Alice in Wonderland (1951) Review — Magical Roadtrip

So what would Hunter S. Thompson’s reaction to this world be, anyways?

  • Alice in Wonderland is one of those movies that’s really hard to criticize in a normal fashion because it’s a movie that’s purposefully designed to not have a narrative of any kind – and anyone who’s seen that awful Tim Burton film would know that trying to give it is a recipe for disaster. You’re just supposed to be watching this young girl named Alice exploring this magical world and running into all the strange creatures that Wonderland contains.
  • I’ve personally never read the Lewis Carroll novels, but from what I heard, this adaptation of the first book cut out ALOT from it, which a few novel purists have derided it for me. Personally, I’m glad it did that. Because while I do like the imagination in this film like everyone else, watching that for over an hour can get a bit tiresome for me. Not really a fan of the whole “watching purely for the visuals” state of mood that so many of today’s sakuga fandom seems to be, and while Alice in Wonderland has the advantage of funny characters, we’re not talking Rodney Dangerfield levels of hilarity here.

These two are great on their own, but when they’re together…only Wonderland can handle that combination

  • But they are nice to watch, all the same. Alice is a very reactionary character, but it’s hard not to like her because of how earnest she is, along with her relatable frustrations at being trapped in a world where logic just doesn’t apply. And when you set that against colorful characters like the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the Queen of Hearts, you get some really neat surreal humor out of it.
  • Her interactions with the less popular characters like the Caterpillar, the Dodo, and those Tweedle Twins are not quite as engaging, but they’re still fun for what they are. I really like those smoke effects used by the Caterpillar whenever he says a word that sounds like a letter.
  • The songs I’m not quite familiar with apart from the one sung in the opening credits and that Un-birthday one because of the Sing-A-Long videos I used to own as a kid. I remember them being good when they showed up, but I honestly can’t remember the lyrics for any of them.

Funny how that caterpillar never says the word “pee” in this movie

  • There’s really a whole lot to like about Alice in Wonderland for those seeking visual splendor, and a good amount of people who prefer their stories to be narrative-driven can still find things to like in this movie even to this day. From the bright colors to the crafty methods Alice uses to try to get herself out of trouble, only for the inhabitants to strike back with methods of their own, there is absolutely no way anyone can accuse that title of false advertising.
  • But of course, the real draw that gives the movie an edge is how you can never quite tell if these Wonderland inhabitants are trying to be friendly with Alice or wanting to murder her after their fun is over. I assume that’s from the original book, and a lot of people seem to like that aspect, hence the creation of those Alice games as well as why Mad Hatter is such a popular Batman villain. It really is weird to watch these Disney movies again and discover just how much fucked-up shit slipped by as a kid. I certainly didn’t realize how disturbing those off-screen beheadings were when I was six.

I wonder if it’s possible to sleep that peacefully against a tree, what with all the ants and everything?

  • I definitely don’t like this movie as much as most people do, but Alice in Wonderland is still a classic that holds up after all these years in terms of visual imagination and surprisingly edgy kid stuff. Which makes me wonder, why is that when I google the name, the Tim Burton one is always at the very top of the search bar?

Minor Quips

  • Exactly what does the White Rabbit do anyways?
  • I’ve heard Walt Disney himself didn’t like this movie. Can’t imagine why.

4 responses to “Alice in Wonderland (1951) Review — Magical Roadtrip

  1. I must admit as a kid I enjoyed this but never had a clue that there was actually a story. It was more just watching a series of interesting things happen and then it all just kind of ended. It was only in my teens and after I read the books and rewatched this film that I kind of got that there was actually a story.

  2. Alice in Wonderland always comes across as a poor man’s Spirited Away. But that almost sounds like a compliment these days given the movie was made over 60 years ago.

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