My third in a series (I, II) of posts about Alice In Wonderland caterpillars highlights the most recent rendition by self-taught German artist, Michael Kutsche. His art was used to create the caterpillar in the 2010, 3-D version of Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton and produced by Disney. Gone is any hint of the Tenniel original. The Kutsche caterpillar is a realistic caterpillar in exquisite biological detail.
The Kutsche caterpillar has biologically correct prolegs that are used in a way that a caterpillar might grip the surface of a mushroom. Bright orange spiracles line the segments of the abdomen. Realistic tubercles are on the pro-thorax. Kutsche has the caterpillar grasp the tube of the hookah with its tarsal claws. There is no human-like arm on this caterpillar. The major deviation from caterpillar biology is superimposing the face of Alan Rickman on the head of the caterpillar. The head is a hybrid that still contains a realistic caterpillar frons and caterpillar antennae although the spinneret is replaced by a goatee.
It is clear from the realistic details that Kutsche spent time studying the features of a caterpillar. Advances in animation techniques allow filmmakers to produce animated characters that are far more detailed than in the past. The new films can animate a realistic style of art that incorporates fine details of insects and nature. For most of the broad audience that does not study insects in detail, the “wonders” of nature, become wonders of animation when biologically realistic insect characters are presented with on the big screen.