tek's rating: ¾

Alice in Wonderland (G)
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This came out in 1951 (well before I was born). I've seen it a number of times over the years, on VHS and/or TV. I'm reviewing it after watching it on DVD in 2022, quite awhile since I last saw it. The movie is, of course, based on Lewis Carroll's books "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-Glass". I've... probably read both books before, I don't really remember. Certainly I've seen various adaptations of the stories, to the point that I wouldn't be able to remember which bits happened in which books, or what's been left out of this adaptation. It all seems pretty random, just Alice (Kathryn Beaumont) roaming from place to place experiencing different crazy things and meeting different crazy characters. Overall, I'd say I find most of the various segments of the movie memorable and enjoyable, but it doesn't have much of a narrative arc, aside from Alice mostly trying to catch up with the White Rabbit throughout the movie. I'm afraid I didn't like it quite as much as I expected to, based on my memories of it, but it was still pretty good, in its own disjointed way.

It all begins with Alice failing to listen to a history lesson being given to her, outdoors, by her unnamed older sister. Alice starts talking to her cat, Dinah, about how if she had a world of her own, it would be full of nonsense. Then she spots a White Rabbit in a waistcoat and carrying a pocket watch running by, saying he's late. Alice is curious what he's late for, and starts following him, but can't catch up to him. She falls down a rabbit hole, and... then she has all sorts of surreal adventures, during the course of which she often changes size, either shrinking or growing. I don't want to get into everything she experiences, but she meets an odd pair of people named Tweedledee and Tweedledum, a hookah-smoking Caterpillar, a Cheshire Cat (Sterling Holloway, who later voiced Winnie the Pooh), a Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn) and the March Hare and Dormouse, the Queen of Hearts, a garden full of singing flowers, and other assorted characters. Eventually, Alice gets tired of all the madness and just wants to return home. Which, of course, she does in the end. I feel like I'm doing the movie and its characters a disservice by not fully describing them, because they really are rather iconic. (I think my favorite has always been the Cheshire Cat.) I would say this movie is a case of the parts being greater than the whole. Anyway, since I'm not going to spoil any details of the plot, I guess I don't know what else to say. It's just something you have to experience for yourself.


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