Alice In Wonderland (1951)

"Very Good"

Alice In Wonderland (1951) Review


It's a little sad to think that many kids today know Alice in Wonderland only from its references in The Matrix.

Good news then that kids can see the definitive film version of the classic Lewis Carroll story, Disney's animated 1951 version. For the uninitiated, this musical rendition takes young Alice on a whirlwind ride down a rabbit hole and into a surreal fantasy land where cats vanish, hares have intense schedules, and the world is ruled by a playing card. Remarkably, Alice takes all this in stride; whether potions shrink her or make her grow uncontrollably, she doesn't seem to mind much. It's not until that Queen of Hearts shows up that things start to get dicey... what with the "Off with her head!" and all.

It's not terribly important that some of Wonderland's vignettes are short of genius. After three or four minutes, Alice is off to a new and virtually unrelated adventure (and song). There's simply not enough time to get bored with the occasional boring musical number or iffy character. The animation is for the most part very good: Alice is beautifully drawn, but many of the creatures have a last-second finish to them. Much of the movie feels like it's working up to the big finish in the land of the playing cards, which is nothing special by today's standards, but which looks pretty good for 1951.

Disney's trippiest film is a breezy one, just 75 minutes long, ensuring that even the most ADD-addled kid can probably muddle through it. Newly released on DVD, this two-disc affair adds a few bonus features for kids (a virtual tea party with the Mad Hatter... is that a good idea?) and a couple of uncovered extras like an extra song from the Cheshire Cat called "I'm Odd" (plus sinppets of the 30-some other songs written for the film but which were never used) and concept storyboard sketches. Nostalgia fans will enjoy the 1950 TV show hosted by a live-action Alice, plus a vintage 1923 short, a blend of live action and animation called Alice's Wonderland.

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Facts and Figures

Genre: Kids/Family

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske

Producer:

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