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Alice in Wonderland: Special Un-Anniversary Edition DVD Review

Alice in Wonderland (1951) movie poster Alice in Wonderland

Theatrical Release: July 28, 1951 / Running Time: 75 Minutes / Rating: G

Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske / Writers: Winston Hibler, Ted Sears, Bill Peet, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta, William Cottrell, Dick Kelsey, Joe Grant, Dick Huemer, Del Connell, Tom Oreb, John Walbridge (story); Lewis Carroll (novels)

Voice Cast: Kathyrn Beaumont (Alice), Ed Wynn (Mad Hatter), Richard Hayden (Caterpillar), Sterling Holloway (Cheshire Cat), Jerry Colonna (March Hare), Verna Felton (Queen of Harts), Pat O'Malley (Tweedledee, Tweedledum, The Walrus, The Carpenter), Bill Thompson (White Rabbit, Dodo), Heather Angel (Alice's Sister), Joseph Kearns (Doorknob), Larry Grey (Bill), Queenie Leonard (Bird in the Tree), Dink Trout (King of Hearts), Doris Lloyd (The Rose), James MacDonald (Dormouse), The Mellomen (Cards)

Songs: "Alice in Wonderland," "In a World of My Own," "I'm Late," "The Sailor's Hornpipe," "The Caucus Race," "How D'Ye Do and Shake Hands," "The Walrus and the Carpenter," "Old Father William," "We'll Smoke the Blighter Out," "All in the Golden Afternoon," "A-E-I-O-U (The Caterpillar Song)," "'Twas Brillig," "The Unbirthday Song," "Very Good Advice," "Painting the Roses Red"

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By Kelvin Cedeno

There are many popular works of fiction considered unfilmable by devoted fans. Lewis Carroll's surreal nonsensical tales of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass have fallen into that category by most critics due to their internal logic, constant wordplay, and bizarre episodic structure. Yet, this hasn't stopped filmmakers from dipping into the treacle well and adapting these classic works. What is it about both novels that keeps directors and screenwriters coming back to them in the face of unworkable elements? Why has film been treated to at least one retelling of these stories every decade (and often more)?

Walt Disney was obviously drawn to these stories. The Alice Comedies, related to Carroll's texts in the girl protagonist's name and that a world of anthropomorphic animals surrounded her, were his first successes in animation. Alice in Wonderland was meant to be his first full-length film, inserting actress Mary Pickford into an animated world similar to his earlier short series. Paramount's much-publicized all-star version in 1933 put an end to that Pickford plan, but that didn't stop Disney from returning to the source material.
The 1936 Mickey Mouse short Thru the Mirror combined elements of both Wonderland and Looking Glass to form a charming new experience. Disney was encouraged by others to make a full-length animated feature based directly off Carroll's works, and after seemingly endless drafts and approaches, his Alice in Wonderland became a reality in 1951.

The story follows the titular heroine (voiced by Kathryn Beaumont) on a hot summer day as she listens to her sister (Heather Angel) give a history lecture. Her inherent boredom is suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a white rabbit (Bill Thompson) who not only speaks, but wears a waistcoat and carries a pocket watch. Intrigued, Alice follows him down his rabbit hole and falls into the madcap world of Wonderland. Here, she meets a wide variety of odd characters. Among them are squabbling twin brothers Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Pat O'Malley), a haughty caterpillar (Richard Haydn), a mischievous Cheshire Cat (Sterling Holloway) who can disappear at will, and the nutty Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn), March Hare (Jerry Colonna), and Dormouse (James MacDonald) who are all celebrating their unbirthdays. Throughout all these episodes, Alice's size keeps changing by means of the food and drink provided to her. Eventually she finds herself in the company of the boisterous Queen of Hearts (Verna Felton), a tyrant with an affinity for decapitations. Alice tries her best to make it home while still maintaining both her size and her head.

