Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Alice in Wonderland is a 1951 American animated musical fantasy-comedy film produced by Walt Disney Productions.
It was based on the Alice books by Lewis Carroll. The 13th release of Disney's animated features, the film premiered in London on July 26, 1951, and in New York City on July 28, 1951.
A restless young British girl, falls down a rabbit hole, she enters a magical world. There she encounters an odd assortment of characters, including the grinning Cheshire Cat (Sterling Holloway) and the goofy Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn). When Alice ends up in the court of the tyrannical Queen of Hearts (Verna Felton), she must stay on the ruler's good side -- or risk losing her head.
Why It Rocks
- Beautiful animation that still holds up really well.
- The visuals in Wonderland are amazing as they are very trippy and surreal.
- The film is ahead of it's time in that said visuals would foreshadow the Counterculture era the following decade and psychedelic culture in general.
- Superb storyline.
- It's relatively faithful to the book even if it does borrow some elements from it's sequel book.
- Great performances, especially Kathryn Beaumont in both voiceover and rotoscoping.
- Unlike most of Disney's previous and following animated feature films, it's not that Americanized because it retains England as the setting and many of the characters keep their nationalities and are played by English actors including the title character.
- Alice is the cutest character in that unlike most other Disney female characters (especially the Disney Princesses), she is independent, not needing a love interest or male character of any other kind and able to stand up for herself as well as being curious.
- Alice's design is adorable. Even her iconic outfit was extremely cute.
- The supporting characters are very interesting and entertaining in their own special ways such as The White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter, March Hare, Cheshire Cat, Tweedledee, and Tweedledum.
- The Queen of Hearts is a hilarious villain.
- Excellent songs, especially In a World of My Own and The Unbirthday Song.
- It is one of the few Disney films that did not get a direct-to-video sequel that would've ruined the creative integrity of the original (except for the 2010 live action film).
- Alice can be quite helpless sometimes even though this isn't overplayed.
- Disney could've made an adaptation of it's sequel book whenever they had the chance.
- Because it tries to combine both books in one, a few characters got cut like the Griffin and the Mock Turtle.
- There was supposed to be a scene involving the Jabberwock, but it was cut for "being too scary", which is kind of ridiculous considering Disney's previous movies had arguably scarier imagery.
- When first released, it was panned by critics, particularly those from the original book's native United Kingdom and literary ones as well as fans of Carroll who criticized Disney for "Americanizing a great work of English literature", was a disappointment at the box office, and was never re-released theatrically in Walt Disney's lifetime.
- The scene involving the Caterpillar smoking a hookah can be inappropriate for children.
The film was considered a flop on its initial release, leading to Walt Disney showing it on television as one of the first episodes of his TV series Disneyland. It proved to be very successful on television, especially during the psychedelic era. It was eventually re-released in theaters which proved to be massively successful. The film became even more successful through merchandising and subsequent home video releases.
The theme song of the same name has since become a jazz standard. While the film was critically panned on its initial release, it has since been regarded as one of Disney's greatest animated classics, notably one of the biggest cult classics in the animation medium, as well as one of the best film adaptations of Alice.
- Walt Disney first attempted unsuccessfully to adapt Alice into an animated feature film during the 1930s. However, he finally revived the idea in the 1940s. The film was originally intended to be a live-action/animated film; however, Disney decided to make it an all-animated feature in 1946.