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Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Review: Curiouser & Curiouser

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One of the things I've always loved about Once Upon a Time is its ability to take characters that we all believe we know so well and give them a completely different twist.

I expected no less from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland - and "Down the Rabbit Hole" it didn't disappoint.

Peter Gadiot And Sophie Lowe In Wonderland

The story began when Alice returned home from her trip down the rabbit hole only to find her father completely distraught. Alice had been gone so long he thought her dead. He was so upset that you'd think he wouldn't mind her crazy stories about talking white rabbits and hookah smoking caterpillars. 

But when Alice grew up and continued to insist it was all real, well, there's only one thing a loving father could do: Have her tossed into an asylum. 

But let's back up a bit. Apparently Alice spent years jumping back down that rabbit hole in the hopes of bringing back proof for her disbelieving father and in her travels to Wonderland something even more unexpected happened…she fell in love. 

I'd assume we'll get plenty more back story on Alice and Cyrus the genie, but so far I liked what I saw. Even with the few scenes they shared they had some nice chemistry. I especially liked it when in this Once Upon a Time in Wonderland quote, Cyrus pointed out his disappointment in Alice's father's disbelief…

So you're risking your life for someone who doesn't believe in you. | permalink

That one line made me all the more sad for Alice. Unfortunately her troubles were far from over. 

Thankfully she appeared to have one true friend in The Knave of Hearts. One of my favorite scenes was just as Alice has given up and awaits her lobotomy in the asylum. The Knave broke in and convinced her that Cyrus was still alive and back in Wonderland. That's all Alice needed to hear. Suddenly our sullen wallflower was taking down multiple guards using not much more than her shoes. 

Who doesn't love a girl who can handle a sword?

That's one of the things I immediately loved about the original Once Upon a Time. That the wimpy Snow White I'd read about or seen in movies didn't exist in this world. Here she picked up a bow and arrow and fought for herself.  That's certainly one of the things I liked about Alice here.

Along with the love story and a fair bit of action we also got humor.  One of my favorites was when Alice and the Knave of Hearts started sinking in the Mallow Marsh.

Knave: This is humiliating. I'm going to die like a bloody s'more. | permalink

There's plenty to love here in Wonderland. Dragonflies that are actual dragons. A Cheshire cat with some serious bite. A formidable villain in Jafar who has the impressive choking ability of Darth Vader couple with an imposing viper staff and cool flying carpet. 

The only one I questioned was the Red Queen. Jafar seemed to overshadow her in the villain department and she didn't have nearly the presence of the original Once Upon a Time's Evil Queen, Regina but since this was just the pilot, I'll give her some time before I draw a final conclusion.

So what did you think of this version of Alice in Wonderland? Were you surprised to see a Wonderland and Aladdin mashup of sorts? And how should Alice use those wishes in her shoe? Grade the premiere now:

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (77 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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Not loving it, but I'll give it one or two more weeks to see where it goes. Though for as much as everyone is calling the CGI terrible, I'm pretty sure that was intentional, considering there was some really good CGI in the episode too, it was just good enough that people didn't notice and focused on the cartoony ones. Plus, look at OUAT, they clearly have the ability to pull of good CGI when they want to. So yeah, as an episode it was just kind of meh, but it is a pilot after all, and to be honest I wasn't all that crazy about the original Once premiere and I ended up loving the show, so we'll see.

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Alright seeing as I feel no need to continue to argue with you over a TV show I will just apologize for not reading every interview the show runners have done. In my opinion the viewers shouldn't need to read interviews to understand things that are occurring on the show but that's just me I guess. If they wanted Alice to live in an alternate universe form of England then that should have been made clear within the show itself. Anyways, you should really remember in the future though that this site is meant to just be enjoyable and connect with other people who are fans of shows and to discuss it without being made to feel stupid for not sharing the same opinions, not reading all the same interviews, and not noticing all the same things.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

There also isn't any indication that Alice is from a different world than Story Brook. The only thing that is ever mentioned about where Alice is from is when she says she is from England. England exists in "the real world" so it wouldn't make sense to make her from a different world than what Story Brook exists in
Let's make this clear: 1. Till S1 Premiere there was no magic in the world where STorybrooke is so ALice could NOT have travelled to wonderland from it.
2. Since OUAT takes place in a multiverse, there's an infinite number of parallel realities with London.
3. Since in OUAT time travel is impossible(already stated by Showrunners), Knave and rabbit arriving to Alice would be impossible if its same world.
4. Since shorunners outright stated its a different world.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

