-line cook with a panic disorder, The Bear really does nail the mayhem of a kitchen and the insane people destroying their bodies to make the delicious food we all love. I genuinely love this show. My only critique is, every now and then, it becomes a montage of Chicago intercut with food porn. Only Murders in the Building is a fantastic spin on a whodunit starring two comedy gods, Steve Martin and Martin Short.

While I could make the argument that all these shows have aspects of Alice sprinkled throughout them, I’ve got something better for you. Not just one Disney Plus/Hulu show, but two, truly do parallel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The first is Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the show based on the extremely popular young adult fiction series of the same name. The second show is a bit out of left field, but trust me, it’s got Alice in its DNA. Before you read what it is, I want to give you a second to guess. That is, of course, if this blog’s title does not give away what the surprise is. Okay, you got one? Good. You’re wrong, it’s Shogun. While you ponder on this, I’m going to talk about Percy Jackson.

Still image of Walker Scobell as Percy Jackson holding a sword, from the Disney Plus fantasy series "Percy Jackson and the Olympians", based on the book series of the same name by Rick Riordan.

The fantasy series follows twelve-year-old Percy Jackson, who has always struggled to fit in and learns the reason for his inability to integrate into twelve-year-old society is that while his mother is a normal human, his father is the Greek god Poseidon. Alright, so what does that have to do with Alice? Well, Percy, like Alice is thrown into a new world, one with unfamiliar and sometimes absurd rules that he must learn. Along with this, there are fantastical creatures and trials he must overcome. Gods are trying to kill him, but since Greek gods are more like a giant royal family on top of a mountain, one could make the argument that it’s like Alice’s trial with the Red Queen screaming, “Off with her head!” At the show’s beginning, Percy follows Pegasus to the roof of his school, which is not dissimilar to Alice following the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole.

Alright, now let’s get after Shogun. First off, let me just say, this show is amazing. It is truly peak television. It’s a fictional story based on historical events that happened in 1600s Japan. The show was developed in 2015 but came out just this year. While I could make a point about studios not jumping on this sooner and wasting their time, I will instead mention that if this is the direction we are headed regarding television, we’re in pretty good shape.

Still image of Cosmo Jarvis as Anjin/John Blackthorne, from the Hulu historical drama miniseries "Shogun".

Shogun follows John Blackthorne, an English pilot (navigator) of a ship who ends up stranded in Japan. In this new world, John ends up being a bargaining chip/key for success between the five political rivals who are sharing power until the underage emperor reaches sixteen. Besides being about an English person, at first glance, this show does not share a lot with Alice. But when you truly dive in, there are many parallels. The most obvious is a person ending up in a new world with completely different rules and practices. John does not speak Japanese, leading to many times when he is confused as to why something is happening. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice has to accept that something is happening because it is simply the way it is done in Wonderland. Due to John being taken prisoner and used as a bargaining chip, there are many moments where he has no choice but to do what his captors/hosts instruct him to do. For many portions of the show, he is just along for the ride. Forced to experience the good and the bad of a new culture he truly knows nothing about, like Alice who, every now and then, just must do as she is told. When she questions what is happening or tries to do things as she has been taught, there are consequences, such as with the Red Queen.

Another thing that is not a parallel per-say but I do want to point out is that Alice has to worry about the threat of decapitation from the Red Queen. Many of the people in early 17th century Japan also had to worry about losing their heads. I think in the first episode of Shogun alone, three people are decapitated. One of which being from seppuku. The biggest difference in character between John and Alice is that John wants to get home to England almost immediately, whereas Alice wants to go home at the end. I guess that’s not the biggest difference between the two characters. We could start with the basic difference of John being a grown man whereas Alice is a young girl… Look, all I’m trying to say here is that Lewis Carroll’s writing has influenced modern storytelling so much that it’s almost imperceivable anymore. I don’t think the original writers of Shogun even realized there are remnants of Alice sprinkled throughout their series. Same with Rick Riordan when he wrote the Percy Jackson series. Alice is just modern storytelling. It was the first to start these tropes and I don’t think we will ever see them go away because, as you can see, the tropes seem to be a winning formula.


Jared Hoffman Headshot

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

80s Ski Style: “Hot Dog…The Movie” Turns 40

The 80’s… A time in history I don’t know much about. Wanting a firsthand report, I decided to ask my dear sainted mother about the 80’s. Once she shook off her thousand-yard stare, her only reply was, “God, I miss cocaine.” After that harrowing response, I decided to use Google. I dug through the tales of consumerism, ugly cars, and trickle-down economics, which obviously isn’t working due to us not letting the top get rich enough for the money to trickle down. Then I stumbled across a little ski movie that came out in 1984 by the name of Hot Dog…The Movie. It is the highest-grossing ski movie of all time, with over $17 million in box office returns against a budget of just $2 million. It received glowing reviews like, “light and less moronic than it might have been” and it received the honored title of “sexploitation flick.” I decided to check it out. Boy, was that a good idea because when the movie ended I noticed something that caught my eye, a little name in the credits that I wanted to share with all of you. You see dear reader, one of the stunt doubles in this film was none other than Frank Beddor himself. When I asked Frank why he had not talked much about being in this movie, he told me he was too embarrassed. Luckily for you all, I’m not embarrassed in the slightest.

Image of "The Looking Glass Wars" author and World Champion freestyle skier Frank Beddor with Peter Judge, Jeff Chumas, and friend on the set of "Hot Dog...The Movie" in 1983.

“The Looking Glass Wars” author and World Champion freestyle skier Frank Beddor with Peter Judge, Jeff Chumas, and friend on the set of “Hot Dog…The Movie” in 1983.

Hot Dog…The Movie follows Harkin Banks, played by Patrick Houser, a young freestyle skier who has come to Squaw Valley, California (which has since been renamed as Palisades Tahoe) to participate in a competition. It’s a standard underdog story. But what sets this movie apart from the other underdog stories, is that there are loads of boobs and 80’s racism played for comedy. When watching a comedy from the 80’s, one must remember times were different. You must turn off your 2024 lens and view it as a time capsule of an era that once was. That doesn’t make it appropriate today, but it allows you to laugh a bit more. Allow me to sell you on the film’s plot though. After picking up the hitchhiking Sunny, played by Tracy N. Smith, she and Harkin make their way to Tahoe. When they stop at the hotel, the concierge is busy in the hot tub with a gentleman, where we see a lot of plot. Then there is a wet t-shirt contest that is full of plot. Some skiing stuff happens that gets in the way of the plot and then there’s a party that ignites a love triangle between Harkin, Sunny, and Sylvia Fonda, played by 1982 Playboy Playmate of the Year Shannon Tweed, and of course, we see her plots. More ski stuff happens, and there is an unfortunate date rape joke (remember, it’s the 80s), then the movie ends.

Okay now that I’ve talked about all the plots you see in the movie, let’s talk about how Frank falls into this. The main antagonist, Rudolph “Rudi” Garmisch, played by John Patrick Reger, is an Austrian freestyle skier and all-around not-nice guy. Well as it turns out, John Patrick Reger can’t ski as well as he claimed. Actually, a lot of the actors couldn’t ski. So the studio hired stunt doubles, which is where Frank comes in. Frank was Rudolph’s stunt double. Most of the actors were paid peanuts, but not Frank. Frank had to do multiple flips, so he was paid a whopping thirty thousand dollars for one day’s work. Quick side note, Frank, I know you have at least thirty thousand dollars, can I borrow some money? Okay, back to the blog. As it turns out, Frank Beddor, author of The Looking Glass Wars, also happens to be a very competent skier. So competent, in fact, he was at one point the World Champion of freestyle skiing.

