Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mad Tea Party

So this weekend I got to go to Alamo Drafthouse's Mad Tea Party!  This was one of their special events complete with a special three-course menu.  

The party included a showing of Alice In Wonderland.  Both of the Drafthouse venues in town had this special, but I opted for the non-3D version of the film. I'm not a huge fan of watching films in 3D.  I have enough problems with astigmatism without movies playing with my depth perception.

I love the pre-show entertainment that  Drafthouse has. Did you know that Disney's Alice in Wonderland was its third feature length film?  And how could the introduction to this movie be complete without a clip from Edward Scissorhands? They got in a tribute to Tim Burton with Nightmare Before Christmas.  I was most surprised by the inclusion of some clips from an old TV version of Alice in Wonderland.  We had this on VHS recorded from when it originally aired when I was growing up.  The recollection of Through the Looking Glass is solely from that version.  I would love to watch it again, but haven't been able to find it anywhere.

First course was a Shrimp Ceviche in cucmber cups with champagne.  This was my favorite course.  They were the perfect little bite-size noshes.  The cucumber cups were star-shaped.  I wished the theater had more light in it so I could tell how they cut the cucumber into that shape.  But alas, it shall remain a mystery.  The ceviche had a good spice in it; it tasted like sour cream, cayenne, and paprika.  I am definitely a champagne fan.  I didn't used to be, but now I like having champagne to celebrate the everyday.  The Wycliff was a brut, which I prefer.  It had only a little bit of sweetness, with a bit of an apple taste.  I doubled up and got a small bottle of Korbel Brut to sip through the rest of the film.

The second course was a Eggs Benedict with honey-cured ham on sourdough with Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.  The poached eggs were good, and the ham was tasty, but my sourdough was all sorts of soggy.  I absolutely despise soggy bread.  It's one of the few textures I can't deal with.  The green onion butter that came on top was okay, but not fantastic.  I was impressed by the KJ Chardonnay.  I normally veer away from both "brand name" wines and chardonnay.  I don't particularly like sweet wines, and most of the chardonnays I've had are too sweet for me.  This one had more of a citrus flavor and paired nicely with what I ate of the Eggs Benedict.

The third course was an apple tea cake with Earl Grey tea.   I love hot tea.  I've mostly had green tea lately, so it was nice to have a black tea for a change.  The Earl Grey was nice, though I normally like it stronger.  I probably have let it steep for longer.  You needed the tea to eat the tea cake.  It was muffin-shaped, but a bit on the dry side.  It was like an under-sweetened individual-sized apple coffee cake.  Okay, but not great.

The movie however was a great remake of the classic tale that most people know but hardly ever have read.  My version of Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland had oodles of footnotes.  The book shows why using contemporary slang and obscure politics are not a good idea.  It sounds like nonsense now, but every one of the nonsense words had solid definition.  I liked how they kept some of the great details from the book though: for example, the chess board, the pots flying around in the kitchen, and the queen screaming for her tarts. hey gave the story more a direct conflict - the White Queen versus the Red Queen.  It made it a bit more accessible to modern audiences.

The cast was perfect.  Johnny Depp, of course, who really excels at the oddball characters.  I liked his "mad" spells a whole lot.  His elocution of the Jabberwocky soliloquy was perfect.  Again, loved Anne Hathaway.  The White Queen's floaty-arm movements cracked me up.  I recognized Alan Rickman's voice as the caterpillar immediately.  Mia Wasikowska was lovely as Alice.  She looks so much like a young Gweneth Paltrow, another of my fave actresses.

Wonderland is obviously one of those places where you have to have a vast variety of colors.  So many movies use the absence of color as a statement, but here I think the intense and varied presence of color was an equally powerful thing.  It's used more often in fantastical movies, like in Peter Pan, but why isn't it used in more modern settings?  As I look around my desk right now I am see (my lack of a cohesive interior decorating scheme and ) lots of varied hues and shades of color. 

Just a random thought to leave you "curiouser and curiouser."


Amanda said...

I really enjoyed the movie, despite not liking the book or the old movie at all. I thought they did an excellent job, though Brittany will tell you I was positive the white queen was going to turn out to be a bad guy...

Ann said...

From some reviews it seems like some people are really upset that it doesn't follow the plot of the original. But I think they answer that with the idea that the previous events had already happened.

Not the white queen! I liked that they kept her as Alice's confidant.

Amanda said...

I guess I saw it as more of a sequel to the book than as an adaptation, which is why I liked it more. The trailer showed that, too, so I'm not sure why people were confused...

Ann said...

You know, you're right (as usual). It really wasn't advertised as sticking to the original story. I don't know what the people were thinking when they expected it to.

Oh! And I found that 1985 version of Alice on DVD! http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Wonderland-1985-Natalie-Gregory/dp/B000FSME7O/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1268838135&sr=1-3