Disney has a large stable of animated tales in it’s long history. There’s the Disney Princess flicks (Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Mulan), the Animal films (the Jungle Book, Tarzan, Lion King, 101 Dalmatians), and even a CG category (Toy Story, The Robinsons, UP). Then, there’s a film like Alice in Wonderland… which fits no category. In Disney’s original, animated retelling of the classic Lewis Carroll novel, The Mad Hatter has more resemblance to Winnie the Pooh’s Rabbit than Johnny Depp, and yet there’s all the magic and wonder captured some 60 years ago that Tim Burton revived in his new take. …right?
More than sixty years after first gracing theaters, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland has come home to DVD and Blu-ray in the Alice in Wonderland 60th Anniversary Edition. Available since February 1st, this includes a complete reworking of the audio and visuals, particularly in the HD Blu-ray version. Disney has truly taken special care in remastering their films for Blu-ray format, from Snow White, to Fantasia, to Beauty and the Beast, and Alice in Wonderland is yet another key example. Every scene is so richly and boldly colored, hiding any sign of age that you’d think 60 years could bring.
The basic plot is similar to Tim Burton’s re-imagining (a young girl ventures to a magically odd world) though it lacks most all of Burton’s dark-ness. Experts and fans alike have often critiqued the film, fairing poorly as far as “story” goes – lacking the heart-felt style often attributed to Disney films. However, for every nitpick on the overall storytelling, there is a marvelous reaction on the style and imagination Wonderland brings out. Kathryn Beaumont’s Alice is vibrant and alive, interacting with the her adventures down the rabbit hole with a child-like curiosity of amazement. And while the story flow does dip into what feels like multiple segments (or, perhaps aptly, “chapters”), each is so unique and memorable, this film will stick with you forever.
For those of you that have already watched and re-watched hundreds of times over, while we’re sure you’ll be amazed by the rejuvenation of the video and audio, you’ll be blown away by the piles of extras – particularly Through the Keyhole: A Companion’s Guide to Wonderland. It’s a documentary-like style through Disney’s take on the story, complete with experts and animator commentary. The segment takes an in-depth look at Carroll (and Walt Disney, to an extent) and comes complete with so much food-for-though trivia information! This bit alone is worth the price of admission, and is as “must watch” as the film, itself.
* Reflections on Alice featurette
* “Pig and Pepper” Deleted Scene
* Virtual Wonderland Party – Interactive Game
* Adventures in Wonderland – Set Top Game
* “I’m Odd” – Newly discovered Cheshire Cat song + Intro by Kathryn Beaumont
* “Through the Mirror” – Mickey Mouse Animated Short
* Through the Keyhole: A Companion’s Guide to Wonderland – View the movie in this special mode and discover references to the original Lewis Carroll classic with an intro with Kathryn Beaumont.
* Disney View – Watch the movie in this expanded viewing experience with new Disney art in the wings of the screen.
* Painting the Roses Red Game – Help paint the roses red in the Queen’s garden.
* Walt Disney Color TV Introduction (1959) – A never-before-seen color TV intro by Walt
* Reference Footage: Alice and the Doorknob – Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Alice, provides an introduction.
* Pencil Test: Alice Shrinks – Kathryn Beaumont introduction
* Art Gallery (with new design and new images)
* Operation Wonderland (Now in Hi-Def)
* One Hour in Wonderland
* An Alice Comedy: Alice’s Wonderland
* Original theatrical trailers (1951 & 1974)
* Walt Disney TV introduction (1954 & 1964)
* The Fred Waring Show excerpt
* From Wonderland to Neverland: The Evolution of a Song – an entertaining look at how a song originally written for Alice in Wonderland, finally found its home in another Disney favorite, Peter Pan.
* Deleted Storyboard concept: Alice Daydreams in the Park – deleted storyboard sequence set to music
* Original song demos: “Beware the Jabberwock”, “Everthing Has a Useness”, “So They Say”, “Beautiful Soup”, “Dream Caravan”, “If You’ll Believe in Me”