Still image of Shannon Tweed and David Naughton from the 1984 teen sex comedy ski film "Hot Dog...the Movie".
Image of the cover of June 1982 issue of Playboy magazine featuring Playmate of the Year Shannon Tweed reclining in a white, fur-lined robe.

After a second watch of the movie, I realized why the ski stuff was happening between all the plot, Harken and Rudolph are competing against each other. While I won’t spoil who wins, the skiing does not end after the competition. No, the true champion of freestyle skiing will be decided by whoever wins the Chinese Downhill. I’m sure you’re wondering, “What the fuck is a Chinese downhill?” This is also a question asked in the movie. A Chinese downhill is a race where there are no rules, except the winner is decided by being the first one to make it to the bottom and you have to start at the same time and you have to take the same path. That’s three more rules than none. What is meant by no rules is that the people participating in the race are allowed to do anything to win, including but not limited to; tripping other skiers with their poles, knocking skiers off cliffs, using smoke bombs strapped to their helmet to blind the opposition, and dressing up in military garb and using some kind of grenade shaped hammer. Of course, explaining what a Chinese downhill is does not clear up why it’s called Chinese and if you really think about it, a race doesn’t really settle who the best freestyle skier is. While some of the skills will cross over, freestyle skiing and ski racing have as much in common as swimming and diving. They are pretty different from each other. Nonetheless, the scene is very fun.

Poster for the 1984 teen sex comedy film "Hot Dog...The Movie" featuring a collection of skiers jumping off a mountain and a group of characters in a hot tub.

Now let’s talk about the comedy. Not counting the racist and sexist jokes, most of them are pretty funny. I do want to point out one racist joke though that did make me laugh because it was so unnecessary and out of nowhere. There is a Japanese freestyle skier named Kendo Yamamoto played by James Saito. In one scene at a bar, everyone is eating peanuts. There is an insert shot of Kendo’s hand grabbing a peanut and karate chopping it open. This isn’t played up big. There isn’t a “hi-ya!” It just happens. I also want to point out that Kendo is a friend of the group, treated equally and attractive to women. Pretty ahead of its time for the 80’s. Usually, Asian characters in older films are nerdy or soft-spoken and that’s played for comedy but kudos given when kudos due.

Still image from the 1984 teen sex comedy film "Hot Dog...The Movie" featuring actors David Naughton, Patrick Houser, Tracy Smith, and James Saito.

It might sound like I’m hating on this movie, but in actuality, I really did enjoy it. It was funny and easy to watch. A lot of people enjoy it as well, so many in fact that the movie has gained cult classic status. There was even a celebration in Tahoe for the twenty-year reunion which, much like the film, ended with Patrick Houser being paraded around the party on people’s shoulders.

There is a reason this film was so successful, you just have to look at it without your 2024 lens. Hot Dog…The Movie came out at the same time as Yentl. Now, put yourself in the shoes of a teenage moviegoer in the 80’s. When given the option between Yentl, the dramatic musical starring Barbra Streisand about a woman studying the Talmud even though it is forbidden for women to do so, or Hot Dog, the funny movie with tons of nudity and skiing. Which one would you truthfully choose? If you said Yentl you’re either lying because you want to win some PC award or you forgot what it was like to be a teenager. The fact I’m even talking about it today has to mean something. I mean the movie is turning forty this year. I wonder if the fortieth anniversary will be anything as wild as the movie?


Meet the Author:

Jared Hoffman Headshot

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

Why Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” is the Ultimate Piece of Alice in Wonderland Content

I’ve said it in countless blogs before and I’ll say it here again, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has surpassed popular culture and has reached a different level – it is culture. We use Alice-isms such as, “down the rabbit hole” or “wonderland” in our everyday language without even thinking of the source material. Due to the cultural impact that Lewis Carrol’s novel has had and continues to have on the world, it should be a surprise to no one that there have been a lot of Alice references in media. From art, such as Salvador Dali’s illustrations of Wonderland, to films like The Matrix, to songs like Wonderland by Taylor Swift. Alice is everywhere. But I won’t talk about any of those media pieces today. No, today I’m going to be talking about arguably the most recognizable piece of Alice-inspired pop culture that has ever been made. Today I’m talking about Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”.

For those of you who don’t know the song by name, you still know the song. You’ve definitely heard it. Have you seen any movie ever? Ever watched TV? Great, you’ve heard it. The song is used so much in film and television that if I were to list all movies and TV shows it’s in, you wouldn’t be able to read this blog as Frank wouldn’t be able to afford it. I think I found a good way to sum up how many credits it has. The song is featured in both the Oscar-winning Platoon, a powerful and harrowing anti-Vietnam war film, as well as the non-Oscar winning The Secret Life of Pets 2, which needs no introduction as the title is quite self-explanatory.

What gods amongst men could have created such a lasting piece of media? Who are these modern-day Prometheus… Prometheses? Promethei? Regardless, Jefferson Airplane was an American rock band that was formed in the 1960s in San Francisco. Like many 60’s rock bands from San Francisco, they partook in psychedelics. The writer of “White Rabbit,” Grace Slick, admitted that she came up with the song while hallucinating on LSD. Which I find pretty unfair because the one time I took acid, I didn’t come up with a hit song or create Apple computers or cool drawings. No, I just sat in the fetal position quite positive that what I had just done to my brain was permanent. While the permanence of the self-inflicted damage is up for debate, this song’s references to illicit substances are not. The line “Feed your head” is about expanding your mind with psychedelics along with the suggestion to read more books. Interestingly, this song is one of the first hit songs to reference and suggest the partaking of illicit substances without raising the suspicions of censors.

Black and White image of Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick, circa 1969.

Grace Slick often read both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass as a child and found the books had a lasting effect on her. She enjoyed the fact that Alice was the rare children’s book that did not have a prince charming saving the heroine, that it followed a little girl in a strange land being driven forward by her curiosity which, to Grace, was represented by the White Rabbit. She thought that the message of the story could be taken and used by women to push their own agenda. I believe that during the ’60s, pushing an agenda was not thought of as an annoying thing to do.

Almost every line in “White Rabbit” references the world Lewis Carroll had created. Starting with the first verse, “One pill makes you larger/and one pill makes you small/and the ones your mother gives you/don’t do anything at all/Go ask Alice/When she’s ten feet tall.” I mean, besides the one line about mothers giving placebos, which might be about how parents are often thought of as not knowing what is going on in teens and not having the right “medicine” for them. I don’t know, I’m not Googling it. The first verse is literally Alice’s first action in Wonderland.

Psychedelic illustration inspired by "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" of Alice looking up at the Blue Caterpillar who is smoking on a mushroom. Work by artist Howie Green.

The next verse, “And if you go chasing rabbits/and you know you’re going to fall/Tell ‘em a hookah-smoking caterpillar/Has given you the call/Call Alice/When she was just small.” I’m not going to point out the references in this verse because, well you know them, but I believe this verse is about going on a metaphorical adventure and giving advice on what to do if you think you would fail. Think of Alice and allow your curiosity to drive you along.

“When the men on the chessboard/Get up and tell you where to go/And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom/ And your mind is moving low/Go ask Alice/I think she’ll know.” The third verse might be about people telling you what to do or how to be. The line about mushrooms and a low mind is probably just about taking psilocybin mushrooms and these people bringing your trip down. Then for the second time, telling the listener to, “ask Alice” which to me means that you should follow your curiosity, but in this instance, if you were on a hallucinogen, allowing your curiosity to pique is actually good advice for someone having a bad trip.

Psychedelic illustration of a multi-colored mushroom forest set against trees and sky.

The final verse, “When logic and proportion/Have fallen sloppy dead/And the White Knight is talking backwards/And the Red Queen’s off with her head/Remember what the dormouse said/Feed your head/Feed your head.” Okay, so this verse is about how if the world has gone crazy the best thing you can do to remedy the situation is to “feed your head,” a.k.a. learn, be it from books or illicit drugs. Grace Slick’s words, not mine.

