Following in the recent footsteps of “Sleeping
Beauty” and “Beauty and the Beast,” Disney has
released yet another animated classic in a special edition DVD
format. Based on the writings of Lewis Carroll, “Alice in
Wonderland” certainly lives up to its predecessors. Combining
a flawless digital restoration, an abundance of special features
and a truly imaginative story, the two-disc set is a must-have for
any Disney fan.

Mira Levitan

The story revolves around Alice (voiced by Kathryn Beaumont), a
bored and easily confused little girl who ventures into a rabbit
hole and proceeds to get lost in a tiny world. She learns how to
use mushrooms to control her height and meets the bizarre
inhabitants of the land. Among these are the tea-obsessed
Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the entertaining Mad Hatter, the
mischievious Cheshire Cat and the selfish, obnoxious Queen of
Hearts (voiced by Verna Felton). While interacting with these
inventive creations, Alice sings catchy songs —most notably
“The Unbirthday Song”-— has an emotional
breakdown and plays the Queen in a game of croquet.

There is no real progressive story, as Alice just wanders around
from one place to another with no rhyme or reason. The unresolved
conclusion to the short-sided 75 minute tale may have worked in
1951, when the film was originally released, but it may not suffice
for today’s audiences. Still, kids will delight in the clever
characters and the feel-good aura the film creates.

Disc two contains the extras that make this a good buy.
“One Hour in Wonderland,” partnered with a half-hour
excerpt from “The Fred Waring Show” are two fantastic
behind-the-scenes looks at the film and create a true sense of
nostalgia. Original trailers, sing-alongs and virtual tea parties
are only a few of the many bonuses in the set and the hours of fun
will never get old.

Disney has these special edition sets down to a science. Each
one has been remarkable for not only the film, but for the total
packaging and assembly of extras that make each one a classic.
“Alice in Wonderland” continues this trend and is a
great way to brighten any day, even if it is just your
unbirthday.

 

Movie: 4 out of 5 stars.

Picture/Sound: 4 out of 5 stars.

Features: 5 out of 5 stars.

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