“Alice in Wonderland” DVD, Blu-Ray Review

2/08/2011 Posted by Admin

“Alice in Wonderland”

DVD, Blu-Ray Review

Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske, Written by Lewis Carroll (novel), Winston Hibler, Ted Sears, Bill Peet, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta, William Cottrell, Dick Kelsey, Joe Grant, Dick Huemer, Del Connell, Tom Oreb, and John Walbridge, 75 minutes, Rated G.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

Disney may have sent Tim Burton down the rabbit hole in 2010’s 3D pseudo-sequel, but the mouse house’s animated “Alice in Wonderland” is the studio’s seminal version. Capturing the sublime absurdity of Lewis Carroll’s original work, "Alice" uses Disney’s animators, writers and voice actors to create something altogether playful and wicked.

Now enjoying its 60th anniversary, “Alice in Wonderland” follows a young girl named Alice (Kathryn Beaumont), who, after deciding that a life of homework and reason wasn’t the life for her, chases an anthropomorphic rabbit down a deep hole. When she reaches the bottom, she discovers an illogical world filled with bizarre creatures and plants.

As she travels, she comes across a host of distractions, including the twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum (J. Pat O’Malley); the mischievous Cheshire Cat (Sterling Holloway); the over-caffeinated Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn); and the fascist Queen of Hearts (Verna Felton). However, the further into wonderland she goes, the more dangerous these absurd characters become.

If “Alice in Wonderland” has one flaw, it’s Alice. As Alice wanders from character to character, it becomes clear that she has no bearing on any of the events. She’s a spectator, and in some cases, like at the "Mad Tea-party," her presence is trivial. Despite the rousing location, Alice’s passivity slows the plot.

Disney more than compensates for Alice’s character problems, however. Their animation team makes the diverse creatures of wonderland pop off the screen, while the script keeps the playful wordplay of Carroll lively. Finally, the voice acting of the whole cast is fantastic. They are expressive, impulsive, and, most importantly, funny. Carroll’s story is an exercise in nonsense, and the production team takes this idea to heart.

Disney’s team makes the story’s pitfalls irrelevant. Alice may not be the strongest protagonist, but her time in Wonderland is everything a movie goer could want. The animators, cast and script move things along nicely, with an air of doubt that makes Alice’s adventures slightly dangerous.

Despite the lack of forward motion, Alice’s adventures in wonderland are altogether exciting. After 60 years, "Wonderland" is still worth visiting.

Grade: A-

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