What do these pictures have to do with Lewis Carroll’s beloved children’s book, Alice in Wonderland?
As many of you know, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland have been, and continue to be very influential and a source of inspiration for many literary and artistic projects. One of my favorite things about Alice in Wonderland is the many ways it can be interpreted and I am constantly surprised when I discover references to it in unexpected places.
One of these surprise references was in the 1999 movie, The Matrix. Directors of the movie, Andy and Larry Wachowski use inspiration from Alice in Wonderland throughout the trilogy. The most obvious references are at the beginning when the protagonist, Neo, is told to “follow the white rabbit” which will lead him to Morpheus, his eventual mentor. Morpheus offers him a blue pill, which will erase his memory and return him a life of normalcy, or the red pill which will allow him to discover to truth: “you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes”. Neo takes the red pill and enters the Matrix through a mirror like Alice when she climbs through the looking glass. Themes of dreaming, waking, questioning reality and questioning identity are central to the plots of both Alice in Wonderland and The Matrix. Here is a clip of Morpheus offering Neo the pills.
Resident Evil is another science-fiction-y movie that takes cues from Alice in Wonderland. The heroine’s name is Alice and she must enter the Hive, a genetic research facility (much like going down the rabbit hole) in order to defeat an artificial intelligence system called the Red Queen. You can see Alice meeting the Red Queen in the first 30 seconds of this clip (it gets rather gruesome after that):