Alice in Wonderland (1951)


Director: Clyde Geronomi, Wilfred Jackson & Hamilton Luske
Writer: Lewis Carroll

I actually have no recollection of seeing this in my childhood. I imagine I did, but I don’t remember. That is one of the reasons I am joining up in this marathon. I need to refresh my memory on the greatness of Disney Animation Studios, or at least see if they all hold up. My friend had suggested we watch some of the old Disney films and we started here because it was her favorite as a child. She went home and scoured for Disney films and she found some and so my resources will be deep enough, though I may have to find some of them in other ways. I have talked to a few friends who have said that they have almost all of them which is great.

So the film. Like I said in my mini review it was an interesting experience. It was a kaleidoscope of colors and filled with whimsical escapades. Okay, you caught me, those were phrases taken from the back cover of the VHS, but they do describe it pretty well. It opens on Alice starting to daydream during a History lesson from what I believe to be her sister according to the credits, I may be wrong. My favorite line of the film is delivered here. Alice proclaims, “In my world, the books would be nothing but pictures.” This line describes me and my love of film and I’m sure many others. I don’t like reading books, I love stories though, so film is perfect for me, just as that line is perfect. She daydreams a white rabbit wearing a vest and she follows him down the rabbit hole for what reason other than curiosity I don’t know. She then falls into a world called ‘Wonderland’.

At this point the story kind of goes wherever it wants to. We’ve already been trusted with Alice following a talking rabbit down a hole and falling through an oblivion and ending up in a strange hallway, so in that sense, if you trust it enough, this film doesn’t do anything crazy. I just didn’t trust it enough, and maybe the problem was I am an “adult” now. I always told myself I would always be a child, but one can’t help growing up in some ways. The transitions between scenes and occurrences I just didn’t entirely buy, but it is Alice’s dream, and she can do with it as she pleases. It ends suddenly, but it was a dream, how many dreams end smoothly and timely?

The colors, characters, and songs were wonderful to see and hear. There were some creations that I didn’t like. The Cheshire Cat is quite creepy, and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are a strange pair, though I rather enjoyed their story. And lastly the whole trial with the Queen of Hearts was somewhat disinteresting to me because it was a dream, so it didn’t mean anything. I guess at this point, we, the viewer, aren’t necessarily supposed to know it’s a dream, but knowing that it was the trial carried no stakes to me. Overall, very imaginative and a pleasure to watch, but nothing overly impressive here. Although I did almost talk myself into an extra half star just by typing this review…almost.

**1/2 – Average

1 Comment

  1. I'm still not sold that we are supposed to view it as a dream. It can certainly be viewed that way, but there is enough evidence to support it as a weird fantasy trip that is quite real within the constructed world of the film. I'm actually not sure which way I lean, but I do think the film is rather open ended.


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