Alice in Wonderland: 60th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

By now, we all pretty much know the story of Alice and her adventures through the looking glass or her trip to “Wonderland” if you will. Of course, those not familiar with the original will more likely than not recognize the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration from early 2010. If you’re still drawing a blank, type in a search for Johnny Depp and Alice – then come back and finish this review. This original version was the brainchild of Walt Disney, who was inspired by the novels “Through the Looking Glass” and “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. It was later divulged that Carroll was a drug user, so it does make what he wrote a bit easier to understand. Well, maybe not “understand” but it makes a lot more sense. I mean, talking rabbits, invisible cats? This stuff doesn’t just come to you.

Unlike Tim Burton’s version, this one shows Alice as she’s being read a story by her sister, but gets bored and follows a rabbit down a hole. She’s then transported the “Wonderland” where everything seems to talk. There’s the Cheshire Cat, whose grin can be seen when the rest of him isn’t. The Mad Hatter is just that and then there’s the matter of Alice’s size, which seems to make her a giant in some scenes and a miniscule version of herself in others. Naturally all of this is fine and good, but Alice soon wishes to return home. This is probably required viewing for any child and for its Blu-ray debut, we’re treated to all 75 minutes in its restored glory. If you’re intent on watching the Tim Burton version, watch this one first.

Video: How does it look?

This new, definitive edition of “Alice in Wonderland” is about as good as the movie has ever looked. This inaugural edition is the first time this movie has appeared on Blu-ray and while that’s good, it’s also somewhat bad. You see, the film is shown in full-frame as was the standard at the time. Now Disney has made it a little more entertaining as we can select the “DisneyView” which takes those boring vertical bars at the side and adds a little artwork. If you’re not too distracted, then this is a good thing and if you are – don’t select the option. Colors are bold and vivid and the movie has undergone an extensive restoration. There’s still a bit of grain in some of the darker scenes but the movie is sixty years old for crying out loud. As I said before, this is the best the movie has ever looked.

Audio: How does it sound?

Purists will be happy to learn that the original 2.0 track is included on this disc but Blu-ray being, well, the ‘future’ this disc also contains a DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack. To be fair, it is a bit easier to re-master an animated movie as opposed to that of a live action one. The movie doesn’t sound bad, but again it is sixty years old and there’s only so much you can do. Vocals are a bit on the weaker side, but there are some surround effects that tend to make up a bit. I’m sure everyone out there isn’t going to judge this movie by its soundtrack, but Disney has done a fine job with their new audio.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Disney has made sure to say that this isn’t one of their “Diamond” edition Blu-rays, but the two disc set does actually contain a decent amount of supplements. New to the movie are “Through the Keyhole”, introduced by Beaumont. “Backstage Disney” does have somewhat of an interactive mode and a few minutes of additional footage as well as “pencil test.” There’s also the family play option with a two minute greeting by Walt Disney as well as a little game in which you paint roses. Moving on, we find the supplements that were included with the standard DVD. Those include “Reflections on Alice”, “Operation Wonderland” as well as the deleted song “I’m Odd” as well as the Mickey Mouse short “Thru the Mirror.” There’s a one hour TV special “One Hour in Wonderland” as well as “Alice’s Wonderland.” We’re also treated to some trailers, the “Fred Waring Show Exceprt”, some art galleries as well as a DVD of the movie on the second disc.

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