This song is essentially a retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland where the story beats of the book and the metaphorical beats in the song actually line up quite well. This might have something to do with the staying power of the song. Perhaps Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’s staying power rubbed off on Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”. With references to the White Rabbit, the Blue Caterpillar, Eat Me and Drink Me, The White Knight, and of course the Red Queen, it’s easy to see how this is a quintessential piece of Alice media.

Promotional photograph taken in 1967 of the members of the psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane - Grace Slick, Marty Balin, Jack Casady, Spencer Dryden, Paul Kantner, and Jorma Kaukonen

The question still remains though, why is this song everywhere? I’ve come up with a theory. Along with the song’s catchy tune and well-written lyrics, the meaning of the song and its trippy vibe slot in perfectly to many different situations. Any time a character makes a big change in their life starts an adventure, or stops taking their meds, this song fits. I’m ignoring people not even caring about the meaning of the song and just putting it in a scene where someone is doing drugs because yeah of course it fits there too.

Regardless if you like the song or not, there is no arguing that Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” is the quintessential piece of Alice media. It has staying power, it has infiltrated everything we know without us noticing, and people like to take acid and listen to it. Which is to say, it’s essentially a baby Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I like the song, but that might have to do with the fact that it played during Zach Snyder’s Sucker Punch, which is not my favorite movie but does hold a special place in my heart because it was the movie that was playing the first time I made out with a girl.


Meet the Author:

Jared Hoffman Headshot

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

Wicked Trailers Breakdown: Why Hollywood Is Hiding Musicals

The Super Bowl happened this month and everyone was really chill about it and no one freaked out over the deep state rigging the game due to Taylor Swift dating the winning team’s quarterback. For those non-Americans or those who are unaware, this was sarcasm. As someone who does not have many strong opinions about football, February 11th was just my birthday. Usually, in America, people who don’t like football but are in a situation where they have to watch the Super Bowl annoy those around them by verbally ranking the advertisements that play between the game to anyone unfortunate enough to be around them. If you couldn’t tell, I also don’t care for the ads. I will explain why I don’t like the ads but I have to warn you, this opinion that I have sounds like something the most annoying person on Instagram would post. Okay, warning over. The reason I don’t like the ads is I’m not interested in watching soulless companies with the ability to afford advertising space during the Super Bowl trying their hardest to be “trendy’ and “relatable” in a desperate effort to take money from us.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering to yourself, “Why are we talking about any of this I’m here to get my Alice fix?” Well, today, we’re actually going to be talking about something that does relate to Alice, but not an Alice-related topic. Just hear me out. Today, we are going to be talking about the Wicked movie trailers. It’s not just the Wicked movie that is coming out later this year. No, we are also going to be talking about Wicked, the 1998 movie that Frank Beddor produced and starring Julia Stiles.

Let’s dive into the new Wicked trailer that premiered during the Super Bowl. The adaptation of the iconic musical was directed by Jon M. Chu, and apparently, is going to be slightly different from the original story. What that means, I don’t know. I wanted to give a brief synopsis of the trailer but all I could gather is the cast is quite star-studded, to say the least. I have tailored the cast down to those that I know of because it’s a pretty big cast. The cast includes; Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba, Ariana Grande as Galinda, Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard, Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible, and Ethan Slater, who you might know as that SpongeBob guy who’s dating Ariana Grande, as Boq. It’s safe to say that there is some real star power in this film. As someone who saw Wicked the musical many years ago and remembers very little from it, the trailer did not do much to jog my memory. It does not reveal much of the story if anything at all. That’s not a criticism, by the way. I personally prefer trailers not to give me much information besides who is in it, the genre, and the tone. But, I don’t really know what type of movie this is. I mean, I have an idea because I’ve seen the Wicked musical and remember something about defying gravity but if I was someone who knew nothing about Wicked or The Wizard of Oz, I didn’t really gain anything from the trailer.

Okay, now let’s talk about the trailer for the Wicked movie starring Julia Stiles. It starts with a man being questioned by the police about his wife’s murder. Then, the classic 90’s movie trailer narrator comes in with that classic 90’s movie trailer narrator voice. The information that I could gather from the trailer was that a woman was murdered in her gated community in suburbia, her husband is the prime suspect, a suspicious neighbor gives an attitude to the police, and the daughter, played by Julia Stiles, behaves in a way that leads me to believe she knows more about the murder than she lets on. Look, it had me at the 90’s movie trailer voice. This trailer led me to believe that the story is going to be full of twists and turns and will be a rollercoaster till the end. After watching the film, I was right. Great job trailer!

There is an interesting trend among films as of late that I find incredibly annoying – not telling people what a movie is. For those who know, Wicked is a Broadway musical. That is to say, people are going to sing. With that knowledge, it would be safe to assume that the 2024 Wicked movie would then be a musical as well. And you would assume correctly. But, the trailer does not allude to this fact, in any way whatsoever. Why? This isn’t the first time a musical has been marketed this way. Look at Timothee Chalamet’s Wonka movie that just came out. Apparently, that was a musical too. Nowhere in the trailer was this hinted at. The Mean Girls movie that also just came out was a musical. Why wasn’t this mentioned anywhere in the marketing? I know I made a joke about the song, “Defying Gravity” earlier but if that’s the only song I remember from the musical it must mean it’s a popular song. There wasn’t even a nod to the song in the Wicked movie trailer.

I have a theory as to why studios do this. My guess at the reasoning for hiding a film being a musical is that the West Side Story remake by Stephen Spielberg was a box office flop. If a Stephen Spielberg film flops, that’s a pretty big deal. He’s literally known for making blockbusters. But, when West Side Story, a STEPHEN SPIELBERG film, flopped, the executives, with all their genius, must have concluded that it flopped because people don’t like musicals. This is a weird conclusion because there is a street in New York, Broadway, which is entirely dedicated to musicals. Along with Broadway, there are many other streets where less popular musicals play which are called, “off-Broadway musicals.” If you haven’t guessed it, I disagree with the notion that people don’t like musicals. I think West Side Story flopped because people didn’t want to see a remake of an already good movie. There have been a couple more musical flops that probably scared executives into not marketing musicals as such. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights was a flop, as well as the Dear Evan Hansen adaptation that came out in 2021. I have an idea as to why these movies flopped though. I didn’t see a single ad for In the Heights. How am I supposed to know a movie came out if I don’t know a movie exists? As for Dear Evan Hansen, that movie flopped because it wasn’t good. The Dear Evan Hansen musical is fine but watching a then 28-year-old Ben Platt be a high school sophomore with a perm was tough to get through.

Still image of Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba and Ariana Grande as Galinda from the 2024 Universal Pictures film "Wicked".

Due to this information about movies hiding the fact that they are musicals, when I sat down to watch Wicked, the movie starring Julia Stiles, I wondered to myself how far back this practice went. Apparently, it started sometime in the 2000’s because it was not a musical. Or maybe Frank had met with the Oracle of Delphi and foresaw musicals flopping and axed the idea before it could happen. This isn’t the only thing the trailer for Wicked, the adaptation of the musical, hid from people, it’s double dipping. The other thing this trailer hid from the audience is that it’s part 1 of 2. Perhaps, that’s why I wasn’t able to glean much information from the trailer since the movie is just set up with no real ending until the second part is released. This is something that many films have recently been doing. The most recent Spider-Verse film hid this fact from its audience.

Let me tell you, I do not like this practice at all. If I go to a movie, I want to see a beginning, middle, and end. I don’t want to see just the beginning and the first half of the middle. I do get why studios hide this from the audience though. If you also agree with me on not liking this, you probably wouldn’t have seen the second Spider-Verse film until the third one came out, then probably watched part one on streaming. Studios would rather you go to the theater. But, you know how they can ensure that movie fans go to theaters? By just making a complete movie! The new Horizon: An American Saga, starring Kevin Costner, at least, has the decency to put on the posters that it’s broken up into chapters. But, it still makes me wonder, why are movies turning into TV shows?

