Alice in Wonderland (Two-Disc Special Un-Anniversary Edition)
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Celebrate a very merry un-anniversary in the whimsical, fun-filled world of Walt Disney's masterwork of animation, music and fantasy -- ALICE IN WONDERLAND SPECIAL UN-ANNIVERSARY EDITION, a 2-disc set complete with never-before-seen bonus features. Follow Alice as she chases the White Rabbit on a magical journey into the fantastical world of Wonderland. It's a topsy-turvy place that gets "curiouser and curiouser" as Alice's madcap adventures introduce her to some truly unforgettable characters -- the Mad Hatter, March Hare, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts and more. Filled with spectacular songs and dazzling animation, ALICE IN WONDERLAND SPECIAL UN-ANNIVERSARY EDITION is a timeless classic your entire family will love.|At one point Walt Disney considered using a combination of live action and animation to tell the story. His plan was to have real actors play Alice and her sister at the introduction and conclusion of the film, with the rest of the film being an animated dream.|The movie took five years to complete and cost $3 million.|At one point, "Brave New World" author Aldous Huxley worked on the script for the movie.|Disney had been thinking about making this movie since 1933, when he considered making a live-action version starring Mary Pickford, then later, Ginger Rogers. He shelved the project after Paramount filmed a version of the story.
Walt Disney seems to have had a special affection for Lewis Carroll's "Alice" stories. "Alice's Wonderland" (1923), a short about a live-action little girl in a cartoon world, led to his first successful series, the "Alice" comedies (collected on Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities--Celebrated Shorts, 1920s -1960s). During the early '30s, he talked about making an animation/live-action feature of "Alice in Wonderland" with Mary Pickford in the title role. But almost two decades would elapse before Disney released his Alice. It's the most uneven of the classic Disney features, juxtaposing brilliant and dull sequences. The Mad Tea Party, the Queen of Hearts' Croquet Game, and Alice's encounters with the Caterpillar and Cheshire Cat fuse the spirit of Carroll's words, the vitality of the polished animation, and the stylized look and brilliant palette of designer Mary Blair. But the song "I Give Myself Very Good Advice" and the unsatisfying adaptation of "The Walrus and Carpenter" bring the story to a halt. Disney's Alice in Wonderland remains a beloved film, and its better moments are truly magical. (Rated G: cartoon violence, some scary moments, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
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Setting aside the feature, which we all know is one of the best adaptations of Lewis Carroll's works (and if not the most accurate, certainly the most "watchable," as it is just dark enough to keep that edge but...well, let me put it this way: have you SEEN another version of "Through the Looking Glass?" I need a stiff drink before getting into that) the real highlight of this disc is the special features.
Two TV introductions by Walt, a 1950's making-of featurette, vintage television programs includin the historic "One Hour in Wonderland" the first Disney TV show, a whole album's worth of demos for songs that were never used, concept art galleries and more. This disc is an essential for anyone, like me, who is in love with Disney animation.
If for no other reason than the "One Hour in Wonderland" show features a clip from "Song of the South." It's worth buying the whole disc just for that, since it's the closest that movie's ever going to come to a DVD release in this lifetime.
Firstly, I don't know why loads of people think this film is cheesy. I know Alice isn't for everyone, but when you look at the other films made based on Children's classics by Disney (eg- Jungle Book, Hunchback of Notre Dame), you'll see it's more faithful than those films to the original. However if you have read the books and haven't seen this film, some characters are missing (eg- Duchess, Mock Turtle, Knave of Hearts, White Knight). This may just think that Disney has ruined this classic forever. They haven't. It's the best adaption I've ever seen.
Although I actually have the PAL version, I suppose the movie is just the same over in North America. The best bits are the Walrus and the Carpenter, the garden of singing flowers and flamingo croquet. And the Mad Tea Party is still the funniest part of a Disney classic. So buy this movie. Wether it's a video tape or DVD.
(I also live near Carroll's birth place!)
The story is relatively true to Carroll's novel, but some things are left out and some things, for the sake of music, have been added. The film creates an entirely new aesthetic, in contrast to John Tenniell's original black and white, pen and ink drawings. Disney's Cheshire cat, White Rabbit, Mad Tea Party, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, caterpillar, and Alice herself have replaced Tenniell's images in the popular imagination.
This is done at the height of the Disney studio's conventional animation technique, released between Cinderella and Peter Pan. At the time, the technique was vastly superior to TV animation, except for the shorts which began as material for the big screen. I watched this film a few days ago, after buying the DVD, and my impression is that the animation is almost as good as Disney's best, but it seems to lack the subtitles I see in Bambi or Fantasia.
But, after 64 years, the film holds its own and charms me one more time. This may be the best Alice worth buying, even if you could find the older ones on DVD or even tape.
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