DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Alice in Wonderland (Highly Recommended!!!)

James Reader

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Thanks for the Gallery information David. Shame it sounds just like a repeat of the international "scrapbook".

Disney pulled the same trick on the 2 disc Peter Pan releases.

If they spent only a fraction of the time on a good gallery selection as they spent on the new "set-top" games, I'm sure it would have been a stunner. (We all know Disney has masses of Alice artwork).
 

Brian Kidd

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The LD box has oodles of gallery images including the complete storyboards for two unfilmed versions of ALICE. Since still galleries take up very little space, I'm surprised that all of the galleries didn't make it to the dvd intact. I'm also a little disappointed that the radio shows that were on the LD set are gone as well. Stupid set-top games.
Oh well, I'm not six years old, so I guess I can't see the purpose.

As for the Fred Waring segment, I found it a joy to watch! Yeah, it's cheesy, but it's representative of most of the variety programming on television at the time. Also, renowned Disney conceptual artist Mary Blair who designed a great deal of Disney animation during the 40's and 50's and also designed It's a Small World created some original sets for the Waring show that truly bring the feel of the animated film to life. Don't skip over this great little feature!

My ALICE LD set has brought me great joy over the years and I look forward to upgrading to the new dvd set.

As for a commentary track, there wasn't one on the LD set so I can only guess that Disney didn't want to spend the money on recording one for the dvd when they could do a couple of cheap set-top games and port over the already extensive LD supplements and be done with it. I'm not complaining. There is still a lot to go through on the set.

As a side note, anyone interested in the early Disney ALICE shorts should visit http://disneyshorts.toonzone.net/index.html .

The owner of that site periodically posts full shorts to be downloaded. They're in the public domain, so it's perfectly legal. They're great fun to watch.
 

Zen Butler

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David, thank you for a great review. I'll be getting this primarily for the extras.
I'm with Lew though. As a huge fan of Mr. Carroll's, I've always been unable to rank this above the 3 star mark. There are a few more interesting interpretations out there. I also anxiously await the Wes Craven/American McGee film. If that ever surfaces.

A very enticing review.
 

PaulP

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I was sold when this was first anounced. You can't go wrong with Disney's 2-disc editions for this animated canon!
 

Bill Thomann

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Great review. I'll be waiting at the door of whoever has the best price the second that they open on the 27th. They should just call all of these 2 disc SEs Disney is putting out Platinum because they all seem to be up to the Platinum quality.
 

Dan Hitchman

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I'd say the picture and audio quality on their 2 disc sets are sometimes even better than the so-called Platinum releases.

Dan
 

Bryan

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This was on my list, but "Wow!". The first thing I'll watch is the SOTS parts. Great review. I passed on the first release in expectations for this. Glad I waited.
 

Eric Emma

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I want to get this since it's a personal favorite of mine, but I still need to get Snow White and Beauty and the Beast. I want get all the 2 disc special editions(I have Lion King and Sleeping Beauty)...
 

DaViD Boulet

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Wanted to mention to everyone that Ernest Rister had given me permission to incorporate his brilliant essay about the film-history surrounding Alice in Wonderland into my review...which I have now done (if you have't read his comments already in the other similar thread you'd likely appreciate taking time to do it).

Can't wait for you all to get the disc in hand and start to post your own thoughts about picture, sound, and extras!

dave
 

James Reader

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Well I got my Alice in Wonderland: ME today and a quick glance shows that this set suffers from the same problems as the international 2 disc Peter Pan sets.

It's not that the contents of the set are poor (but there are some shocking omissions from the LD release). The One Hour in Wonderland is fantastic, as is the Alice Comedy short (which I enjoyed far more than I thought I would). Also the song demos, tv introductions, trailers etc are welcome additions.

But the problem is, they're just there. There's no attempt to introduce each section. No attempt to place each feature into proper context. They just exist on the disc. Even the (abridged) gallery doesn't explain what we are looking at. One Hour in Wonderland is a piece of television history and it's not even mentioned on the cover or slipcase anywhere! I suppose in that context, it's not unexpected the set does nothing to explain the origin and importance of the programme. Compare this approach to the Sleeping Beauty set which had a lot of similar content - programmes from the Disney archives with links (sometimes quite minor) to the film. Each was properly introduced and placed in context. All it needs it a simple text screen or two and then we know, 100% what we are looking at and why it was included. The 2 disc Peter Pan suffers from the same faults - especially the inclusion of the silent Paramount Peter Pan film which is just one of the options on the menu. It's only little presentation flaws, but they sort of cheapen the product.

Add to this the fact that nothing on the set really goes into actual making of the film, or even addresses the books that are the inspiration of the film and it's results in a set that is disappointing.

Disappointment is only increased when one wonders how much time and effort they spent on the Virtual Tea Party segment. If only a fraction of the money from that was spent on a good, quality series of virtual galleries (such as on Sleeping Beauty or Snow White) I would have been more than happy.
 

DaViD Boulet

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James,

Thanks for sharing your impressions. Good points.

I think part of the difficulty is that Disney is trying to serve two distinct markets with this type of DVD product...both the avid collector (adult) *and* the pre-adolescent child audience.

I think that the Tea-party is a nice inclusion for the kids, but as you say, it would have been nice to have had the more qualitative special features presented more contextually (the best solution would be to have both). This hadn't really come to my mind when I watched the disc and wrote the review but reading your comments now I can understand their point of view.
 

Ron Etaylor

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Thanks for the review and all the great info. Looks like I'll be putting another LD boxed set in storage.
 

Brian Kidd

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Ron, I wouldn't be so hasty to retire the LD. The DVD is missing quite a bit of extras from the LD set.
 

James Reader

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I can live with the omissions from the LD set - as you can tell I'm disappointed about the gallery (this is by far my favorite feature on the Disney animated CEs). I don't even begrudge the games and activities for young children (although the Tea Party seems to be going overboard in this case I would suggest).

Really, all the set needed was a text screen or two before each feature, and a series of text screens to give a brief history of the story. Nothing too expensive!
 

James_M

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I hear this comes with the Mulan 2 trailer. Can someone post some screenshots and tell what it's about?
 

ScottR

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This dvd set is magnificent! The films looks and sounds great! The colors leap off the screen and the clarity is almost 3-D. Very pleased with this release, and look forward to more Disney classics on dvd in the future.
 

WillG

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Was thinking about getting this. Didn't find it essential, but may pick it up on a slow DVD week. But one question, how long before Disney drops the slipcase? (I now see copies of "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Lion King" for sale without them) If I do get this, I want to make sure I get the slipcase packaging?
 

ScottR

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I've noticed that the second run of the dvd's do not include the slipcase, so I would get it soon. Pirates and Nemo have already dropped the slipcase.
 

PaulP

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Yeah I like the slipcases. All of mine are still on...
The Pirates one is nice.
 

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