Still image of Julia Stiles as Ellie Christianson, Vanessa Zima as Inger Christianson, and William R. Moses as Ben Christianson from the 1998 mystery thriller film "Wicked".

Wicked, the movie starring Julia Stiles, was a complete movie… Well, now that I think about it, while the story does come to its full conclusion, the ending does leave an open door for a part two. This might be the reason why Frank is having me write this article, to begin with. What if this was all a ploy to market the second part of a movie that came out 26 years ago? Maybe he pitched the idea to Julia Stiles who will be reprising her role as the mother. This isn’t me pretending to not know what is going on while saying what is going on. I’m legitimately just spitballing here. I’m completely in the dark. Just like the people who have seen the Wicked musical movie trailer.

Look, I know fans of Wicked the musical are a proud bunch. Believe me, I dated one when I was younger. I try not to criticize movies before they come out. For all I know, it could be awesome. What I am criticizing is the execution of the trailer and comparing it to the trailer of a movie that shares the same name that happens to have been produced by my boss. The trailer for Wicked starring Julia Stiles, was the better trailer. I’m not saying that because I have to, Frank gives me a lot (maybe too much) of freedom on these blog posts. I’m saying this because it’s my objective truth. You’re allowed to disagree. Is the trailer dated? Of course, that’s what happens when time passes. But, it gave me just enough information without spoiling anything to get me interested enough to actually watch the film. Whereas the trailer for Wicked the movie is coasting on the fact that it is a retelling of an incredibly popular musical and the cast is full of star power. And for me, that isn’t enough to get me interested. Wow, I’m now realizing that because I wrote this, I am the annoying person who gave a long-winded review of a Super Bowl commercial. Frank turned me into what I made fun of… Now that is truly wicked.


Meet the Author:

Jared Hoffman Headshot

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

BATTLE OF THE IPS: ALICE IN WONDERLAND VS. DUNE

Welcome back to the Alice-dome! The blog post where I throw a helpless IP into the fighting pit to see if it has what it takes to stand up against the bone-crushing giant that is our beloved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. So far, there have been no survivors. That is to say that Alice always wins. Perhaps this is due to its enduring qualities, perhaps the reason it always wins is because it truly is the best, or perhaps it is undefeated because the ref of this competition (Me) is paid to write these blogs about Alice in Wonderland on an Alice in Wonderland website. We’ve had our top scientists trying to figure out why it always wins, but we will never truly know. Anyway, today’s contender is Dune, the science fiction classic authored by Frank Herbert. That’s right, it’s Jabberwock vs Sandworm, tea vs the Spice, Timothee Chalamet vs… I don’t know, Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter? The categories that will be used to find the victor will range from worldwide cultural impact to whatever else I feel could be interesting. So, sit back, relax, and watch the fight.

Still image of Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh, wearing a blue dress, in the 2010 Tim Burton film "Alice in Wonderland".
Promotional image of Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides, wearing a black clothes and standing in a desert, from the 2021 Denis Villeneuve film "Dune".

Worldwide Cultural Impact:

In this first round of our showdown, we’ll examine the global impact of these two extraordinary franchises. Both have earned their places in the hearts of audiences worldwide, but they do so in distinct ways.

Verdict: Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandDune’s influence on the science fiction genre and its intricate world-building makes it a strong contender but there is no beating Lewis Carrol’s masterpiece here. Dune might have influenced science fiction but Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has influenced everything else.

Illustration of the Queen of Hearts dragging Alice across a chessboard landscape under the watchful eye of two rooks from artist Ralph Steadman's illustration of "Alice in Wonderland".

Critical Appeal:

In this category, let’s delve into the critical responses to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Dune.

Verdict: Tie – With the invention of Yelp, everybody can truly be a critic. Unfortunately, I don’t read Yelp reviews. Both books were critical successes. A tie might be boring but this one is based on people’s opinions so it’s not that easy to score.

Still image of Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Zendaya as Chani, and Javier Bardem as Stilgar from the 2021 Denis Villeneuve film "Dune".

Influences on Language:

Now, let’s talk about language. Both franchises have left linguistic marks with unique phrases and terminology.

Verdict: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – In terms of linguistic impact, it’s a no-brainer that Alice is the winner here. Listen, I’ve literally written a blog about how Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is such a massive influence on our everyday verbal lexicon that we don’t even know we are referencing Alice anymore. The terms that were created in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland have transcended references and just are a part of our language.

Still image of the Queen of Hearts ripping up a tree as Alice lies face down from the 1951 Disney film "Alice in Wonderland".

Controversy:

It’s worth noting that both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Dune have faced controversies related to their content and themes.

Verdict: Tie – Unfortunately, we have another tie here, as I find both criticisms to be incredibly weak and if I’m being blunt, pretty stupid. In Alice’s case, the “dangers of nonsense” argument is really grasping at straws. Who doesn’t like a bit of nonsense in their lives? As for Dune, being complex isn’t a negative, just get better at reading. I say this in general too, I had read somewhere that the average reading level of adults is that of a ninth grader… That’s the reading level of a fourteen-year-old! Statistically, you, reader, have not gotten better at reading since you were fourteen. Lucky for you my writing level is that of a ninth-grader so it evens out.

Cover of the Puffin 150th anniversary deluxe edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" featuring Alice amongst mushrooms and other plants on a maroon background. Illustrated by Anna Bond.
Cover of Penguin deluxe hardcover edition of "Dune" by Frank Herbert, featuring a cloaked figure standing in a desert environment with a planet looming in the background.

Books Published:

Now, let’s turn to book sales and the impact of the printed word.

Verdict: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – One hundred million is a bigger number than the vague “millions” that I could find online relating to Dune. I know you read and I write like a ninth grader but this math is elementary.

Still image of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh standing in front of a beast and an army from the 2010 Tim Burton film "Alice in Wonderland".

Box Office Success:

Next, we compare the box office success of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Dune.

Verdict: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Okay, this is tricky, since there are multiple Dune movies and, if I counted correctly, a little over a billion Alice in Wonderland film adaptations. So, what I did was compare the most recent live-action Alice film to the most recent Dune film. If we are looking at success purely from the financial angle, Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice in Wonderland grossed over $1 billion at the box office whereas Denis Villeneuve’s Dune made only $402 million. BUT, I do want to mention that the Dune remake was much more successful critically, averaging a strong 83% on Rotten Tomatoes compared to Alice’s 53%. Also, if we were to compare the older versions of each franchise, the 1951 Disney Alice in Wonderland grossed $96 million adjusted for inflation compared to the 1984 Dune’s $30.9 million.

Still image of Zendaya as Chani, wearing an armored bodysuit and breathing tube, from the 2021 Denis Villeneuve film "Dune".

Things That I Like and Dislike

And now for the least biased section of the blog, things that I think are cool from each IP and things that I don’t like.

Things I like:

Things I dislike:

Verdict: I was too lazy to count the points – I was told this section wouldn’t count in the final tally anyway but I wanted to place it here. In my heart, I want to give it to Alice since, to my knowledge, Timmy C has never been in any of the film adaptations. Look, it’s not because I think he’s a bad actor or anything, I just enjoy disliking things NYU students like. That being said, the box Frank keeps me in is quite small and dark so I guess it’s a tie.

Frank Herbert, author of science fiction novel "Dune", reclines in a chair in his home office.

The Battle of the Franks

This is a last-minute addition that I realized is worth pointing out. Frank Beddor, my warden and/or boss and author of The Looking Glass Wars (which is the TRUE story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) has the same first name as Dune author Frank Herbert. I think it would be only fitting for us to throw them into the fighting pit as a sort of an undercard match before the conclusion of the main event.