Oh and also (didn't notice your second post before) there was no indication that this season premiere took place in season 2 premiere of OUAT. During the Season 1 premiere there was a storm, like in this episode of OUATiW (in the season 2 premiere there was no storm).
You mean except for the fact that the showrunners already stated it takes place during Broken, specifically during the whole Shadow stuff, about a dozen of times? Or the fact that Knave remembers? Or the fact that Cinderella is no longer pregnant? There also isn't any indication that Alice is from a different world than Story Brook. The only thing that is ever mentioned about where Alice is from is when she says she is from England. England exists in "the real world" so it wouldn't make sense to make her from a different world than what Story Brook exists in Considering OUAT takes place in a multiverse of parallel realities, there are THOUSANDS of worlds with England. Also considering timetravel is impossible(yet again stated by showrunners) and considering the psych wards NEVER were the way it is portrayed here AND considering magic was non-existent in "Storybrooke's world" till S1 finale(so Alice could not have travelled to Wonderland"), it seems to be fairly obvious.

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Oh and also (didn't notice your second post before) there was no indication that this season premiere took place in season 2 premiere of OUAT. During the Season 1 premiere there was a storm, like in this episode of OUATiW (in the season 2 premiere there was no storm). Also like I said during SEASON 1 the Mad Hatter had his memories despite the curse not being broken which is why I thought it was strange that the same goes for the Knave. There also isn't any indication that Alice is from a different world than Story Brook. The only thing that is ever mentioned about where Alice is from is when she says she is from England. England exists in "the real world" so it wouldn't make sense to make her from a different world than what Story Brook exists in (which also exists in "the real world").

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Really invested with your future? you felt the need to write a hole post dissecting mine because I don't agree with the rest of you? I was simply stating that the cgi didn't personally bother me and to me it felt like it was that way on purpose. I will apologize for mistaking the red queen and queen of hearts for the same person I didn't catch that. I haven't read the books so I was not familiar with that fact before hand. Regardless of whether or not they are the same title though I still don't like the casting I find her to be annoying. Again my personal opinion you don't have to agree.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

dimensions but other periods of time? Also, what it is it about the residents of Wonderland that allowed them to retain their memories when they went to SB (first the Mad Hatter now the Knave)?
Both are answered if you paid ANY attention to either of the shows OUATiw pilot takes time during OUAT S2 premiere, so everyone already is off the curse. Alice's homeworld is a different world from the one storybrooke is in.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

It was meant to be that way: kind of cartoonish and whimsical.
There's a difference between surrealistic cgi AND badly blended low budget cgi - its certainly case of latter and not former in this case. The creators of this show have proven on Once that they can do good enough CGI
Except that CGI was never really a "Strength" of OUAT. FTL stuff looks good enough but everything else is very...subpar. OUAT lives off great characters, subversion of expectations and deep plotline - something OUATiw so far lacks. 1. I don't like the Queen of Hearts casting. She is no Cora. How did she possibly get control? learn your lore. REd Queen =/= Queen of Hearts. One is a card. The other is a chesspiece.
One is a psychopath with anger management issues. Other is bureaucratic mastermind.
One is in one book. The other is in entirely other book. Can you differentiate card games from chess or do you play your poker with chesspieces?

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I noticed the whole time thing seemed off as well. I think Alice is definitely from turn of the 20th Century in the show because of the style we see, and the fact that no one mentioned the fact that her initial story is exactly that of Alice in Wonderland. If it was a modern era someone in-show should have picked up on that and in OUAT they keep making references to how the stories and "realities" of the characters are different. The thing that really screws with the time scheme is that opening sequence, which presumably happens sometime before the Curse is broken because the characters use their SB names (can't remember if they do that post-curse though. Anyway, all in all I agree with most of the disappointments already stated (visuals,acting,character's choices), but am also going to at least give it one or two more episodes to see if it picks up a bit because I love the mash-up possibilities in the show

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(contd) dimensions but other periods of time? Also, what it is it about the residents of Wonderland that allowed them to retain their memories when they went to SB (first the Mad Hatter now the Knave)? Would really like those two questions explored more! But really love this show. Hoping that Jafar's presence means a possible Aladdin/Jasmine intro (crossing fingers!!!)

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

So you're risking your life for someone who doesn't believe in you.

Cyrus

It all began with this white rabbit and he wanted to take my hat.

Alice
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