Movie - 1951, G, 74 minutes, Disney; IMDb entry
Genre - Animation, Family
Cast - Voices of Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn, Richard Haydn, Sterling Holloway, Jerry Colonna, Verna Felton, J. Pat O'Malley, Bill Thompson
Director - Clyde Geronimi
DVD - 1.33:1 fullscreen (original ratio), Dolby Digital 5.0 (English), 2.0 Mono (Spanish), subtitles - English; single-sided, dual-layered disc; $29.99 SRP, Released 7/4/00

Review by Kelvin Cedeno

New 2-Disc Masterpiece Edition DVD Review

Movie - Alice in Wonderland is really an underrated gem from the Disney company. Often disregarded as the movie Disney when made they were "on something," this movie deserves more praise than it gets. It's an imaginative, colorful story that doesn't follow the Disney cliché one bit except for the happy ending, of course. Alice is a British girl who is home schooled by her proper sister. She finds the world around incredibly boring and dull and wishes she could be in a world where "nothing is what it is." She sees a white rabbit in waistcoat carrying a pocketwatch exclaiming how late he is. Curious, Alice follows him down a rabbit hole and ends up in a bizarre and twisted world. Things so confusing for Alice that she wants to go home, but things get worse once she meets the guillotine obsessed Queen. Alice in Wonderland is one of those movies where everything works-the animation, the music, the voices, everything. It's a very unique film that deserves a better reputation.

Video - Alice in Wonderland is presented on DVD in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio which was how it was created and seen in theaters. The video is practically perfect in every way. The image is razor sharp. Only a few shots are slightly (and I mean slightly) fuzzy. Some light grain appears here and there, but, really, that's not a big deal. The best parts of this transfer are the colors. Alice is a very colorful film, and it shows. There's no bleeding or blooming, the picture is vibrant and alive.

Audio- Alice is presented here in 5.0 Dolby Digital surround sound, but like most of the older Disney films, it's basically broad mono. Still, it's very good mono. Dialouge is crisp and clear and much easier to understand than on VHS. The music and songs spreads out nicely, and the wacky sound effects particularly stand out. The track sounds very good as a whole.

Extras - Being that this is one of the early Gold Collection titles, Alice is rather skimpy on extras. First up is a featurette from 1950 called "Operation Wonderland", which gives a behind the scenes look at the film. It's all very promotional, but a fun featurette nonetheless, plus it's the only behind-the-scenes look we have at all on this disc.
The DVD also has a 16 question trivia game that's ridiculously easy and a DVD Storybook where you can either have Kathryn Beaumont (the voice of Alice) narrate it for you, or read it yourself. Two sing-along songs for "All in the Golden Afternoon" and "The Unbirthday Song" also appear, as well as an incredibly rough and scratchy looking re-issue trailer from the 70's (it really makes you appreciate the transfer). When you play the disc, sneak peeks appear for Toy Story 2, The Tigger Movie, The Little Mermaid 2, and the Gold Classic Collection line. These can only be skipped if you press the chapter skip button multiple times. Annoyingly, the Toy Story 2 trailer is on a separate title, so you'll have to press the Skip button to bypass it, no matter how many times you've already pressed the Skip button.

Closing Thoughts - Alice in Wonderland is an excellent Disney film where everything's top notch. The Gold Collection DVD features excellent picture and good sound. The only problem is in terms of extras; Disney released an awesome Collector's laserdisc in 1995 which was jam-packed and this disc pales in comparison to it. Let's hope they bring it to DVD soon.

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