Wonderland's magical enlarging food comes to Alice's aid for once during the heat of her court trial. The famously late White Rabbit scurries away from an intrigued Alice.

Readers of this site may be familiar with my standard approach to reviewing. I do my best to distance myself from my own expectations and baggage, trying to see what the filmmakers in question have intended and how they've executed those goals. However, film is art, and true art is relative. Critics are audience members, too, and their opinions are no more definitive statements of fact than those of a child who's seen the same picture. There are times when a story is so deeply personal that to take an aloof approach would simply not do it justice. Such is the case with me and Alice in Wonderland.

It is the Disney version of the tale that the general public is most familiar with, and it has introduced many, myself included, to this zany world of whimsy. Based on my own experiences with the tales, I can come up with several theories why filmmakers keep returning to them. What most appeals to me is how purely fantastical they are. The fantasy genre is filled with stories that work hard to set a foundation and establish their own set of rules. At their heart, they possess fundamental truths about the human condition and are often careful to point out that life isn't much easier or grander due to magical elements.
The Alice stories don't even come close to fitting that mold. They regularly contradict themselves, and just when the audience thinks they've figured out how things work, the stories take a sharp turn into randomness and unpredictability. It's almost liberating to have a free-for-all fantasy world that isn't bound to the constraints of reality.

Of all the motion picture adaptations that have tried to capture that essence, Disney's animated version has come the closest. Purists have balked at the film, claiming it destroyed Carroll's work and made it too sugary and mainstream. While I admit that many subconscious layers and inside jokes from the novels get lost in translation, this adaptation is hardly saccharine or sanitized. On the contrary, the criticisms regularly thrown at it are that it's too cold and too strange. It's easy not to be envious of the task Walt Disney had before him. He had to both create something new audiences could relate to while at the same time appease book loyalists. I feel that, for the most part, he succeeded on both accounts.

The Disney film was what made me want to read Carroll's original novels to begin with. Seeing a world so fully removed from reality fascinated me and stimulated my imagination. It dared me to not feel complacent with my surroundings or take everything at face value, instead encouraging me to dream of what could be. Any film that can inspire such feelings from someone previously unfamiliar with the source material has obviously done something right. Having since read both Alice books numerous times throughout the years and returned to Disney's interpretation often, I still find myself impressed with how much of the film works. Most filmmakers are so afraid of tampering with a classic that they focus too much on the literal side of adapting and often lose sight of the characterizations and tone. Disney follows the events well enough to be recognizable, but isn't afraid to modify portions to suit the film medium and put its own stamp on things.

The Cheshire Cat acts as a surreal and coy guide for the bewildered Alice. As the Mad Hatter and the March Hare celebrate their unbirthdays, the Dormouse (hidden inside the yellow tea pot) doesn't seem to mind sharing a home with scalding hot tea.

This picture contains some of the most memorable cast of characters in the Disney canon. They're all true to their Carrollian essence, but the voice actors and animators make sure that these are personas who can exist independently of the source material. It's become a common practice to hire well-known celebrities as voice actors in animated films. Thanks to the nearly 60 years that have passed by since its release, it's easy to forget that Alice in Wonderland may just have been the first time this was put into practice. Most of the voice actors were popular with the general public either via radio, television, or theater. Unlike most modern animated features, though, all of these performers fit their roles so perfectly that one doesn't think of the actor.

The three standout examples are Sterling Holloway's Cheshire Cat, Ed Wynn's Mad Hatter, and Jerry Colonna's March Hare. Each gives his character a different sense of madness that can be either hilarious or unsettling. The Cheshire Cat is deceptively suave and approachable, but his vanishing act mingled with his incessant mind games make him a bit eerie. The Mad Hatter and the March Hare both compliment each other in that they offer more apparent forms of insanity, albeit in different ways. The Hatter is more optimistic and silly whereas the Hare is more cynical and abrasive. Color choices (cool colors for the Hatter, warm for the Hare) also serve to contrast the two while suiting their characteristics. Placed back to back, the Cheshire Cat scene and the mad tea party are two of the film's most memorable sequences, and supervising animator Ward Kimball infuses them with striking mannerisms and a great deal of liveliness.

