Alice in Wonderland (1951)

alice in wonderland poster 1951 movie disney
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Fun characters

Not a real adaptation, seems like second rate Disney

Movie Info

Movie Name: Alice in Wonderland

Studio: Walt Disney Productions

Genre(s): Animated/Musical/Family

Release Date(s): July 28, 1951

MPAA Rating: G

alice-in-wonderland-alice

I wish someone would make a better movie about me

Alice pursues a strange White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds herself in Wonderland.  As she continues to try to track down the White Rabbit, Alice grows, shrinks, and deals with the bizarre inhabitants.  Alice gets to meet the Cheshire Cat and celebrate a very merry Unbirthday with the Mad Hatter and his crew.  When Alice is led into a confrontation with the Red Queen, will she be able to keep her head?

Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske, Alice in Wonderland was Walt Disney’s 13th film in the Animated Classic series and followed Disney’s release of Cinderella in 1950.  It combined aspects of both Lewis Carroll’s stories Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  It wasn’t well received and had one of the largest gaps between release and release for all of Disney’s films.  Film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score (losing to An American in Paris).

alice-in-wonderland-tweedle-dee-tweedle-dum

What do you mean we don’t belong in Wonderland?

Alice in Wonderland always seems like a better idea than it is.  The idea of wordplay and characters that are stand-ins for social situations that were current at the time of writing make it a more difficult medium for translation to screen and to be taken in by a younger audience…which leads to a playing-up of the wackiness.

Alice in Wonderland a first in many levels.  It was the first Disney movie to be marketed on television with specials and also was one of the first episodes of Walt Disney’s Disneyland show in 1954.  The movie also became one of Disney’s first movies released on VHS, Betamax, and often forgotten CED Videodisc.

The movie is pretty problematic.  It doesn’t quite have the fun of the other Disney films, not very catchy tunes, and ticked off fans of the book by not being very faithful to the original work by just putting their favorite parts of the story in the movie.  Parts like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are fun and the Walrus and the Carpenter is great, but it isn’t part of Alice in Wonderland.  I wish they had just adapted both stories.  It wouldn’t have taken much more time and would have fleshed out the story and characters better.

alice-in-wonderland-mad-hatter

A very Unbirthday to you!

Alice is visually compelling and falls in with that classic Disney art.  I prefer the art in Alice in Wonderland to more modern movies and definitely to some of Disney’s 1960s to 1980s period.  The character designs owe a lot to the original book illustrations (which are fantastic), but they also have their own Disney touches to them.

Alice in Wonderland isn’t bad, but it just feels like an average cartoon.  Disney has always kind of treated the movie as an average film also which does not help elevate it.  Alice in Wonderland, The Sword in the Stone, and movies like Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, and some of the other Disney wartime films  always were treated like second-hand films.  Disney revisited Alice Wonderland in 2010 with Tim Burton’s big budget movie.  Disney followed Alice in Wonderland with Peter Pan in 1953.

Related Links:

Alice in Wonderland (1966)

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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