Wednesday, March 3, 2010

1951 - ALICE IN WONDERLAND, The Walt Disney version

Walt Disney took a shot at the Lewis Carroll books and put out a version of Alice In Wonderland in 1951.  The film is seventy six minutes long and has some of the best animation that I've seen in a Disney film.  The film is sort of a hit and miss deal.  


A lot of the film seems like an early tryout for a Monty Python series.  Each scene has an absurdist quality to it, but there is really no story to hang it on which kind of makes it hard to sit through the entire film.  Alice wanders from one sequence to another and doesn't seem to have much to do, she's a very boring character who's just there to watch another wild and wacky animation sequence. 

The film has some very good stuff.   The sequence with the Queen of Hearts and her card soldiers is extremely well done and somewhat reminiscent of the "Pink Elephants on Parade" sequence from Dumbo.  The beginning of the film with Alice laying in a flower field singing "In a World of my Own" is also very nice. 

Then the hyper animation action kicks in.  

The Tweedledee and Tweedledum sequence is probably completely unnecessary to the film.  The Mad Hatter tea party has a lot of frenzied animation action going on which is probably a little over the top and got on my nerves. Yes, the caterpillar sequence does have a "getting high" vibe to it.    It's all kind of exhausting to watch after a while.

Alice in Wonderland was apparently not a film that was loved by the critics.  The British critics in particular seemed to hate the film because it didn't follow the two Alice books.  This seems to be an unfair criticism of the film.   I've tried to read the Alice books and they always struck me as very dry, slow and plotless.  The book,  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, contains jokes about mathematics and has caricatures of 1800's British politicians and friends of the author. 

It seems extremely unfair to blame Disney for trying to make the movie accessible to the general public.   I really doubt an audience would be entertained with a film that contains references to positional numeral sequences and inverse mathematical relationships.

Alice in Wonderland is a well made but mediocre film.

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