Alice in Wonderland – Blu-Ray Review

It was inevitable, really, as it seems destined that the most visionary director of the 21st century would adapt the work of the most visionary storyteller of the 19th century. Tim Burton took many liberties with the classic stories of “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll but if Carroll himself were alive today, I think he’d approve.

Burton’s Alice in Wonderland finds our child heroine all grown up, nineteen years old, and about to be engaged. She is defiant of the pressures of her society and embarrasses her mother by talking about her curious dreams about following a white rabbit in a waistcoat. She has forgotten about her adventures in wonderland as a child.

She attends a formal garden party that ends up becoming her engagement party. Just as her fiancé-to-be is about to propose, she spots the white rabbit from her dreams, rushes away from the party, and follows him down the rabbit hole. What she finds on the other side is not the lush Wonderland from the classic Disney animated film; it’s a darker Wonderland that has become overrun by the evil Red Queen.

Upon her arrival in Wonderland, Alice is immediately informed of Frabjous Day, which is foretold will be the day that she will defeat the Jabberwocky, the pet of the Red Queen. Alice happens upon the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) – who becomes her guide to Wonderland, helping her along her journey to find the Vopal sword to defeat the Jabberwocky. Along the way to finding her “muchness” Alice befriends the frumious Bandersnatch, successfully convinces the Red Queen that her name is Um, and ultimately succeeds in killing the Jabberwocky.

Burton’s Wonderland (or Underland, as the citizens who live there prefer to call it) is indeed dark and different, but is also refreshing. The events in this film are a very logical continuance of the classic story, showing us what has happened to the creatures after young Alice arrived back home. Depp’s Mad Hatter will become iconic. Both Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter’s performances have so many subtleties that come through more and more with each viewing. Even Mia Wasikowska is fantastic. She is never afraid to speak her mind, she thinks of “six impossible things before breakfast”, and she’s a great role model for our generation of young girls. Lewis Carroll, with his vast imagination for the ever expanding Wonderland, would without a doubt be applauding Burton’s extension of his work.

When Alice in Wonderland was released in theaters, it was released in both 2D and 3D. I saw it in 3D and the visual experience wasn’t really enhanced by the effects. Watching this film at home in 1080p was much better than watching it in 3D. The sound is also beautiful, the score enhanced. Possibly one of the best looking Blu-rays I’ve seen.

Bonus Features:

Wonderland Characters – (27:56 total running time)

Finding Alice – Mia talks about her costumes and character development.

The Mad Hatter – Depp gives us the meaning behind the phrase “mad as a hatter”, shows us sample character watercolor drawings that he did himself (and they look nearly identical to the ones Burton did separately), and gives us insight into his character. Brilliant!

The Futterwacken – I was wondering how they did this. Watch this extra to learn how.

The Red Queen – Carter talks about her extensive sessions in make-up to achieve her Red Queen. She also says that she kept losing her voice onset with all the yelling she did. “Off with their heads!”

Time Lapse: Sculpting the Red Queen – Through time lapse, we get to see the entire make-up process for Carter.

The White Queen – I love Hathaway. All her ideas for the White Queen are great, as is confirmed by Depp who says he is “envious of her performance”.

Making Wonderland – (19:29 total running time)

Scoring Wonderland – The score.

Effecting Wonderland – Shows the extensive use of motion capture, and how they blew up the Red Queen’s head.

Stunts of Wonderland – Alice’s stuntwork.

Making the Proper Size – This is something I hadn’t thought of while watching the movie, but this extra shows how they had to change the sizes of everything, and how they had to change everyone’s perspective based on how big or small Alice was.

Cakes of Wonderland – The Cake Divas talk about making all those teeny little cakes.

Tea Party Props – This is another thing I never thought of, but you know that scene in the trailer where Depp walks across the table at the tea party? Yeah, I would hate to be the propmaster.

Learn How To Take Your Favorite Disney Movies On The Go – This has become a standard for Disney Blu-Rays. It shows you how to use your digital copy.

Trailers – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Beauty and the Beast Diamond Edition, James and the Giant Peach Special Edition Blu-Ray, Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 Diamond Editions, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, and commercials for anti-piracy, Disney Parks, and Disney Movie Rewards.

Even though Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is one of the highest grossing movies of all time, it seems like critics didn’t really like it. I remember it getting panned in nearly every review I read. Personally, I fully enjoy this movie every time I watch it, and recommend it to everyone. Another classic from Tim Burton.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents Alice In Wonderland. Directed by: Tim Burton. Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway. Written by: Linda Woolverton (screenplay), based on works by Lewis Carroll. Running time: 109 minutes. Rating: PG. Released on DVD: June 1, 2010. Available at

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