Classics Review: Alice In Wonderland (1951)

After “Cinderella” was released in 1950, Walt Disney worked on his next project adapting Lewis Carroll’s book titled, “Alice In Wonderland.”

Alice In Wonderland was released in 1951.(exact same Jack In The Box was fully established) At the time of its release, the film was a disappointment. Overtime, it earned critical acclaim officially established as one of Disney’s best animated films. In 2010, Tim Burton remade it starring Johnny Depp & Mia Wasikowska. Even though it’s a sequel set after the original despite sharing the same title which doesn’t make a lick of sense. A sequel to both films titled “Alice Through The Looking Glass” came out in 2016.

“Raya And The Last Dragon” is officially out in theaters and streaming on Disney Plus. “Encanto” will be released this Thanksgiving. An upcoming live action prequel to “101 Dalmatians” titled, “Cruella” starring Emma Stone (one of my favorite actresses) will be released in theaters and will also stream on Disney Plus.

I don’t care if SPOILERS are listed. We all heard the story countless times in parodies, homages video games (most notably Kingdom Hearts) and memes. Does the animated classic still holds up? Let’s find out shall we?

Beautiful & Ugly Aspects

Beautiful: Animation stills holds up for a movie that came out in 1951. It’s unique look brings a few elements to life including character models, fluid movement, environmental locations etc.

Near the five minute mark, The White Rabbit appears tying to run back to Wonderland. Unlike “Cinderella,” “Lady And The Tramp” & “Sleeping Beauty,” Alice In Wonderland immediately kickstarts the plot forward without relying on padding unnecessary scenes.

Pacing is fast giving you more insight from one scene to another.

Unlike Tim Burton’s so-called “remake,” Disney stayed true to the source material relying on substance not style. Something Tim lacked as a dignified filmmaker who should know better. “Sleepy Hollow” is considered a legit remake. “Dumbo” however, is a misfire.

Characters are unforgettable. Especially The White Rabbit who’s my favorite. By the way, he’s voiced by Bill Thompson. Known as the voice Droopy & Captain Hook’s sidekick Smee from “Peter Pan.” The Rabbit is funny as heck he gets Bonus Points for making me laugh so hard. Sorry Michael Sheen, you can’t beat the original.

The majority of the film focuses on Alice encountering residents of Wonderland and sorts of weird things as she tries to get back home. Sounds similar to “The Wizard Of Oz.” Probably a coincidence. Basically described as stoner going on a trip. The more he/she smokes, the more randomness ensues. So remember kids, smoking is bad for your lungs and your teeth. They can cause cancer.

According to Jonathan Nolan (Christopher Nolan’s younger brother) & Lisa Joy, Evan Rachel Wood’s character Dolores from “HBO’s Westworld” is based on Alice. Evan stated Alice In Wonderland is one of her favorites movies growing up.

I’m gonna give this movie credit as an inspiration for “The Matrix.” Neo’s journey is similar to Alice.

Is it me or does a walrus resembles the late Wilford Brimley?

The Queen Of Hearts shouts her signature phrase “Of with her head!”

The Smoking Caterpillar sounds an awful lot like Ringo Starr.

My favorite part is Mad Hatter fixing The White Rabbit’s watch. In the words of one of the aliens from “Galaxy Quest.” “And it exploded.’

Only good song I liked is Mad Hatter’s tea party. At least it didn’t feel like a distraction. The live action 2010 follow up fleshes out Mad Hatter’s friendship with Alice.

After an intense wacky chase, Alice gets back home and earns a happy ending. Until Tim Burton made drastic changes in a bad way.

Ugly: Two Musical Numbers (except Mad Hatter’s song) didn’t connect to the story. I think they’re specifically made to clock in a full length feature. I’ll list some on why I didn’t like em.

The Walrus has a musical number which has nothing to do with the plot whatsoever. It felt like a distraction. A musical number must drive the story forward giving us context about a character’s current predicament. Every song from “La La Land” actually puts every puzzle piece together.

In a dark forest, Alice delivers a monologue about wanting to return home. She starts to cry along with random creatures. Sorry folks, I never cried during a Disney or Pixar movie. Only movies that made me cry are “Logan,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Interstellar,” “Boys Don’t Cry” & Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows.”

The Final Verdict: B, FOR BEAUTY!

Despite tiny issues, Alice In Wonderland stills holds up. It’s my second favorite Disney film from The 50s. I consider “Peter Pan” as the best from the decade. From my previous reviews related to Disney’s animated films from The 50s, I think Cinderella, Lady And The Tramp & Sleeping Beauty are miscalculations. If you wanna know why, feel free to check each one out. If you wanna introduce your kids to the original animated version of Alice In Wonderland, I highly recommend it.

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