Alice in Wonderland has been rightfully deemed a technical marvel, but it's also been criticized for its episodic nature. The lack of a cohesive narrative, something that stems from Carroll's books, is both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, none of the characters overstay their welcome, and Alice is always whisked away to another mini adventure before the audience can become restless. On the down side, the lack of any clear goal other than to catch the rabbit and go home means that the audience has nothing huge to invest in. We, like Alice, can stand back in awe at the fantasy and laugh at the antics, but there's never a sense that we're heading anywhere or that we even care for Alice's well-being. This becomes particularly troubling during the Tulgey Wood scene.

At this point, Alice finds herself deep in Wonderland and begins to worry about getting home. Rather than having a couple of standout characters like the previous segments, the sequence throws many zany and whimsical creatures Alice's way that don't speak. Because of this, the scene drags, especially coming so late in the film. The filmmakers throw in the song "Very Good Advice" in which Alice laments her choices, but it feels decidedly tacked on. A better approach would've been to spread the little vignettes found here throughout the film, linking the larger episodes together. Alice's last-minute concern over going home could've been introduced early on and combined with her goal of catching the White Rabbit. That goal, as it stands in the final film, doesn't make a great deal of sense once she's in Wonderland. Why is she so concerned over finding the rabbit when everything around her is several times more strange and vying for her attention? By having her seek directions home from the White Rabbit and slowly increasing her anxiety, the connective tissue would have been that much more resonant with the audience.

The Queen of Hearts aims her first shot in a rigged croquet game while her card soldiers look on. The Caterpillar eyes Alice warily as he and his smoke rings demand to know who she is.

Even as someone who can clearly see some of the creakier narrative troubles, I find little to complain about in Disney's Alice in Wonderland. I have never and will never be a book purist when it comes to cinematic adaptations. As long as a film can capture the core essence of its source text and work as a standalone picture, plot and dialogue fidelity can be dismissed. If we're going to focus on literal faithfulness, we should keep in mind that for a Disney adaptation, Alice features more of its source's dialogue and plot mechanics than perhaps any other of the studio's movies, save for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

As a film, 1951's Alice stands as a triumph in artistry. The colorful, surreal animation is pure eye candy far ahead of its time. The songs are chipper, memorable, and have an interesting way of blending with spoken dialogue unlike other movie musicals.
Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland
The voice acting is among the best ever heard in an animated film. I can sit back and acknowledge that Alice in Wonderland may not be everyone's cup of tea, but that may be for the better. Sometimes in trying to please everyone, a motion picture can end up pleasing no one. If you're like me and enjoy high-end, whimsical fantasy and witty humor, then I have absolutely no reservations in recommending this brilliant exercise of the imagination.

This two-disc Special Un-Anniversary Edition marks the third DVD release for Alice in Wonderland. It was first released in 2000 as part of the Gold Classic Collection, a disc that included the vintage "Operation Wonderland" featurette, two sing-along songs, a storybook narrated by actress Kathryn Beaumont, a trivia game, and the 1974 re-release trailer. In 2004, the film was reissued in a two-disc Masterpiece Edition that boasted a new restoration and many archival supplements from the laserdisc that are replicated here. It also added new-to-DVD features by means of two deleted songs hosted by Beaumont and some kiddie games. Recently, as a means of cross-promotion with Tim Burton's blockbuster filming, Disney released the film again in the coyly-named Un-Anniversary Edition. How does it stack up to previous editions? Read on to find out.

