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Alice in Wonderland (Disney’s)

Released

Latest Home Video

Feb 01, 2011

MPAA Rating:

G


Run Time:

75

Director

Wilfred Jackson

Clyde Geronimi

Hamilton Luske

Cast

Kathryn Beaumont

Ed Wynn

Sterling Holloway

Verna Felton

Studio

Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment

Still shot from the movie: Alice in Wonderland (Disney’s).

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Reviewed by

OverallB-
ViolenceB-
SexA-
LanguageA
Drugs/AlcoholC
Run Time75

Making the Grades

Of all the stories a family filmmaker could have chosen to adapt into a feature, why did Walt Disney pick Alice in Wonderland? Full of offbeat characters like a cryptic cat that vanishes except for his smile, a hookah-pipe smoking caterpillar, an insane milliner with a tea fetish and a maniacal monarch who is execution-obsessed, the tale hardly appears to provide the sorts of ingredients that typically delight children. Nevertheless, this version of Lewis Carroll’s literary work (with a few bits borrowed from Through the Looking Glass) became the emerging entertainment mogul’s fifth full-length animation.

In this telling, young Alice (voice of Kathryn Beaumont) finds her mind drifting instead of closely conforming to a history lesson being read to her by an older sister. Bored by the dates and details of the dreary lecture, she imagines a world free of rules, where nonsense reigns. But her daydreams are interrupted by a White Rabbit (voice of Bill Thompson) with a large pocket watch who is saying something about being late. Full of questions, and feeling his incessant muttering is more interesting than her sister’s droning, Alice decides to investigate. However, when she follows the tardy bunny down his hole, the ensuing adventure just gets “curiouser and curiouser.”

Those familiar with the novel upon which this movie is based will not be surprised by the portrayal of many of the famous elements of the story, like falling down and/or up, as well as growing small and/or large after consuming magical food. Iconic figures such as the twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum (voice of J. Pat O’Malley), the Caterpillar (voice of Richard Hayden), the Mad Hatter (voice of Ed Wynn), the March Hare (Jerry Colonna), the Cheshire Cat (voice of Sterling Holloway) and the Queen of Hearts (voice of Verna Felton) all make appearances along the way.

Yet for youngsters, to whom this production may act as an introduction to Carroll’s writing, these characters may seem more alarming than charming. As Alice wanders through Wonderland, her encounters become increasingly strange and hostile. Pretty flowers quickly turn prickly proving her visit will be no bed of roses, she can’t even get a cup of tea at an un-birthday party and when she starts to cry she’s in danger of drowning in her own tears. Then, after an emotional scene where she confesses to being thoroughly lost and alone, she is directed to look for the way home by consulting the queen of the land. No “Disney Princess” this! Still, no one thinks to warn the searching child that the heartless ruler will undoubtedly order, “Off with her head!”

So why did the inventor of Mickey Mouse dream of animating this whimsical classic? And what accounts for the enduring nature of Lewis Carroll’s book, which has been translated into 125 languages and has never been out of print since its initial publication in 1866? And why, despite its nightmarish feel, has Disney’s adaptation managed to entertain audiences worldwide for decades? (It celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2011.) For me the whole attraction of Alice in Wonderland just gets “curiouser and curiouser.”

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Alice in Wonderland (Disney’s).

When Alice is exploring Wonderland she meets the Cheshire Cat and asks him for directions. He in turn asks her where she wants to go. When she says she doesn’t know, he replies it really doesn’t matter what way she goes if it doesn’t matter where she ends up. How is his answer a good metaphor for life? Why is having a goal an important part of achieving success?

How do Alice’s questions for the Cheshire Cat change after she has determined she wants to go home? What makes Alice decide she has had “enough nonsense”?

Click here to learn more about Lewis Carroll’s highly successful book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Home Video Viewing Alternatives

Here are some ideas for home video titles that are related to Alice in Wonderland (Disney’s).

Alice in Wonderland was Walt Disney’s fifth full-length feature animated film. The first four were Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Bambi. His studio made a live-action version of Alice In Wonderland in 2010, with Tim Burton at the helm.

Kathryn Beaumont not only lent her voice to the character of Alice, but also to Wendy in Disney’s Peter Pan. Ed Wynn, who can be heard as the Mad Hatter in this film, plays a similar character hosting another hilarious tea party in the live-action movie Mary Poppins.

 

Canadian Movie Ratings

BC
SK
Not Rated
AB Not Rated
MB Not Rated
ON Not Rated
QC Not Rated
NB
NS
NL
PE
Not Rated

Canadian Home Video Rating: G

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of Alice in Wonderland (Disney’s)...

Home Video Notes: Disney’s Alice In Wonderland (1951): Two-Disc 60th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD Combo

Release Date: 1 February 2011

-Blu-ray and DVD copies of the movie

- Through the Keyhole: A Companion’s Guide to Wonderland (View the movie in this special mode and discover references to the original Lewis Carroll classic - introduced by the voice of Alice, Kathryn Beaumont.)

- Disney View (Watch the movie in this expanded viewing experience with new Disney art in the wings of the screen.)

- Painting the Roses Red game (Help paint the roses red in the Queen’s garden. Careful, or someone could lose their head.)

- Walt Disney color TV introduction (From 1959 - A never-before-seen color TV intro by Walt)

- Reference Footage: Alice and the Doorknob (Kathryn Beaumont provides an introduction to this newly discovered reference footage of Alice talking to the doorknob)

- Pencil Test: Alice Shrinks (Kathryn Beaumont introduces a newly discovered pencil test of Alice shrinking)

- Reflections on Alice

- Operation Wonderland (now in hi-def)

- "I’m Odd" newly discovered Cheshire Cat song and intro

- Thru the Mirror Mickey Mouse animated short (now in hi-def)

- One-hour in Wonderland

- An Alice Comedy: Alice’s Wonderland

- Original theatrical trailers (1951 & 1974)

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