Posted on Friday, May 8th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
Linda Woolverton‘s screenplay for Tim Burton‘s new Alice in Wonderland has very successfully been kept under lock and key. This has led to a certain amount of confusion or even misinformation springing up and circling reports of the film. Thankfully, having been shown a full copy I can now report that all of the early information I was given by sources close to the film seems to be completely true.
The big surprise for most people, I think, will be that this is at once an adaptation of and sequel to the Lewis Carroll books. This is thanks to a plot wrangle at least as clever as that in Abrams’ Star Trek. Essentially, Wonderland is both a real place and a recurring dream of Alice’s. In this film she’s dreaming of it at a somewhat later part of her life than in the books, so certain things are different. This is just one clever element of a truly charming and surprising screenplay that I’m now really very sure will become a true humdinger of a movie.
To fully understand the script immediately one would need a glossary of terms. Thankfully, Woolverton prepared one and it was circulated to cast and crew. I’ve had it explained to me, so I’m going to pass on what I know to you after the break.
Here in alphabetical order are the various terms you’d need to fully understand the screenplay. While a handful come from the books, most of them appear to be brand new.
- Bandersnatch, The: evil creature under the control of the Red Queen.
- Brillig: 4 o’clock in the afternoon. When one begins broiling things for dinner.
- Crims: The central area of Underland.
- Downal wyth Bluddy Behg Hid: Down with the Red Queen, the slogan of the Resistance.
- Ezel: High, go higher, go up.
- Fairfarren: Farewell. May you travel far under fair skies.
- Frabjous day: The day Alice slays the Jabberwocky and frees Underland from the oppression of the Red Queen.
- Frumious: Dirty and smelly.
- Futterwacken: The Underlanders’ dance of unbridled joy.
- Gallymoggers: Crazy.
- Gribling: The day Alice will return to Underland.
- Guddler’s scut: Thief’s butt.
- Gummer Slough: Dangerous swamp of thick viscous mud.
- Horunvendush Day: The day the Red Queen took control of Underland.
- Jabberwocky: A deadly creature employed as the Red Queen’s ultimate weapon.
- Jubjub Bird: A Bird under the control of the Red Queen.
- Kiotchyn: ‘Heads’ up or ‘pay attention’.
- Naught for usal: It’s no use trying.
- Noge: Go low down.
- Nunz: Wait or ‘Don’t go, not now’.
- Oraculum: The Calender of all the days of Ulnderland. Each day has its own title and illustration.
- Orgal: To the left.
- Outlands: The untamed land to the west of Witzend.
- Outlandish: The old language spoken only in the Outlands and used by the Underland resistance as a secret code in the revolution against the Red Queen.
- Pishsalver: A potion that makes one shrink.
- Queast: A land to the east, but ‘not in the least’.
- Quillian: The following day after Alice returns.
- Saganistute: A wise person of poetry and vision.
- Salazen Grum: A port city where the Red Queen lives.
- Shukrn: Faeces. Ewww.
- Sloth: Slowly
- Stang: To the right.
- Slurvish: Selfish or self-centered.
- Snud: A region in the south of Underland.
- Tulgey Wood: Where Alice meets the Jabberwocky.
- Underland: The real name for the place Alice calls Wonderland.
- Upelkuchen: A cake that makes one grow.
- Slurking urpal slackush scrum: rude or dirty words of the most foul meaning.
- Witzend: The western land where the Mad Hatter and March Hare were born.
- Yadder: Far away. Way yadder beyond the Crossling in Snud.
- Zounder: A warning to ‘look out behind you!’