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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Danish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Norwegian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Danish, Norwegian, Bulgarian
  Extras
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Karaoke - All In A Golden Afternoon
  • Awards/Nominations - Traditional Cell Animation

Alice In Wonderland

Disney/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 73 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

In more recent times we were thrown down the rabbit hole in The Matrix. Now, take a step backwards and go to the source of this idea. Alice goes down a rabbit hole and into another world, a Wonderland. Neo in The Matrix does this too, except it isn’t a real rabbit hole. Based on Lewis Carroll’s two children’s books Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, this film offers the best rendition of Alice In Wonderland on the market.

Alice’s Wonderland is a bizarre place full of colourful, quirky and crafty characters that will draw in every child’s attention. This world of nonsense just gets “curiouser and curiouser” as she delves deeper into the Wonderland. Having grown up with this film as our only real VHS tape which definitely got its money’s worth, watching the film again some 13 years later just brings back all the memories, songs, quotes and fun.

One of the best parts of the story is its simplicity. Alice is the only main character, which keeps things simple to start off with. There are no relationships to be built or maintained by the main characters as she is all alone, and rightly so, in her Wonderland. She does keep rambling on about how everything is such nonsense, and then walks on alone and starts talking to herself – now hang on a minute, isn’t she being a hypocrite here? Okay, that’s a bit harsh – it’s a kid’s film, but it was written by adults, wasn’t it? From the dialogue in the film it may be hard to judge, but none of this is bad, as it makes it so simple to understand. Scenes run from one to the other quickly without any fuss, making the film incredibly busy for 70 minutes, a length that's perfect for a children’s movie - any longer and they can’t sit still and any shorter then by the time they get into it, it is already finished.

By now you should have gotten the gist of the film. It features Alice, a troublesome young girl whose curiosity gets the better of her as she follows a waistcoat-dressed gold-watch-bearing white rabbit into a rabbit hole. But his rabbit hole takes her beyond her world and into her Wonderland. Right from the word go, richly detailed characters are introduced starting with the talking doorknob. Other characters along Alice’s journey include Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, The Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts, the cuddly Cheshire Cat, the singing flowers and, of course, the White Rabbit. There is so much to keep audiences of all ages entertained for 70 minutes ranging from music score to animation to actual dialogue.

This stands out as one of the best Disney films from all aspects. The music is superbly written and the Disney animators have timed their animation perfectly to the score. The conceptual artists behind the film have some explaining to do, and maybe Tim Burton may have seen this film one too many times. The Tulgey Wood displays some of the eeriest trees and creates a real mood of helplessness while the fall into the Wonderland broadens the audiences mind and the dimensions too.

  Video
Contract

The video is presented in a ratio of 1.33:1, which is only slightly different to the film's original cinematic ratio of 1.37:1, and obviously it is not 16x9 enhanced. This is adequate for this genre of film, and also the target audience.

This classic Disney animation shines brightly on DVD, with solid, bright and vibrant colours throughout the journey down the rabbit hole. Blacks are solid, as you would expect, and show no signs of low-level noise. I just can't get over the colours... The dodgy copy of a VHS tape can now be upgraded to a superbly coloured transfer. Especially due to the age of the source print, the picture is superb. The Wonderland colours feature some of the most extreme hues, both contrasting and clashing and appear bright, vibrant and… well to find no other word, colourful.

There is some minor grain throughout the journey, but this can be expected given the age of the print. Film artefacts are also present, but nothing overly distracting. Some slight MPEG artefacts can be seen at certain points, such as the troublesome fast action scenes, but nothing that is remotely distracting nor obvious. Upon close observation some slight MPEG artefacts can also be seen on some of the black outlines. But hey, you need to be 30cm from the computer monitor to notice those.

This disc is dual-layered, but no layer change could be found. Possibly due to the length of the film the film itself is on one layer, and the features on the other.

  Audio
Contract

There are three audio tracks available for listening on this disc, all in Dolby Digital 5.1. The languages are English, Norwegian and Danish. Naturally English was listened to, and on the whole it sounded very nice.

Some of the dialogue is slightly distorted, but it's nothing to cry over given the age of the film. It still does sound magnificent. The background score, on the other hand, does not suffer from such distortion. Nonetheless, audio is clear and crisp throughout the film, even with some of the ear-piercing shrill voices.

The audio is pretty much a mono soundtrack disguised as a 5.1 track. The action comes from the front of the soundstage with the surrounds used to create some slight ambience. There is little discrete action between the front left, right and centre channels.

Bass levels are fairly low for the film, but this is one movie that has little use for them. Sure it would add richness to the soundtrack, but it sounds fine as it is.

  Extras
Contract

There are a few extra features on this disc, and remember to keep in mind that it is a film from the 1950s. The menu is animated with background audio and simulates Alice falling down the rabbit hole. It is so laboriously boring to watch at times, but does create an interesting mood for the film.

Operation Wonderland is a ten minute documentary about the making of an animated film and the hours upon hours of hard work that goes into every single frame. It is presented in a full frame aspect of 1.33:1, is black and white, and has Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. The picture is very clear indeed for a black and white print and very clean given its age. It is an interesting background into traditional cel animation techniques.

All In The Golden Afternoon Sing Along is a load of fun with a karaoke version of the song from the film. The video quality is reduced with some slight MPEG artefacts around the lettering to the lyrics. The lyrics are burnt into the movie and cannot be turned off. It is presented in a 1.33 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Photo Gallery is surprise, surprise, a photo gallery containing conceptual art, stills, crew and promotional images.

Adventures In Wonderland Game is a game for the kids which is nicely made. Not terribly difficult, but a bugger to play when using an unresponsive remote control!

Through The Mirror is a nine minute animated short film where Mickey Mouse goes to Wonderland. It is presented in a full frame aspect of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

  Overall  
Contract

A superb rendition of Lewis Carroll’s novels with a great video transfer, suitable audio transfer and a bunch of features to keep the family entertained for a while. This is a definite must-have for your collection, and for the kids too.


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      And I quote...
    "Based on Lewis Carroll’s two children’s books, this film offers the best rendition of Alice In Wonderland available on the market..."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nowa DS-8318
    • TV:
          TEAC 68cm CTV
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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