Pre-Fight Weigh-Ins:

Well, this is awkward. It turns out that unfortunately Frank Beddor and Frank Herbert will not be able to fight physically because Frank Herbert has been dead for the past thirty-eight years… So, I guess instead we will compare them as authors. What’s worse is that I had bet my life savings on Herbert getting a knockout in the third round and my bookie is refusing to give me my money back. Well, let’s just get on with comparing them.

Round 1:

Number of Books written in the series

Round 1 Scores: Frank Herbert: 1, Frank Beddor: 0

Round 2:

Games inspired by their books

Round 2 Scores: Frank Herbert: 2, Frank Beddor: 0

Round 3:

Film and Television Adaptations

Round 3 Scores: Frank Herbert 3, Frank Beddor: 0

With a landslide victory of 3-0, Frank Herbert is the top Frank! Now I’ll be honest, I’m hoping I can sneak this past Frank Beddor. No one tell him he lost in this section. If I stop making blog posts, don’t assume that I’m on some kind of break or found another job, it means Frank Beddor found out about this section and I am missing. This stays between us. Okay? Now, let’s quickly get back to the main event before he finds out.

Still image of Alice, the March Hare, and the Mad Hatter drinking tea from the 1951 Disney film "Alice in Wonderland".

Conclusion

Alright, now that the dust has settled in the fighting pit, let’s see who has won. With six points to Dune’s four, our winner, and continual reigning champion, is none other than Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. And the crowd goes wild! Nobody could have seen this coming, not even me. When it comes to IPs, Alice is the reigning champion. I hope you all enjoyed this installment of the Alice V.S. series. Let me know what you think. But please know, all those who are Tim Chalet fans, aka NYU students, will be ignored.


Meet the Author

Jared Hoffman Headshot

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

Battle of the IPs: Alice in Wonderland vs. The Hunger Games

Alright, everybody, we are back with another head-to-head battle. This time I will be pitting our undefeated champion, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland against another popular book and film series, The Hunger Games. A recurring theme in The Hunger Games is going against unbeatable odds, which I find quite fitting in this instance. I mean, this is a blog about Alice in Wonderland after all. But, perhaps, the bow-slinging Katniss Everdeen and cake boy Peter will be able to steal the throne that has been consistently held by Alice. So, The Hunger Games, ready your bows, somehow camouflage yourself because you are good at icing cakes, and may the odds be ever in your favor, because you’re going to need it against the juggernaut that is Alice.

Mia Wasikowska as Alice in Tim Burton's 2010 film "Alice in Wonderland".
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2".

Worldwide Cultural Impact:

In this first round of our showdown, we’ll examine the global impact of these two massive franchises. Both have earned their places in the hearts of audiences worldwide, but in the end, one will come out on top.

Verdict: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – There is barely any comparison here, Alice is the winner. Don’t believe me? Go outside to a place where there are people, and just watch them. Take a mental tally of how many Alice-related shirts you see compared to Hunger Games shirts. Exactly. If that does not sway you, I don’t know a single song that is about the Hunger Games, whereas with Alice-related songs, there are too many to count.

Alice and singing flowers in Disney's 1951 film "Alice in Wonderland".

Critical Appeal:

In this category, let’s compare the critical acclaim of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Hunger Games. I’ve decided we will be focusing on the critical appeal of the books due to the unfair advantage that Alice would have if we were comparing the critical reception of the films. An Academy Award trumps a Teen Choice Award.

Verdict: Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandThe Hunger Games was close, but of course, Alice is going to win here. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has endured for over a hundred years. The critics loved it then and they love it now.

Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games".

Influences on Language:

Now, let’s talk about language. Both franchises have left linguistic marks with unique phrases and terminology.

Verdict: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – I’ve done this section in every single comparison and after this one, I will be removing it from the competition. It’s always a “gimmie” for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the true way to measure a book’s impact on language is to see how many words and phrases that were created in the book are used today without even thinking of the reference material. For example, if I were to say, “May the odds be ever in your favor,” people would go, “Haha yeah, Hunger Games.” But if I say, “I didn’t get any sleep last night. I went down a rabbit hole online and ended up learning how to blow glass,” people won’t be thinking, “Rabbit hole, like Alice.” They will be thinking, “Yeah man, you look super tired.” I also decided to ignore the fact that Carroll had invented the word “chortle” to make this comparison more unbiased.

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's 2010 film "Alice in Wonderland".

Controversy:

Let’s stir the pot here, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Hunger Games have faced controversies related to their content and themes. Do I agree with the points raised here? No, but I think it’s important to see which IP has “offended” the least amount of people.

Verdict: Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandAlice is the clear winner here. I mean the criticism that was raised is a Super Weeny Hut Jr. level of complaint. It’s too whimsical? What does that even mean? Whereas concerns about violence in The Hunger Games are to some extent more legitimate.

Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird in "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes".

Books Published:

Numbers never lie, except when they are made up to prove a point, which I did not do here. In fact, I did math here, which is something I thought I would never have to do when I became a writer. But here we are…let’s take a look at book sales.

Verdict: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – While both books have had immense success, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the victor here. While they both have sold over 100 million copies, The Hunger Games needed three books to get there. If we divide 100 million by three, we get 33.3 million copies, whereas Alice’s 100 million divided by 1 still is 100 million. Hooray, math!

John Tenniel illustration of Alice and a giant anthropomorphic flamingo from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland".

Box Office Success:

Next, we compare the box office success of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Hunger Games.

Verdict: The Hunger Games – While both have achieved success, The Hunger Games’ substantial box office earnings give it the edge in this category. I wanted to find exact box office information for Alice, but inflation and the sheer amount of Alice films that have come out makes it difficult to get proper numbers. So, I decided to compare the most successful of the adaptations. It is no question here.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire".

Theme Park Rides:

Who doesn’t like theme park rides? Okay, probably a few people, but I love them. As a kid when I read a book or watched a movie, I would always imagine parts I liked as rides and wanted to see how they could come to fruition. Fasten your seatbelts and keep your legs and arms inside the blog at all times.

Verdict: Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandAlice has rides around the world, The Hunger Games has none. The closest thing to a Hunger Games ride is Fortnite, which isn’t a ride. I’ve read The Hunger Games books and can’t even come up with an idea for a ride.

Entrance of "Alice in Wonderland" dark ride at Disneyland.

Conclusion:

Alright, I’ve tallied up the score and, oof, okay, Alice in Wonderland got six points and The Hunger Games got only one. I can hear the cannon firing in the distance signaling the defeat of yet another IP. You put up one hell of a fight Hunger Games but when you go against the champ, you have to be prepared to take a few licks. But it was a valiant effort on The Hunger Games’ part and for that, we raise our three fingers in its honor, and let out a whistle, doo dee dee doo… Look, I actually really like The Hunger Games books, so when you decide to write your hate mail for your favorite IP losing against Alice, just remember, you can do that, or you could get a hobby. Perhaps archery or baking.

In the spirit of trying to broker good faith between the fanbases, I will now present some AI image mashups of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Hunger Games.

First off, we have Katniss Everdeen as Alice. And yes, she’s brought her bow to Wonderland.

Katniss Everdeen from "The Hunger Games" with bow and arrows dressed as Alice from "Alice in Wonderland".

Next, we have the Mad Hatter as a District 1 socialite, ready for the opening ceremonies.

The Mad Hatter from "Alice in Wonderland" as a District 1 socialite from "The Hunger Games".

I hope you all enjoyed this blog, let me know what you think. What IP do you want to see face-off against Alice for the next blog? Do you agree with what I said here? If you didn’t and can remain calm about it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you didn’t and can’t remain calm, Frank would love to hear your thoughts.


