Lewis Carroll’s episodic fantasy stories have been translated onto the screen more than twenty times (including a Bollywood version and a Japanese TV series), but Disney’s animated version – while not as classic as, say, Bambi – remains the best, perhaps because a cartoon is the only way to bring such quirky characters as Tweedledum and Tweedledee to life.
Using parts of both Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, it is, of course, the story of young Alice (Beaumont), who tumbles down a rabbit hole after the White Rabbit and ends up in a surreal world filled with odd creatures such as the grinning Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Queen of Hearts. Packed with eccentric scenes as Alice has a series of adventures, it’s colourful, fun and as surreal as Disney is ever likely to get (just check out the Mad Hatter’s bonkers tea party).
It isn’t as good as the books, partly because so much had to be left out otherwise the movie would last a week, but it works as a cute introduction to them. (And if you or your kids want more, check out the 1999 TV miniseries, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Miranda Richardson and Gene Wilder, and the one many parents remember, 1972’s musical Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with Fiona Fullerton, Michael Crawford and Peter Sellers. Remember, Tim Burton’s 2010 version isn’t an adaptation of the novels but his own story using the Carroll characters).
Is Alice In Wonderland (1951) suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Very young children may be scared during some of the more surreal sequences, such as when the Cheshire Cat takes his head off and stands on it.