NAA Link: Alice In Wonderland’s Secret Ingredient: Math

13 March 2010

It may not be common knowledge that Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, was “in real life” a mathematician.   (I like the story of how the queen, so taken was she with the Alice stories, wrote to Carroll expressing interest in any future writing he might do; she was rather nonplussed to receive a textbook on symbolic logic.)

Keith Devlin, NPR’s resident mathematician (wish I had that job…) talks a little about Lewis Carroll the mathematician, and the influence of mathematics on parts of the Alice story.

Alice In Wonderlands Secret Ingredient: Math : NPR.


Alice In Wonderland (2010)

12 March 2010

Last weekend, I saw Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.  Three times.  I went alone to a midnight showing (which featured a surprising number of impressive costumes, way to go fanfolk!), then to a matinee the next day with my wife.  And on Sunday, when my daughter wanted to go to a movie and my wife wanted to see Alice again, how could I refuse?

There’s a full review and commentary after the jump, but some readers may consider that content spoilerish, so here’s the bottom line.

Burton gives us a compelling vision of Wonderland, well-cast and well-acted.  Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter turn in the quality performances we’ve come to expect; Crispin Glover, Anne Hathaway, and Stephen Fry are likewise well suited to their roles.  Most importantly, the movie has in Mia Wasikowska a worthy and capable Alice, well-balanced between seeming confident and seeming lost.  Unfortunately the ending is rather weak, and you probably shouldn’t try very hard to analyze the plot and theme.  Still, this can rightly be called a new look at the Alice story, and there are plenty of moments that will lodge themselves in your imagination for some time to come.  And anyone who can finds new life to breathe into a story which has been told and retold as often as this one deserves a lot of credit, even if it’s not as much new life as we might have wanted.  I give this movie a quite-respectable A-.

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