DVD and Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Review: Alice in Wonderland

The definitive edition of this 60-year-old classic

Alice in Wonderland
QUICK THOUGHTS:

Alice in Wonderland is far from the top of my list of favorite classic Disney animated features, but it is a film I enjoy, particularly for how absolutely off the wall it is. This is a film you can look at from a myriad of angles, one being that it's just another Disney animated film with crazy characters and a penchant for occasionally dark material. Another way to look at it is as a psychedelic acid trip. No matter how you view it there will always be a hookah smoking caterpillar and a queen hell bent on chopping people's heads off. Even writing that last sentence makes me want to take a second look and make sure this actually is from Walt Disney.

As for this Blu-ray, it's great. Digitally restored and enhanced with a new DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio mix. The only time I noticed even a glitch in the color was in the king's red robe, which occasionally seemed to get a bit splotchy, but overall this is a superb transfer.

Additionally, Disney offers the DisneyView experience in which the black bars on the side of the fullscreen 1.33:1 presentation are replace with art by Michael Humphries. I am a big supporter of this feature and enjoyed it on both the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio Blu-rays before it.

SUPPLEMENTS:

The Blu-ray also comes with a few brand new extras such as a "Painting the Roses Red" game, a vintage Walt Disney introduction and some reference footage of Alice voice actor Kathryn Beaumont performing the doorknob scene.

The major feature, however, is the feature length "Through the Keyhole: A Companion's Guide to Wonderland", which is simply excellent. This feature plays in time with the film and is an all out feature, not just a simple pop-up box in the lower right hand corner. The film shifts from side to side as scholars, animators, etc. comment on the birth of Lewis Carroll's classic story and how it became an animated film at Walt Disney. Included footage of Ed Wynn acting out his character The Mad Hatter, was simply brilliant.

The set also includes a DVD copy of the film as well as all the old DVD features released previously.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This is a definitive edition of Alice in Wonderland if there ever was one. I'm sure something will come along some day to supersede it, but for now you won't be able to find a version of this film that beats it.

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