Buy Alice in Wonderland: Special Un-Anniversary Edition DVD from Amazon.com DVD Details

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio (Fullscreen)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish), Dolby Mono (English)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish;
Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: March 30, 2010
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s)
Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Black Dual Amaray Keepcase in Embossed Holographic Cardboard Slipcover
Previously Released as Gold Collection DVD and Masterpiece Edition DVD

VIDEO and AUDIO

The lavish restoration effort given to the film in 2004 is replicated here and maintains the 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Startlingly different from the 2000 disc, the Lowry-restored image is remarkably clean and sharp. The vivid color palette of Wonderland is brought to full effect here, though there is an occasional odd instance where Alice's hair and lipstick are too saturated. Without having the Gold Classic disc as a frame of reference anymore, it's hard to determine whether these are ink and paint errors or restoration ones. Either way, they're very minor. Compression artifacts are kept to a bare minimum thanks to the brief running time, and while the image has been scrubbed clean, close inspection shows fine film grain in certain portions. It's a beautiful transfer and undoubtedly the best the film has ever looked.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track from the previous release is also carried over. There's less to really remark on here since we're dealing with a remixed mono track. Dialogue sounds reasonably intelligible given its age, and it remains firmly front and center at all times. The same goes for sound effects, which are probably a little distinctive. The rest of the sound field is devoted to the musical score which offers a broad experience, but no particular surround usage. It's essentially a very clean, widespread mono track, and with that in mind, the track pleases. For purists, the original, unmixed mono is also included.

Kathryn Beaumont Levine fondly remembers working with actor Ed Wynn in the all-new featurette "Reflections on Alice." As the Duchess tries to hush up her baby, her cook flings pots and pans across the room in the newly-recreated deleted scene "Pig and Pepper."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

This Special Un-Anniversary Edition carries over most of the supplements from the Masterpiece Edition while adding two new ones. The first of these is the retrospective featurette "Reflections on Alice" (13:25) located on Disc One. Among the participants are historians Charles Solomon, Stacia Martin, Paula Sigman, John Canemaker, and Lella F. Smith; animators Eric Goldberg, Andreas Deja, and Frank Thomas; storyboard artist Floyd Norman, Alice authority Matt Crandall, actress Kathryn Beaumont-Levine, and senior vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering Tony Baxter.
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They discuss the inspiration for the original novels, Walt's fascination with the tales and the various versions that were worked on beforehand. They also touch upon Mary Blair's signature style and the use of live-action reference footage. A retrospective on the making of the film was something the 2004 release was sorely lacking in, so this piece comes as a breath of fresh air. Lots of insightful information is divulged, and the only caveat is the brief running time.

The next and last new feature is the deleted scene "Pig and Pepper" (3:11), introduced by directors John Musker and Ron Clements (who recently helmed The Princess and the Frog, among several other Disney films). The two present a story reel by artist David Hall depicting the Duchess, her cook, and her noisy baby. The filmmakers re-enact the dialogue as the storyboards are presented. Those who've read the first Alice novel will be familiar with this segment since it's nearly word-for-word from the source, though the beginning features some creative license more in-tune with the final film. It's an interesting look at what could've been.

The Virtual Wonderland Party isn't so much virtual as it is watching Alice, the Mad Hatter, and three unnamed children marvel at an unbirthday cake. The "Adventures in Wonderland" set-top game requires you to select which of these iconic props best matches the description given to you. A storyboard of Alice and the Cheshire Cat is one of several pieces of artwork shown during the  deleted song "I'm Odd."

The recycled DVD features begin with a "Virtual Wonderland Party" (27:06). Despite sounding like a computer animated game, this is more or less a children's television show. Disney cast members portraying Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit are joined by three children as they engage in a mad tea party. It encourages audience participation in activities like "Mad Hatter Says" (a variant on Simon Says), sing-and-dance-alongs, and brief mini-games requiring remote control use. The segments can either be watched consecutively or accessed individually by selecting tea pots scattered throughout the tea table. It's hokey to be sure, but the cast members do a commendable job at portraying their characters. Small children will probably get enjoyment out of this.