Meet the Author:

Jared Hoffman

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

Battle of the IPs: Alice In Wonderland VS. The Lord of the Rings

Hey everyone, I’m back again with another Alice Versus blog. Tonight’s title card fight is a real heavyweight match. In the red corner, we have our reigning champion, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In the blue corner, weighing in at a respectable whatever three books weigh, we have The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien vs. Carroll, high fantasy vs. absurdist satire, the Balrog vs. the Jabberwock. Two may enter but only one can be victorious. Let’s get right into it with our first section.

Sir John Tenniel illustration from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
Illustration of the Doors of Durin from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings"

Global Cultural Impact:

In this first round of our showdown, we’re going to find out who’s had the most impact around the globe.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): When Lewis Carroll’s whimsical and surreal world of Wonderland was first introduced to the world, it was unlike anything people had ever read before. Its influence spans literature, film, art, and fashion. Wonderland’s timeless appeal transcends cultural boundaries, making it a cherished part of literary and artistic culture worldwide.

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien): J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic high-fantasy masterpiece has garnered a global following that spans generations. Its influence extends to literature, film, and even the formation of entire subcultures. Tolkien’s world-building and rich mythology have left an indelible mark on the fantasy genre.

Winner: Both? – Here’s the thing, these books are both massive in terms of cultural impact. Both books are leaders in their respective genres, Alice in absurdism and LOTR in high fantasy. Trying to measure their impact is like trying to count sand, and I don’t want to count sand. So… It’s a tie.

The Balrog and Gandalf fight in a scene from "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings"

Critical Acclaim – The Literary Realm:

In this category, we’ll explore the critical reception of the original works, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. After last round’s stalemate, I’m sure one of the two will take the lead here.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): Lewis Carroll’s surreal and satirical masterpiece has earned immense critical acclaim. Literary critics and scholars have celebrated it as a timeless work of imaginative storytelling and a profound exploration of Victorian society. It is widely recognized as a classic of children’s literature and has left an enduring mark on the literary world.

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien): The trilogy has received unparalleled acclaim in the fantasy genre and beyond. Critics and scholars have hailed it for its intricate world-building, rich character development, and thematic depth. The work is often cited as a seminal piece of literature with enduring significance.

Winner: Both – Really? Another tie? I guess so, I mean, both books were critical successes in their own right so it’s hard to compare. I know it’s my job to compare them and I even tried to sway it in Alice’s favor but seriously this feels like another tie.

Orlando Bloom as Legolas in "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy

Linguistic Influence:

Now, let’s delve into the linguistic impact of these fantastical worlds, including phrases and expressions they’ve introduced. I really need a winner here, ties don’t look good, that’s why soccer isn’t big in America.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): Lewis Carroll’s work introduced phrases like “down the rabbit hole” and “mad as a hatter” into common usage, adding whimsy and eccentricity to everyday language. Carroll’s linguistic creativity has even inspired new words, such as “chortle.”

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien): J.R.R. Tolkien’s extensive language creation, including Elvish languages like Quenya and Sindarin, has captivated linguists and language enthusiasts worldwide. Phrases like “One Ring to rule them all” and “My precious” have become iconic.

Winner: Both – NO! Another tie? Aw man if this was a pay-per-view fight people would be pissed. Carroll’s work is still undefeated in the sense that it has become such a part of our everyday language that people don’t even think of the source material. Tolkien created TWO languages and even invented a few words outside of those languages, such as “Ent.” As much as I don’t want it to be, in my mind and my heart, I know this is a tie.

Alice looks down the rabbit hole in "Alice in Wonderland"

Books Sold:

Next, let’s examine the number of books sold for each work. I swear if this is a tie, I’m going to stop writing this.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): Lewis Carroll’s literary masterpiece has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, has been translated into more than 100 languages, and is available in over 300 editions.

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien): J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic trilogy has sold over 150 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling book series in history. It has been translated into numerous languages, captivating readers around the world.

Winner: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Thank God. Okay, we finally have a winner here. In the category of books sold, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland secures its victory. 100 million for one book beats 50 million per book.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"

Box Office Success:

Okay, now that we have a leader in this bout, I feel better about writing this. In this round, we compare the box office success of film adaptations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Film Adaptations): Many film adaptations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland have been successful at the box office, especially Tim Burton’s $1 billion behemoth, captivating audiences with their imaginative interpretations.

The Lord of the Rings (Film Adaptations): Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings trilogy have grossed over $2.9 billion at the global box office, receiving critical acclaim and 17 Academy Awards, and becoming one of the most beloved and successful film series in cinematic history.

Winner: The Lord of the Rings – Aaaaaand we’re tied back up again… Damn. The Lord of the Rings film adaptations secure their victory, both in terms of earnings and critical acclaim. Back to square one…

Single cover for Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit"

Influence on Music:

Okay, it’s all tied up. This one is for all the marble. If it’s another tie I will never write again. No, no, don’t cry. It will be okay. I’m sure Frank’s other blog writers, if they work hard enough, one day, will display a similar (but slightly less than) amount of charm, wit, and attractiveness. I know you will all miss me but I just can’t have another tie here. Okay, with my preemptive goodbye, let’s explore how Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings have influenced the world of music.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): Lewis Carroll’s whimsical and surreal world has inspired numerous songs, ranging from psychedelic rock to alternative music. Bands and artists have drawn inspiration from Wonderland’s fantastical elements and nonsensical whimsy, incorporating them into their lyrics and compositions.

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien): J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic saga has had a profound impact on the realm of music. From progressive rock to folk metal, musicians have crafted songs and entire albums inspired by Middle-earth. Tolkien’s rich mythology and themes of heroism and adventure resonate deeply with musicians and their audiences.

Winner: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – I actually have my eyes closed in anticipation. I can’t look. Who’s the winner here? NO WAY! WE HAVE A WINNER. In the category of influence in music, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland emerges as the winner. While both works have inspired classic musical creations, the whimsical and surreal nature of Wonderland has been a particularly fertile ground for artistic expression in music.

Alice, the March Hare, and the Mad Hatter at the Mad Hatter's tea party in "Alice in Wonderland"

Conclusion:

In this captivating duel between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings, both works have demonstrated their profound impact on literature and popular culture. But as we all know there can be only one winner, unless it’s soccer, but thankfully this isn’t. The winner here, in a narrow victory, is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!

Wow, okay, normally, at the end of these Alice Versus blogs, I usually throw the losers a bone by giving their fans cool mashup images for them to take home with as a consolation prize. But, in this instance, since they were so evenly matched, I’ve decided that the mashups will be given out not as a consolation prize but as a symbol of joint friendship between two literary juggernauts.

First off, Gandalf went a tad mad and became a hatter…

An old wizard sitting at a table enjoying a beverage.

Next, Frodo and friends visit Wonderland and enjoy the Valley of Mushrooms. I wonder if they brought any Longbottom Leaf?

Hobbits sitting in a field of mushrooms.

Last, we have Hatter Madigan if he came to aid of Gondor for the Battle of Pelennor Fields. I wonder how he would’ve done against the Nazgul?

A dashing soldier in plate armor.

Alright, that was fun, let me know if you have any other mashups you want to see here. Hopefully, you enjoyed this blog. Let me know what you think below.


Meet the Author:

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

Battle of the IPs: Alice In Wonderland vs. Harry Potter

Alice as a cartoon character from Disney's 1951 Animated Classic: Alice in Wonderland on the left, and a young Harry Potter, wearing glasses and pointing a knife, as portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe in the films. This article will see how the 2 massive IP's match up against each other.

*Dramatic 90’s movie trailer voice* In the distant future, one man will face incredible odds, and actually write something. That man is me. The thing I will write is a blog pitting two of the most popular book series ever created against each other in a head-to-head battle. You can stop doing the dramatic 90’s voice now.

