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 tweedle dee tweedle dum

Dumb and Dumber…

Alice is having a very peculiar day.  Running after a strange White Rabbit who seems to be late for something, Alice falls down a hole and discovers herself in the topsy-turvy world of Wonderland.  Whether she’s part of a caucus race, growing or shrinking, or having a very merry Un-Birthday party with the Mad Hatter and his crew, Alice wonders if she can get out of the twisted mixed-up world.  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 is a family animated musical.  The film 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.  The movie wasn’t well received but was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

alice in wonderland mad hatters tea party

You don’t look like Johnny Depp

The story of 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 which downgrades the writing and the story that exists.

Alice in Wonderland was 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 does not have the catchiness of some of Disney’s other big films before it.  It doesn’t have the fun of the other Disney film or very catchy tunes, and the changes from the novel runs the risk of alienating fans of Lewis’s style.  Parts like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are fun and the Walrus and the Carpenter is great, but they aren’t part of Alice in Wonderland.  I wish they had just adapted both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  It wouldn’t have taken much more time and would have fleshed out the story and characters better.

alice in wonderland cheshire cat queen of hearts

Playing with the Queen Hearts
Knowin’ it ain’t really smart

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.

Leave A Response