"Adventures in Wonderland" is a set-top game hosted by the Cheshire Cat (voiced here by Jim Cummings). It consists of three levels: choosing the item that best correlates with its description, matching up pairs of cards, and selecting the right cookie in order to shrink and fit through the door. The first two are quite easy, through the third is obnoxious since it's just a guessing game. Completion of the game results in a worn-out clip of the song "In a World of My Own." It's a rudimentary activity with a pointless prize.

More substantial is the deleted Cheshire Cat song, "I'm Odd" (3:56). Actress Kathryn Beaumont (now known as Kathryn B. Levine) gives a history of the many songs written for the film and explains how "I'm Odd" ended up getting dropped in favor of "'Twas Brillig." After this, Jim Cummings performs the number as film clips and concept art plays. It's a valuable addition, especially with the informative introduction.

After going "Thru the Mirror," Mickey performs a memorable routine with two glove dancers. Walt Disney and Kathryn Beaumont marvel at the Magic Mirror's ability to become a television in the 1950 Christmas special "One Hour in Wonderland." Alice (Virginia Davis) waves at her adoring fans in the 1923 Alice Comedy "Alice's Wonderland."

Disc One concludes with the 1936 Mickey Mouse short Thru the Mirror (8:49). Here, Disney's corporate icon goes through the looking glass and finds himself in a version of his home where all the furniture and appliances are personified. There's virtually no dialogue, allowing the visuals and music to carry itself. It's filled with many clever visual gags and stands as one of the best shorts the character has starred in.

The rest of the features are on Disc Two and first appeared on the 1995 Archive Collection laserdisc, starting with the TV special "One Hour in Wonderland" (59:22). Originally aired Christmas Day 1950, this marked the first time Walt and his characters appeared on television. The show's scenario is that Alice voice actress Kathryn Beaumont is hosting a party at the studio and has invited people such as ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and actor Bobby Driscoll to attend. Walt unveils the magic mirror from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (played here by Hans Conried), who plays various Disney film clips at the guests' request.
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These include portions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Song of the South, the Mickey Mouse short Clock Cleaners, the Pluto short Bone Trouble, and a then-unfinished Alice in Wonderland. It's a fascinating look at early film promotion, and Walt's obvious showmanship talent makes this entertaining as well. Note that while the special itself is in black and white, the film clips were replaced with color ones for the laserdisc in order to stay true to the source of each film presented.

Next is the 1923 silent film Alice's Wonderland (8:06), the first of many short subjects known as the Alice Comedies. Here, young actress Virginia Davis is given a tour of an animation studio by none other than a 21-year old Walt Disney. Thrilled by her experiences, she later dreams of entering her own cartoon land where she's adored by many. It admittedly works better as an historical curiosity than as true entertainment, but it's a worthwhile inclusion nonetheless. Note that for Disney's 75th anniversary, this short was given a thorough restoration and brought back to its original running time thanks to archivist Scott MacQueen and composer Alexander Rannie. While that version, running 4 minutes longer, appeared on the Walt Disney Treasures Disney Rarities set, the cut version is what's presented here.

His inviting smile may hide it, but Walt Disney is introducing one of his least favorite films of his career before this 1964 airing of "Alice in Wonderland." "Operation Wonderland" features Ed Wynn pouring tea through his ear and out his sleeve in live-action reference footage, the audio of which ended up being used in the feature film itself. Kathryn Beaumont and Sterling Holloway reprise their roles as Alice and the Cheshire Cat in this excerpt from "The Fred Waring Show."

Two theatrical trailers follow, one for the original 1951 release (2:02), and another for a 1970s re-release (1:53). Oddly, the Gold Collection disc contained a different 1974 trailer that fails to appear here, but these two are still more than welcome.

Two Walt Disney TV introductions for the film are also presented: one from 1954 (1:21) and another almost verbatim from 1964 (1:09). Walt was very vocal about his displeasure at the final product, but he hides it well in these cheery intros. It's especially interesting to hear him mention the titles Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin not knowing that they'd become two of his studio's most famous films decades later.

