Alice (Neco z Alenky)

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

80%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,919
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Movie Info

Czech surrealist filmmaker Jan Svankmajer, who gained a reputation for his short subjects, makes his feature-film debut with Neco z Alenky, a grotesque look into the darkest, wildest recesses of a child's mind. A surreal adaptation of Lewis Carroll's children's classic Alice in Wonderland, the film stars Kristyna Kohoutová as Alice, the only human character in the film. The other roles, which are voiced by Alice, are filled by an odd menagerie of animated clay, puppets, and meat. After falling asleep beside a stream, Alice follows a stuffed rabbit into a magical world where she encounters several grotesque-looking characters, including a caterpillar and The Mad Hatter. Also released under the title Alice, Neco Z Alenky was nominated for the International Fantasy Film Award at the 1989 Fantasporto Film Festival. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Alice (Neco z Alenky)

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

  • The definitive version of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Though [Jan Svankmajer] strips away all sweetness and light, he does not violate Lewis Carroll's story.

    Aug 30, 2004 | Rating: 4/5
  • It takes us back to a time in the history of movies when audiences responded to the images on screen with a combination of awe and fear, when in submitting to them, we felt as if we were submitting to a spell.

    Aug 20, 2002 | Full Review…
  • Not necessarily for young kids, this is a surrealist version with a great deal of attention accorded to objects.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • Alice adaptations tend toward whimsical fairy tale wonder, but a director given to animating not only stop-motion puppets but raw meat was bound to bring something more to the project,

    Aug 31, 2018 | Full Review…
  • This is the only filmed version of the material... that persuasively places us right in the middle of a child's nightmare.

    Dec 4, 2016 | Rating: 10/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Alice (Neco z Alenky)

  • Jul 04, 2014
    'Alice (Neco z Alenky)' (1988) is the surreal story of Alice in Wonderland mingled with the twisted components of an experimental film. Aside from the poor narration in the English dub, the sound and stop-motion animation is effectively hair-raising as it should be. However, as the film goes on, the unnerving delight and crisp animation deflates it into a generally repetitious experience that lasts longer than it really is. If you've already seen enough experimental films, you should probably miss out on this one. But if you're an interested viewer unfamiliar with the genre, than this is something worth a try.
    Noah N Super Reviewer
  • Jun 15, 2012
    The idea of Jan Svankmajer retelling "Alice in Wonderland" sounds fantastic. Surely, Svankmajer's brilliant knack for stop-motion animation, miniatures and dollhouse aesthetics would be a perfect fit for the Lewis Carroll classic. But something goes wrong in straining to turn the story darker and scarier -- it simply becomes unpleasant to watch. The hideous white rabbit looks like a beginning taxidermy project gone wrong, and the film is full of distasteful sound effects and depressing, decayed imagery (not to mention all the watches smeared with greasy butter). Another problem is that the story takes forever to get beyond the "Eat Me" phase of Alice consuming magic food to change size for various rooms and doorways. Worst of all is that the child actress portraying Alice is the only human in the cast, and none of the other characters speak. Alice instead conveys their words through narration, and every time she recites a creature's line, the camera awkwardly cuts to a closeup of her mouth as she adds "...said the white rabbit" or something similarly parenthetical. These insertions become remarkably grating, even within the film's brief 86-minute run. To make matters worse, the dialogue is dubbed rather than subtitled, so the words don't match the girl's lips. Given all the versions of this story that are available, there are better ones to choose first.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2011
    "What a blissfully bizarre masterpiece of groundbreaking, shocking imagery that crossed the borders of contemporary surrealism!", exclaimed Edgar Cochran to himself. Eisenstein once said that stupidity had no limits. Poets and artists have the same perspective towards surrealism. When animation kept finding new expressionistic branches in order to create worlds much more smoothly, the already immortal classics, whatever their respective reputations were, became the primary targets to experimental adaptations. Svankmajer, thank you for never daring to say: "It can't be done". 97/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 25, 2011
    Lewis Carroll's Alice books are probably two of the most frequently adapted books in cinema. What separates this 1988 adaptation from the rest? Well let's get the important information out of the way: this film is a loose interpretation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; Czech surrealist filmmaker Jan vankmajer directs it; and it's the creepiest damn thing I've ever seen in my life. The film is a fairly direct adaptation of the first Alice book. Alice follows a white rabbit, ends up in wonderland, and meets an assortment of bizarre characters. It keeps the books minimalist narrative, and unlike many adaptations it doesn't try to be anything more than a series of strange events. Some might find that boring, and it definitely worked better in the book, but it is refreshing to see an Alice movie that doesn't try to create an epic story of rebellion or something (even though I do enjoy those adaptations as well). At the same time, it's drastically different from the book in its visual presentation. Alice doesn't fall down a rabbit hole but goes down an elevator, wonderland itself is nothing more than a large desolate looking house, and the white rabbit is a taxidermy rabbit from Alice's bedroom. Alice herself is also the only character who is portrayed by an actual actress, the rest of the characters being portrayed by various stop motion creations. This leads to the creepy part of the film. The stop motion is quite impressive, especially for its time. However, it also feels a little jumpy, and the creatures used are often grotesque. The white rabbit has a hole in his chest that is constantly leaking woodchips; the caterpillar is a tube sock that sews in its own eyeballs; and the mad hatter...I don't even want to talk about the mad hatter. The only imagery that isn't disturbing in some manner is the card soldiers, who are constantly dueling in an impressive feat of animation. However, since this adaptation actually shows the Queen of Hearts follow through with her declaration of "off with their heads," they still manage to be disturbing in their own way. This is a surrealist film, and that's the imagery you are going to get. Even Alice herself is a little creepy. The Alice of Lewis Carroll's stories wasn't that in depth, but she still had a personality. This Alice is completely flat and emotionless, and her face is a blank slate. She also narrates the whole story, and whenever she speaks for another character, there is an extreme close up of her lips moving in a style that vaguely reminded me of the opening to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I didn't like this movie. Watching it was an almost painful experience. However, I still respect it as a work of cinema. Alice's journey is one that is open to endless interpretations, and that's one of the things I love about it. I didn't enjoy this adaptation, but I still think it holds a place in cinematic history as both an interesting interpretation of the classic story, as well as a work of surrealism. Highlights Directed by: Jan vankmajer Screenplay by: Jan vankmajer, based on the stories by Lewis Carroll Starring: Kristýna Kohoutová Pros: Impressive stop-motion Cons: Grotesque imagery that becomes unbearable Rated: Not Rated, contains no outright violence but much of the imagery is grotesque and disturbing Should You See it?: While I didn't personally like it, fans of surrealist cinema might enjoy it.
    Michael M Super Reviewer

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