One of the hardest things to do when comparing a book and a movie is to explain why a book is different than a movie when the plot and characters are largely the same and it is even more difficult when they are both classic. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of the most famous children’s stories of all time, but the truth is that it is very difficult to say that it is a child’s story because while it is written for children as an adult I found myself checking the meaning of words and reading things twice to make certain that I understand them.
The plot of Alice’s Adventures in wonderland are very similar to those of the Disney movie. A young girl is in the woods with her older sister and sees a white rabbit where she chases it down a rabbit hole and ends up in a strange world filled with talking animals and strange insane people. She finds the tea party, the cricket game with the queen of hearts, who does threaten to behead everyone. Only towards the end does the plot change much.
The reason why this doesn’t make the movie a replacement for the book is that the plot of this story is largely unimportant. It is generally nonsense in the literal sense of that term and the book takes its time with each of these events playing with puns, logical ideas, and a great many other things that simple do not translate well to a movie.
The major difficulty of this book is that the way people use the English language has changed and while some might say that we simply are not as smart as the people in that time I would say that there are just as many words we now use and understand that would confuse them as those they used that confuse us. The idea of a hatter for example is one that simply makes very little sense in the modern world, but a person who makes hats in the late 1800’s would make perfect sense as the idea of textile mills and clothing factories would not be common.
This is a great story to read a young child as there is a lot of whimsy in the story, but if you don’t have children this is still a story that is well worth reading both as a classic and as a story that is enlightening and entertaining.