"Operation Wonderland" (11:08) is an excerpt from an episode of "Ford Star Revue" originally aired June 14, 1951. In it, opera singer James Melton narrates a tour of the Disney studio for his daughter Margot. Production processes from concept art and storyboards all the way through music and effects are breezed through, as several crew members along with Walt turn up to explain each step. Such knowledge is commonplace today thanks to film documentaries, but it's fascinating to see the animation process performed and described on a picture this old. Note that the Corey Burton introduction to this from the Gold Collection disc is gone here.

Another television show excerpt follows, this from the March 18, 1951 episode of "The Fred Waring Show" (30:56). The host introduces a live audience to songs from Alice, and many costumed performers bring these to life amidst Mary Blair-designed sets. Two of the film's original voice actors (Kathryn Beaumont and Sterling Holloway) reprise their roles as Alice and the Cheshire Cat, respectively. While it falls on the corny side of the spectrum, and Waring looks increasingly uncomfortable, that doesn't render it any less valuable or enjoyable.

As the deleted song "Beyond the Laughing the Sky" plays, we're shown a video gallery of concept artwork in "From Wonderland to Neverland: The Evolution of a Song". "Alice Daydreams in the Park" and imagines the rolling clouds above her are fluffy white lambs in this deleted opening scene. This vivid concept art of Alice and the White Rabbit by Mary Blair, seen in Disc 2's art gallery, was later turned into a mini maquette set by Electric Tiki.

A section labeled Abandoned Content opens up to three selections. The first of these is "From Wonderland to Never Land: The Evolution of a Song" (6:49). As with "I'm Odd",
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Beaumont returns to introduce a deleted song, this one titled "Beyond the Laughing Sky." She explains how this wistful number meant to be sung by Alice in the film's opening was replaced with "In a World of My Own" and later had its melody used in "The Second Star to the Right" from Peter Pan. Two demos of the original song follow as concept art is displayed. While the number works beautifully as Peter Pan's opening credits music, it probably would've been more beneficiary in giving Alice the character an emotional core. Both it and the intro are interesting.

A deleted storyboard concept titled "Alice Daydreams in the Park" (2:02) is next. Like the previous extra, this is an alternate version of the opening scene. Here, Alice imagines all of the natural things around her personified as animals and people. While more interesting things were surely cut out, it's still nice to see, especially what seems to be a reference to the Silly Symphonies short Flowers and Trees.

Abandoned Content ends with six original song demos. These include "Beware the Jabberwock" (2:15), "Everything Has a Useness" (1:18), "So They Say" (1:54), "Beautiful Soup" (1:27), "Dream Caravan" (2:33), "If You'll Believe in Me" (3:01). What's makes these particularly worthwhile is that some were intended for characters later cut out such as the Mock Turle (who later appeared with Alice in a Jell-O commercial), the Lion, and the Unicorn. Most of them are just as catchy as what ended up in the final film and are a treat to hear.

The set concludes with an art gallery of 59 stills. It holds items such as concept art, backgrounds, model sheets, production photos, and posters. What's here is of great value, particularly Mary Blair's colorful artwork, but the amount of stills is disappointingly small.

In terms of difference between Alice's DVD releases, this Un-Anniversary Edition drops the two sing-alongs found on both the 2000 and 2004 discs. All of the laserdisc extras that failed to appear on those editions are also missing here. They include a music & effects track, text on the history of Alice, John Tenniel's original book illustrations, storyboarded versions from 1939 and 1943, a breakdown of the final sequence, 18 galleries (a couple of stills from each section appear here), 25 additional song demos, three dialogue outtake sequences, and two BBC radio broadcasts. It's a shame that these remain missing, and one can only hope they'll appear on the inevitable Blu-ray release, a marketing opportunity oddly and conspicuously missed here.

Disc One's main menu takes place inside the rabbit hole with background objects slowly floating up and down. Disc Two's main menu shows concept art of the White Rabbit as seen in the opening credits.

