The first film version of “Alice in Wonderland” was done in Britain in 1903. Originally 12 minutes long, only one damaged print was recovered, and only eight minutes, restored by the BFI National Archive, have survived.
One quibble. Isn’t Alice supposed to be like 8 years old? That’s what bothered me about Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” a few years ago. That Alice was 21 and a babe.
Considering movies were in their infancy 110 years ago, it’s impressive to see how film makers managed special effects. It’s an inventive use of the medium, manipulating a fantasy using real characters and objects. Today, it’s all CGI. That’s not a criticism. People want to be taken to another place when they go to the movies. An audience in 1903 probably thought this was the greatest thing they’d ever seen in their lives. An audience today expects something much grander. And 100 years from now, Blu-ray, 3-D and IMAX technology will be seen as a primitive form of entertainment.
That marks a passage of time. And that’s why movies are the closest we’re ever going to get to a time machine.