Alice in Wonderland-reviews!

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by ScottR, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Are there any reviews of this superb mini-series yet? I thought about it today because Red Buttons (The White Rabbit) died. So many greats in this film are no longer with us. I hope they include the opening and end credits for both episodes.
     
  2. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Any reviews yet? Less than a week, and I want to know the quality of what I am buying.
     
  3. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    It isn't looking good for a faithful digital version of the mini series. The only review I have found so far mentioned that Alice reads Jabberwocky at the start of Part two. That would be consistent with WB video version where the two parts were treated as two different stories, without the cliffhanger at the end of part one.
     
  4. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Is there a listing online on the differences between the different released versions of this? The only copy I've ever seen was the copy I had since I was a kid that was recorded from the original broadcast - with the Jabberwocky cliffhanger you mentioned.

    I'd be interested in knowing how it's been presented in its different releases, but quite frankly the thing is hardly high art and the main appeal of watching it is seeing all of these 80's celebrities hamming it up for the thing, so whether the cliffhanger is done just how it was done originally is of little concern to me.

    However, if there are more substantive changes or missing performances from the original broadcast, well that would be a whole different issue of course.

    Who am I kidding, I'm mainly just interested in hearing Carol Channing sing "Jam tomorrow, Jam yesterday, but never Jam today!"
     
  5. ChrisRose

    ChrisRose Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh my - that Carol Channing quote took me back! Now I'm *sure* this is the version of Alice In Wonderland I saw on TV and enjoyed as a kid. Thanks! [​IMG] (I was so young, my memory's foggy... but now I'm definitely buying this DVD! I know I'll remember more as I'm watching it. Gotta love that nostalgia high!)
     
  6. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Yes, this flick is 80s Hamapalooza, isn't it? I still have blurry recollections of this whole Hamfest!

    I just remember horrible, horrible cameos by all of Steve Allen's washed out friends. This thing is probably the most outrageous example of nepotism ever put on film. Everyone in the flick is either an "old showbiz friend" of Steve Allen's, or a relative of same. I think he only gave them all work so that the poor old dears would make their SAG insurance for the year. Of course, he threw "rising stars" Scott Baio and John Stamos in there to alleviate suspicion. Aw, well, now they're washed out, too! But half of the "stars" in this turkey are totally unrecognizable in the first place; they are either heavily make-upped or in cameos so fleeting they might as well have been extras.

    But the rest of the casting is just OH so precious. SEE! Steve Lawrence and Edye Gorme AS ... Tweeledum and Tweedledee??? HUH?? Telly Savalas is the Cheshire Cat? Double HUH?? But none of it matters in this incredible ego-fest. The fun of this movie is watching all these rotten tomato targets go to war with one another, in an endless game of one-upmanship. Particularly obvious is Roddy McDowell's utter contempt for Anthony Newley, as he has to play the secondary role of the March Hare to Newley's Mad Hatter. You can tell Roddy wanted to throttle that little bitch!

    I remember Martha Raye and Imogene Coca singing a tired song in the kitchen, spanking the pig baby and sneezing over that pepper. And I'll NEVER forget the sight of chubby, aging Shelley Winters dressed as the dodo, bobbing around in that pool going CAWK! CAWK! (her only line of dialogue). And that oh-so-hip Sammy Davis Jr. totally disrupting the tone of the movie for a (ugh!) jazzy little insert number. It doesn't work. It just doesn't work! Notice how this flick was pretty much the swan song for a lot of careers. After Hollywood saw how tired these performers were, they never worked half of 'em again! Everyone in this movie ruins it for everyone else. Everyone's a scene-stealing ham, and they're all pitted against each other in an effort to be more (LOL) "entertaining" than one another. Ham. Ham. Ham. There's so much ham, your local synagogue will ban this flick! Each of the performers acts like they brought along their own director; they're all playing at different performance levels and different paces. It's unbelievable!

    But, man, you GOTTA see this one! This is one of those flicks that's perfect for a drunken drag queen's party; they can just sit there and marvel at the colossal wastes of talent, the enormous egos, and the endless parades of has-beens flickering through this unplucked turkey! Gobble Gobble!
     
  7. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I have a different view of the film. It is quite simply the most faithful retelling of Carroll's classics ever put on film. The budget was $14 million dollars and it shows. Wonderful matte paintings (the checkerboard with the castle in the background is a great example) are beautiful, Gregory balances the role of Alice with both vulnerability and obstinence. No major plot points are eliminated from the books. The songs are good, especially Jillian's "Emotions."
    I recommend this to everyone who loves the stories of Alice. BTW, my broadcast tape even includes the "CBS READ MORE ABOUT IT" segment at the end...you know, the one that goes "Visit you local library and bookstore. They'll be happy to help you READ MORE ABOUT IT." This is a wonderful time capsule of the 1980's and I for one am glad we have these performances on film, as many of the greats are no longer with us.
     
  8. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    The dvdtown review wasn't much help. I hope this isn't the version WB released on home video. It has a stupid narrator's voice and text ending part one as if it is the end of the movie. Part two has been retitled Through the Looking Glass even though both parts were Alice in Wonderland on CBS, and there is no TO BE CONTINUED cliffhanger. Part two opens up with the same stupid narration, ruining the scene. The back of the dvd box even includes the same write up summary as the WB set. Also, both parts should have opening and closing credits (the openings were a delight.)
     
  9. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Great news for all you fans of this little gem... I just got my copy and the mini-series is presented in its original, unaltered version! Both episodes have their original opening and closing credits, part one ends with the Jabberwocky cliffhanger and "To Be Continued" card, and the neatest thing of all is that the rarely seen CP Television logo includes the Coca-Cola byline! This logo wasn't used for long because the holdings changed...on the vhs version, the Coca-Cola byline was cropped out. The film looks fantastic!
     