Hi everyone, I’m back with another head-to-head battle for you today, this time I’m tasked with pitting Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland against the IP juggernaut that is the Harry Potter series. I will be comparing the impact of the books, their influences on the world around us, and box office results from the movies these books inspired. All right let’s get into it.

A black and white drawing of people playing chess, as imagined in the world of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland done by Ralph Stedman

Critical Acclaim – The Literary Realm:

In today’s world, everybody is a critic, I mean with Yelp and Rotten Tomatoes it’s never been easier for an unqualified person to share their opinions. With that being said, I’m going to be comparing real critics for this comparison of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Lewis Carroll’s surreal and satirical masterpiece has earned immense critical acclaim. Literary critics and scholars have celebrated it as a timeless work of imaginative storytelling and a profound exploration of Victorian society. It is widely recognized as a classic of children’s literature and has left an enduring mark on the literary world.

Harry Potter Series: J.K. Rowling’s series has received substantial critical acclaim for its cultural impact and storytelling prowess. While it has garnered praise for its engaging narrative and character development, some critics have also offered nuanced analyses and occasional criticisms.

Winner: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – While Harry Potter was such a massive success that J.K. Rowling became richer than the late Queen of England, in the realm of critical acclaim within the literary world, money isn’t everything. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland emerges as the winner. Lewis Carroll’s work is celebrated as a literary classic with its enduring influence and profound themes.

Linguistic Influence:

Now, let’s delve into the linguistic impact of these fantastical worlds, including phrases and expressions they’ve introduced.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Lewis Carroll’s work introduced phrases like “down the rabbit hole” and “mad as a hatter” into common usage, adding whimsy and eccentricity to everyday language.

Harry Potter Series: J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world contributed terms like “Muggle” and “Quidditch” to everyday language as well as a creative use of Latin for the names of spells. Winner: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Impact on language is an interesting one to compare here but when looked at seriously, and removing all rose-colored fan glasses, it’s clear that Lewis Carroll is the real winner here. While Rowling created more words, they are meaningless in our world. That’s not to say they won’t become part of our everyday language in the future, we will know that time has come when a politician uses the word “Muggle.”

A cartoon painting of a child and wizard: Harry Potter, from the famous J.K. Rowling books. Here, Harry and his friends are riding broomsticks past colorful castle tops amongst a dense forest of trees.

Books Published:

Next, let’s examine the number of books published for each franchise.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Lewis Carroll’s literary masterpiece has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, has been translated into more than 100 languages, and is available in over 300 editions.

Harry Potter Series: The Harry Potter series has sold over 500 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling book series in history. It has been translated into numerous languages, captivating readers of all ages.

Winner: Harry Potter – While this may seem unfair since I’m comparing two books to seven. Rowling’s first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher/Sorcerer’s Stone has sold over 120 million copies alone, beating out Alices Adventures in Wonderland by around 20 million. The immense popularity of the Harry Potter books, with over half a billion copies sold, secures its victory in this category. Perhaps if Lewis Carroll had been around during the internet era, these numbers would be different, but alas.

Box Office Success:

In this round, we compare the box office success of the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Harry Potter adaptations.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The film versions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, specifically Disney’s 1951 adaptation and Tim Burton’s reimaginings, have seen considerable success at the box office. Burton’s 2010 and 2016 blockbusters grossed $1.3 billion combined.

Harry Potter Series: The Harry Potter film series raked in over $7.7 billion at the global box office, making it one of the highest-grossing film franchises in history.

Winner: Harry Potter – In terms of box office success, Harry Potter reigns supreme, its significant earnings landing it on the list of most successful film franchises of all time. Even if I were to add the top three grossing Alice in Wonderland film adaptations, it’s nowhere near $7.7 billion.

Johnny Depp's portrayal of The Mad Hatter, sitting at a table, pouring a cup of tea, next to a very small Alice. From Tim Burton's 2010 reimagining of Lewis Carroll, and Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

Theme Park Rides:

Let’s explore the theme park experiences inspired by each franchise.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Various Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-inspired theme park rides exist. Disney’s adaptations allow visitors to journey through the whimsical world of Wonderland, encountering characters and scenes from the book and animated film.

Harry Potter: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has its own land at the Universal theme parks. Along with the immersive theming, there are cutting-edge rides, including, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, set within the Hogwarts Castle.

Winner: Harry Potter – In the realm of immersive theme park experiences, Harry Potter is the winner here, I’ve been on all the Alice in Wonderland rides at Disneyland as well as Hogsmeade at Universal Studios Hollywood. It’s no contest, the Harry Potter rides are leagues better than the ancient rides at Disneyland.

Fans:

In this section, we’ll delve into the passionate and dedicated fan communities of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Harry Potter.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The world of Wonderland has a devoted following of fans who admire its whimsical and nonsensical nature. Wonderland enthusiasts often participate in events like “un-birthday” parties, where they celebrate eccentricity and the absurdity of Wonderland comes to life. Because Alice in Wonderland is in the public domain, fans can create thousands of pop-up experiences around the globe.

Harry Potter: The Harry Potter series has one of the most dedicated and expansive fan communities in the world. Potterheads, as they’re affectionately known, gather at fan conventions, celebrate their Hogwarts houses, and even participate in real-life Quidditch tournaments. The series has inspired fan fiction, fan art, and an array of fan-generated content that keeps the magic alive long after the books and initial film series concluded.

Winner: Harry Potter – I’m about to make a blanket statement for the sake of satire (this is a warning that what I’m saying while carrying a smidgeon of truth, is a joke). I find that the best way to compare fanbases is to look at them from an outside perspective and whichever one seems dorkier to you is the bigger fanbase.

While Alice in Wonderland fans are a proud and tight-knit community, Potterheads, the dorks in this situation, are a much more fanatical group. Any group that has their own name is already… A lot. Where Alice fans will have tea parties, Potterheads, and this includes grown-ups, will run around chasing a “snitch” with a broomstick hiked up against their crotch. The amount of times someone has asked me, “What’s your Hogwarts house?” rivals that of me being asked about my astrology sign. How seriously I answer the question, just like with astrology, depends on how attractive I find you. Weirdly, I think the Alice fans should be okay with losing this one.

A group of people playing Quidditch, wearing outfits that look strikingly like rugby players. Here two players are riding broomsticks, and throwing a ball through a hoop, while two other players look on in amazement.

Alright, now it’s time for the lightening round:

Amount of Insensitive Tweets by Author:

Lewis Carroll: Dead before the invention of the internet.

J.K. Rowling: A fair few…

Winner: Alice in Wonderland

Amount of Internet Quiz results that upset me:

Alice in Wonderland: 0

Harry Potter: 1. I’m a Hufflepuff!? Really?

Winner: Alice in Wonderland

Amount of times I’ve Been Paid to Write about the books:

Harry Potter: Including this article, one time

Alice in Wonderland: Including this article, more than one time.

Winner: Alice in Wonderland

Loser: Me (I’m kidding Frank please don’t fire me)

Conclusion:

Tallying up all the points here we see that Harry Potter has four points to Alice in Wonderland’s five, making Alice in Wonderland the winner. What a close match! Now, I have a feeling that some Potterheads may be upset by the results. Perhaps you’re upset with the fact that the lightning round was a bit subjective.

Before you guys wave a stick in my face and say some Latin, allow me to smooth things over and explain my thought process a little bit. First off, they’re funny. Second, it’s not like my blog will tarnish J.K. Rowling’s reputation any more than she is doing herself. Third, I’m paid to write comedic blogs about Alice in Wonderland on a website about Alice in Wonderland, what did you think the result would be?

At the end of the day, I’m actually a fan of both IPs and because of that, I thought we could end this blog with a couple of mashups that both fans would love to see.