Disc One opens with trailers for Disney Blu-ray, Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition, and Tangled/Rapunzel/That-Seemingly-Unnamed-Film-with-the-Tower-in-It, followed by an anti-smoking promo (an aspect of Alice that apparently now merits a PG rating if Burton's classification is anything to go by). Additional previews can be found on the Sneak Peeks menu for Tinker Bell-approved genuine treasure, Disney Movie Rewards, Old Dogs, My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Super Duper Super Sleuths, James and the Giant Peach: Special Edition,


The Black Cauldron: Special Edition, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, and Disney Parks. That's right, all these ads and none for Burton's Alice.

The menus for the most part replicate the Masterpiece Edition's. Disc One's rabbit hole theme has been slightly altered for this release. The main menu features some minor animation in the form of floating and falling objects, but the animated menu transitions have been dropped. The Sneak Peeks and Set Up menus have been changed from their original rabbit hole theme to the Tweedles' forest and the Queen's court room, respectively. The animation from the bonus features menu has been dropped, leaving the fireplace now static. The cursor retains a hearts and diamonds motif.

Disc Two features concept art of the opening title designs, although now all the listings are one page instead of two. Because of this, the brief descriptions under each supplement have been removed except for the one accompanying "The Fred Waring Show". The trailer listings have been changed from "1951 Theatrical Trailer" and "1974 Theatrical Trailer" to simply Theatrical Trailers #1 and #2. "Deleted Materials" has been renamed "Abandoned Content". Finally, a set up menu for subtitles has been added to this disc, although unlike those added on Disc One, this matches the rest. The disc's cursors retain a motif of spades and clubs.

The 2004 Masterpiece Edition featured full-color artwork and an insert containing a grid of all the bonus features. Both of these go missing here, with the discs now sporting the boring gray surface Disney's adopted for DVDs of late. The discs come in a dual black Amaray case which is packaged in an embossed, holographic slipcover. The only inserts are a Disney Movie Rewards code (which simultaneously enters you to win an Alice-themed playhouse) and a pamphlet for Disney Blu-ray.

Alice imagines a world of her own where flowers could talk, though you know what they say about being careful what you wish for... Surprised at how ornately decorated her surroundings are, Alice slowly falls down the rabbit hole.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I find Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland no less enchanting than I did as a child. In fact, I find myself appreciating it even more so now.
It contains some of the most striking animation to come from the studio, memorable performances, fun songs, and a highly creative interpretation of Carroll's works. This Special Un-Anniversary Edition DVD doesn't do much to improve upon the Masterpiece Edition. The featurette and deleted scene are actually both excellent additions, but they're only worth double dipping for if you're as avid an Alice fan as I am. The excellent picture and solid sound from the previous release remain the same here, and all of the archival materials return. It's a shame this release couldn't have added more of the missing laserdisc material and come with a concurrently-released Blu-ray. In the meantime, though, for anyone who's never owned any edition of the 1951 Alice, this stands as the best release to date.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com / Buy The Masterpiece Edition DVD

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Related Reviews:
Alice in Wonderland (2010) (Blu-ray + DVD Combo)
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Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities (featuring the Alice comedies) Return to Oz Spirited Away (2001) Coraline
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland Walt Disney Animation Collection: Mickey and the Beanstalk
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Special 2-Disc Collector's Edition)
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Click to read UltimateDisney.com's interview with Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Disney's Alice and Wendy!

Related Pages:
Interview with Kathryn Beaumont (the voice and model for Alice and Peter Pan's Wendy)
Top 100 Disney Songs Countdown (featuring three Alice in Wonderland songs)
Top 30 Disney Villains Countdown (featuring The Queen of Hearts)
Top 50 Disney Heroes & Heroines Countdown (featuring Alice)
Alice in Wonderland Skins Alice in Wonderland Costumes

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Reviewed April 11, 2010.