Is Alice In Wonderland Steampunk?

Is Alice In Wonderland Steampunk? Let’s have a look at some of the key elements of the movie in order to decide whether it meets the criteria in order to be classified as steampunk or not. If not, does it fit into one of the other punk aesthetics? Let’s find out. 

Before we get into whether Alice In Wonderland is steampunk or not, let’s look at what the film is about to get a flavor as to whether it may fit into the steampunk genre. 

Movie Title: Alice In Wonderland

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Roth Films, The Zanuck Company

Director: Tim Burton

Story By: Lewis Carrol (screenplay by Linda Woolverton)

Release Date: 05th March 2010 (US)

Main Actors: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Mia Wasikowska, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, and Timothy Spall

Synopsis: Alice, a 19-year-old, is due to marry an English nobleman. At her engagement party, she leaves in order to consider whether to go through with the marriage. Whilst walking she falls down a hole in the garden after following an unusual looking rabbit.

Arriving in the “Underland,” she finds herself in a world of childhood nightmares, filled with talking animals, villainous knights and queens, and bandersnatches.

Alice realizes her reason for entering the ‘underland’ is to conquer the horrific Jabberwocky and restore the rightful queen to her throne, and so her adventure ensues.

What Makes a Movie Steampunk?

Before we answer the question, is Alice In Wonderland steampunk? Let’s have a look at some of the key characteristics of a steampunk movie.

There are a number of elements that need to combine in order to classify a movie as steampunk. Check out our in depth guide as to what makes a movie steampunk for more information on this. Whether something fits into the steampunk genre or not is a topic that is always up for hot debate in the forums. 

As steampunk sadly never existed, there is no history to check the validity against, however, there is some faux pas that means that something is clearly not steampunk. Things such as this we would class as being ‘steampunk inspired’, i.e. they don’t traditionally conform to the steampunk genre, but they have taken elements from it to inspire them. 

As a quick recap, we’ve lined up our top 10 elements to look out for in a steampunk movie. 

Top 10 Things to Look Out for In a Steampunk Movie

  • The Use of Steam – In steampunk, electricity has never been invented, everything is mechanical and powered by steam. This means that if you can see digital machinery in a movie, it isn’t traditional steampunk, therefore it may be classified as ‘steampunk inspires’  
  • Steam Powered Vehicles – In steampunk movies, as with the above, you will only see vehicles powered by steam, cars, ships, and even submarines.
  • Airships – Airships are popular within the steampunk genre – again, mechanically powered.  
  • Set In Victorian Era or an Alternative History – Steampunk is set in either the Victorian Era (19th Century), or in an alternative, future, occasionally depicted as a ‘wild west’ setting. 
  • The Clothing – Clothing can vary, but is normally focused around the fashions of Victorian England, or that of a colonial explorer. 
  • Augmented Mechanical Humans – In steampunk, persons can normally be seen with mechanically replaced elements to their body, sometimes these are full replacements, othertimes, a mechanical exoskeleton.
  • Gadgets & Gears – futuristic (mechanical) gadgets are common place in the steampunk genre. A personal favorite is a gun that mechanically springs from up a sleeve to the user’s hand, ready and poised for use. Gears can be seen throughout the steampunk genre, emphasizing the mechanical theme that is central to the aesthetic.  
  • Time Travel – Time travel is not an essential component of steampunk, however, it can be seen in some steampunk works. Just remember that the time travel device needs to be mechanical and not digital/ electronic.
  • The Paranormal – The paranormal is not traditional steampunk, however, the crossover between the genres is common. The villain in steampunk is normally a man made creation as opposed to being a mythical creature, demon, vampire, etc. 
  • Advanced Technology – Technology that is advanced for its time is a standard theme throughout steampunk. The technology must be mechanical in nature, such as the analog computer.

For more detail, check out our ultimate guide as to what makes a movie steampunk.

What Elements of Alice In Wonderland Are Steampunk?

There are many instances of steampunk imagery throughout the story from the White Rabbit and his steampunk pocket watch, to the top hat of the Mad Hatter.  

A lot of the clothing choices within the film have a Victorian-era flair, sympathetic to that of the steampunk genre. The Queen is a prime example of this with the laced corset and puffball sleeve which was prevalent in the victorian-era.

Check out the Best Steampunk Movies

If you’re interested in steampunk movies, why not check out our guide to the best steampunk movies, and see if you can find a new favorite?

Check out the Best Steampunk Movies

If you’re interested in steampunk movies, why not check out our guide to the best steampunk movies, and see if you can find a new favorite?

So, Overall Is Alice In Wonderland Steampunk?

Overall, the 2010 adaption of the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice in Wonderland is very much a steampunk movie. There is no end of amazing steampunk costumes stemming from this movie.

What are your thoughts? Is Alice In Wonderland Steampunk? Let us know in the comments below what your opinion is and why.

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