March Hare Dobby and Mad Hatter Dobby Enjoying a Spot of Tea:

Artificial intelligence mashup of Alice in Wonderland's March hare and Harry Potter's Dobby, and the Mad Hatter and Dobby, enjoying a cup of tea. Made with Midjourney.

The Red Queen and Professor Umbridge:

Artificial intelligence mashup of Alice in Wonderland's The Red Queen, wearing a pink dress, but her face looks like Harry Potter's Professor Umbridge.

Hagrid Adds the Mock Turtle to his Wizarding Bestiary:

Artificial intelligence mashup of Alice in Wonderland's Mock Turtle with Harry Potter's Hagrid holding a fire in his hand, adding the turtle to his Wizarding Bestiary.

Harry Potter Chasing the White Rabbit to Wonderland!

A child version of Harry Potter, falling down the rabbit hole, while holding the white rabbit from Alice's  Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.

I hope you all enjoyed this blog! Are there any other IP match-ups you would like to see?


Meet The Author:

Jared Hoffman Headshot


Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

A Modern Recast of Alice 1999

Allow me to take you back to the year 1999. It was a wonderful year. The Euro was introduced into Europe, Bill Clinton was impeached for that thing he did, the space shuttle Discovery docked with the ISS, and I was two years old. Yes, it was a fantastical year that I remember fondly. With all the amazing things that happened that year, there is one thing always missing from every article I read, which I’m quite surprised wasn’t talked about constantly. I’m, of course, talking about the 1999 Alice in Wonderland TV movie.

What’s that? You don’t remember this movie? You know, the Alice in Wonderland TV movie with the cast consisting of but not limited to Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Lloyd, Ben Kingsley, Martin Short, Gene Wilder, and Miranda Richardson. Not ringing a bell? Well, don’t worry, I recently watched this movie for the first time, and let me tell you, it sure is something.

 Combining Lewis Carroll’s two books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. This retelling of the famous story feels like a fever dream. It might be from the bad CGI of Whoopi’s face onto the Cheshire cat’s body, the stiff special effects makeup of the time, or the scene with the giant baby that will forever haunt my dreams. This movie makes every other Alice in Wonderland retelling feel grounded.

The thing is, the story’s not bad, and the performances are top-notch. While I am the first to be anti-reboot, I think that this movie would actually be good if it were rebooted. The new technology we have in film would help this movie escape its uncanny valley look and allow the story to shine through. Since some of the actors who starred in this movie have unfortunately passed away and others have aged out of the roles, I’m going to take it upon myself to recast this film for today. Buckle up because I have some opinions, and you’re going to read them.

Cheshire Cat:

Image of the Chesire Cat, as portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in the 1999 made-for-TV-movie: Alice In Wonderland.
Image of American actor: Gary Busey with his mouth open. Looking crazy as always, he would be a good fit to cast as the Chesire Cat in a remake of the Alice in Wonderland TV movie.

Yes, this is a real photo from the movie. I’m starting off with the Cheshire Cat because this one was the most uncanny valley. Whoopi brought a lot of fun and mischievous energy, but I didn’t notice it until my second watch-through of this movie because I was watching the bad CGI. We have learned from the remake of CATS that CGing actors into giant cats is a terrible idea.

I think in this imaginary remake, the cat should be completely CGI. Whoopi could actually play this character again but as a voice role. If, for whatever reason, CATS wasn’t a warning enough, and they decide to do Cheshire Cat-like they did in the original 1999 movie, there is only one face I want to see digitally plastered onto a giant cat. That face being Gary Busey. No explanation needed.

Mad Hatter:

Image of Martin Short as the Mad Hatter, from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, a made-for-TV movie, released in 1999.

The ever-popular character of the Mad Hatter was portrayed by the consistently hilarious Martin Short. I don’t really want to recast him either as he is just awesome. But, if I must recast the Mad Hatter, it has to be someone with a lot of energy and an affinity toward absurdism.

So with that, I think the recast Mad Hatter should be Eric Andre. His popular Adult Swim show, The Eric Andre Show, is a masterclass in absurdism, and if he were to bring that wild energy to this role, people wouldn’t be able to tear their eyes off the screen.

Image of American comedian and actor, Eric Andre with curly hair, smiling for a portrait. He would make a great version of the Mad Hatter for a remake of the TV movie, Alice in Wonderland, originally aired in 1999.
Photo by Corey Nickols

Mock Turtle:

Image of Gene Wilder as the Mock Turtle from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland - a 1999 made-for-TV movie that was incredibly weird.

Portrayed by the incomparable Gene Wilder, the Mock Turtle scene in this movie was probably my favorite. Gene’s fantastic delivery of Lewis Carroll’s puns regarding Victorian society sucked me back into the movie. Finding someone to portray any role that was previously played by Gene Wilder is tough. One thing I can say for certain though, the most incorrect answer is Timothée Chalamet. In what world is he Wonka!?

Sorry, I digress. After much searching and deliberating, I think the actor who would bring a fantastic performance to the Mock Turtle is Ryan Gosling. After his show-stealing performance in the Barbie Movie, Ryan fits the role of the pun-filled Mock Turtle who is prone to melancholy. I can see him delivering the line, “We called him tortoise because he taught us!” perfectly.

Image of Ryan Gosling with a beard, from The Barbie Movie fame, at a recent Hollywood event.

White Knight:

Image of Christoper Lloyd as the White Knight  in the 1999 TV movie: Alice in Wonderland.
Image of American actor and comedian, Charlie Day in a yellow suit and white hat, portraying the character: Day Man at SDCC. Could he be the White Knight in Alice in Wonderland?

Christopher Lloyd brought his signature goofy excitability to the White Knight that he is known for. Therefore, the actor that would be recast for the role must be able to keep that fun energy tenfold. I think that a great recast would be Charlie Day.

Charlie’s voice stands out like Lloyd’s, which I’m sure was one of the reasons he was cast in the first place. Along with this, Charlie has shown he is at his strongest when the jokes are at his character’s expense. This makes him the perfect person to take over the role.

Queen of Hearts:

Image of Miranda Richardson as the Queen of Hearts, from the 1999 TV movie: Alice in Wonderland.

Miranda Richardson brought annoyed boredom to the Queen of Hearts, which was a refreshing take compared to the usual “hot-headed” renditions of the Queen most often portrayed on the screen.

I believe Lena Headey would be fantastic in the recast version of this. Playing badass and cool-headed characters is what she does, from Sarah Connor to Cersei Lannister, she definitely has the chops to make this Queen of Hearts shine.

Image of American Actress, Cersei Lannister, with dark hair wearing earrings and a black dress. Could she be the Queen of Hearts in a remake of 1999's Alice in Wonderland?

Alice:

Tina Majorino brought a balanced performance to the titular Alice in this version of Wonderland. While Alice always asks many questions throughout the films, this Alice was curious and aware of the absurdism while being slightly nervous. This made the moments of fun Alice had in Wonderland that much more enjoyable.

To replace her, I think the best choice would be Bella Ramsey. Her performance in The Last of Us popped off the screen. She has shown the talent and ability to disappear into any role she plays and I think would make a perfect Alice.

Image of Tina Majorino from the 1999 TV film: Alice in Wonderland.
Image of Bella Ramsey, from The Last of Us and Game of Thrones fame. Here, she is smiling at the camera on the red carpet from a recent Hollywood premiere, wearing a red jacket with black collar and white floral pattern.

So, there you have it everybody. This is my recasting of the main characters of the 1999 Alice in Wonderland TV movie. If you haven’t seen the movie already, you definitely should; it’s weird. Weird for an Alice in Wonderland movie. Do you agree with my casting choices? Is there anyone who you would rather take the roles in this strange movie? Let me know below.


Meet The Author:

Jared Hoffman Headshot

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?