  10. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I guess I can safely buy it.

    If they can retain original logos here, why not on other miniseries or TV shows? Considering this one has a trademark owned by another company (Coca-Cola)
     
  11. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I am amazed at the amount of care that Sony put into this title. It is hands down the best looking and sounding Sony television program that I now own. The colors leap off of the screen, especially during the Queen of Hearts sequence (the reds are brilliant). There is a depth to the image that wasn't there during the original broadcast. The CBS print was washed out with poor colors and contrast, not to mention the dirt and grime. There are nuances to the music that I had never heard before. I re-read the original book the other night and I am blown away by how faithful this production is to Carroll's classic. Of course some of his humor is hard to translate to the screen, but much of it is here. And the songs aren't bad in Part One either...the highlights being Telly Savalas and Anthony Newley's solos.
     
  12. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Is it in stereo? I heard it was recorded that way; however in 1985 I hardly had a stereo tv...! The film is pretty faithful to the books; it's just so star-studded that the story gets put on the backburner behind all these "stellar" performances [​IMG]
     
  13. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    I'm a huge fan of Alice. I've seen everything from Disney to Alice (Czeck) to Hallmark. This is one of the few adaptions I haven't seen. I feel it's worth a blind buy.

    My fav is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from 1972. I'd truly like a region 1 of the recent R2 of that one.
     
  14. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Does anyone know how this was filmed? I mean, was it on actual film stock? I'm not sure when TV productions started using video and when they decide to use it, so I'm not sure. Mainly wondering if there's possibly a film print or negative available that could result in a hi-def transfer of this at some point. If I remember correctly, aside from a few blue screen shots there weren't really alot of special effects in this, most of it was live.

    I'm glad to hear it is presented in pretty much it's original form. I'll definately be picking it up - as soon as I can find a copy, I really wasn't wanting to order this one online, but I may have to.
     
  15. ChrisRose

    ChrisRose Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for confirming the quality! [​IMG] I ordered online, 'cause I couldn't find it in stores. I'm pretty much resigned to NEVER finding the DVDs I want on actual store shelves near me. They just don't stock the ones I'm interested in. (On the rare occasion they *do*, the price is better online anyway)
     
  16. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Sean, I'm not positive, but I think this was done on 35mm film and finished on video. I have a feeling that the dvd is taken from the video master (especially evident during the opening credits...I see some dot crawl.) Who knows what condition the film print is in. The only thing missing from the dvd is what is missing from almost all tv on dvd .....the CBS stuff...."CBS SPECIAL MOVIE" teaser ("Take the plunge...") the previews for part two (which are basically clips from musical numbers, with the preview ending in "A present's come for you, Dear." And Alice opening the gift with the Jabberwocky inside.) The CBS teaser and Last on clips from Part two ("Guess Who's Coming through the looking glass"), and the "READ MORE ABOUT IT" segment with Natalie Gregory (who is a brunette!), and the bumpers (which featured the title "Alice in Wonderland" over the looking glass and some notes from the main theme)..I found the bumper annoying. These things are all that is missing...and you aren't missing much. It's the film that counts, and it is all here, every second of it...with a quality that really goes beyond the original broadcast version is almost every way.
     
  17. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Thanks Scott. Seems like filming all in film and then "finishing" in video would be a weird process - unless you mean just the special effects, but since it's mainly bluescreen and mattes I'd have thought any compositing would have been done optically at that point in time anyway. Maybe not though, since that was '85 (maybe assume post was '84) and Star Trek:TNG did all of its post in video as far as I can recall and that was in '87. I somewhat doubt they'd have cut the edit on video, but maybe so.

    I actually still have my old VHS recording of the original broadcast, so if I feel like looking at the bumpers I can do it. [​IMG] Ordered it from DDD this morning, woohoo.
     
  18. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    I do recall Alice looking exceptionally lush in its original airing; whatever process they used, it looked very good. As I type this, I'm sitting here watching a brand new show on ABC and it is fairly blurred and the colors are muted. So much for technological improvements over 20 years. Alice looked 100 times better than what I'm viewing on ABC this very minute.

    I also can't find Alice in the stores. Well, that's BestBuy for you...they have room for 300 copies of "V For Vendetta" but no room for 1 stinkin' copy of Alice. To Amazon I go...
     
  19. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I ended up buying mine at Target. I was surprised, because they had it on an endcap with newly released blockbusters. I paid $14.97 or something like that which was higher than the Best Buy list price..but they didn't have it. Some people have gotten theirs at Walmart for $10 but I didn't want to make an extra trip. Besides, the film is still a value at under $15. You get great quality video and audio for a three hour plus film.
     
  20. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    ScottR, or anyone with the disk, do you notice sound sync issues in any of the musical numbers? I don't think it's a problem with my disk because the regular dialogue and most of the songs are fine, but some of the songs have varying degrees of horrid sound sync issues.

    Now, I haven't seen this since I was very young, so maybe the performers were just awful at lip-syncing and I never noticed due to my age, but I find it hard to believe that would make it through the original production of the movie.

    In particular, the Sammy Davis, Jr. "Old Father William" sequence is particularly awful, with the sound out of sync maybe a full half second or more. This is one of my favorite sequences in the film too, so it's a little dissapointing, though not unwatchable.

    Anyway, just wondering if anyone else experienced this on this disk? Thanks.

    P.S. - I had forgotten how absolutely ridiculous Beau Bridges looked in that Unicorn costume! LOL!!!
     

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