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Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Why do so many people like this movie?
I've never written a review for a movie before on this site, but I felt I should for this one.
I'll admit, I used to like this movie when I was a kid, but when I grew older, I realized I was liking it less, and now I can say that I don't like this movie, and don't understand why so many people love it.
Why don't I like it? Well, because it's just so mean-spirited in tone and spends pretty much its entire run time treating Alice like garbage for no reason, over and over again, in an attempt to teach that you should be careful what you wish for. Now, teaching that I don't have a problem with. It's just that there have been countless other projects (films or shows) that teach that same moral, and they were not nearly as cruel as this movie was.
The thing is, pretty much everything in this movie seems to conspire to torture Alice, either physically or emotionally, or both. Pretty much every character is a total jerk, to Alice and to each other: the Mad Hatter and March Hare play around pretty cruelly with her, the flowers kick her out of their garden, rather meanly, when they think she's a weed (even though they have a dandelion, which IS a weed, in their garden, those hypocrites), the Caterpillar is also rather unpleasant, having a temper that makes his scenes painful to watch (am I supposed to be laughing at Alice choking on smoke? Well, I'm not!), and the Queen of Hearts has the worst temper of the whole film, and even wants Alice dead, for no real reason.
But then there's the Cheshire Cat, who seemed to go out of his way to make things worse for Alice, as it's his fault she ends up on trial, and it's also his fault that everyone in Wonderland tries to kill her! I'm not exaggerating when I say that this is the Cheshire Cat at his worst!
But one of the biggest issues I have with this is that I feel like the movie is putting the Wonderlanders in the right for how they behaved. At the very least, it didn't put them in the wrong, which was a big mistake on the part of Disney. Worse, when Alice tells the Queen off for her behavior near the end, you find it justified, considering how she was treated by everybody. But even Disney had to mess that up by having her shrink again, which lands her in trouble because she was standing up for what was right.
What makes all this worse is that Alice did absolutely nothing to deserve the torment given to her throughout her journey. All she wanted was to do something more interesting than listen to boring history lessons. And for this she gets punished, because wanting to do something more interesting than listen to lessons automatically makes you bad, apparently. It also seems to be teaching some morals children shouldn't learn, like, as someone else pointed out, dream worlds aren't happy and fantastical , but rather cruel and mean- spirited. (I know most of the film was a dream, but that kind of made it worse because that seems to teach that dream worlds are mad.) Also that it's OK to treat others badly if they're different from you or if you find it fun, and that you will only regret it if you stand up for what's right.
I will admit, I do like some things about this film, like the animation is great as always (this is Disney, so what can I say?), I like almost all the songs in the film, as they're fun to listen to and well-written, and the beginning and very ending are pretty nice. I also did like a few characters, like of course Alice, but I also like the White Rabbit, the Dodo, the Dormouse, and the Doorknob, and I also find Tweedledee and Tweedledum kind of funny. These are my reasons for not giving the film only one star. If it wasn't for these elements, I probably would have given this film a 1. So yeah, I gave this three stars because there are some good things in it, but to me, the bad things far outweigh those.
So bottom line, I don't like this film. I actually find it one of the worst Disney films of all time, and probably THE worst Disney film made while Walt Disney was still alive. I just don't get why it's so loved, especially since there are other projects out there that too are mean-spirited, but not nearly as much as this one is, and yet those get attacked while this gets a free pass. In fact, I don't think I ever will understand it. I just know that this is definitely not something I'd ever watch again if I was offered things I like. I guess I'll have to wait to see a truly great animated adaptation of the great book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (yes, I like the book; at least it's not as cruel as this movie), because, to me, this one was just bad.