Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Alice in Wonderland: Painting the Roses Blu

As we have said many times in the past, a new high-definition presentation of a Disney animated classic is always a welcome addition to one's home entertainment library.  Alice in Wonderland arrives this week in Blu-Ray format; it recycles many bonus features from previous DVD releases and adds enough new material to warrant a generally enthusiastic recommendation.

Alice in Wonderland has never been one of my favorite Disney films.  I appreciate it more for its artistic and musical pedigrees and the extensive amount of Disney history that surrounds it.  As entertainment, it tends to be a generally cold and dispirited affair.  Despite the tremendous amount of talent and effort that went into crafting it, it never seems to live up to the sum of its parts.  And I would agree that many of those parts are well realized, and even a few border on ingenious.  Ah, but one person's overall disappointment is another person's vibrant wonderland, and thus this version of Lewis Carroll's Victorian-era fantasies has inspired similar and sometimes passionate critical debate since its original release in 1951.

Alice in Wonderland compares favorably with other Disney Blu-Ray upgrades.  Picture and sound are top notch and certainly serve well the bright colors and designs brought to bear by Disney veterans Mary Blair and Claude Coats.  Bonus features from the previous 2004 Masterpiece and 2010 Un-Anniversary editions have been migrated over and new material is notable.  Through the Keyhole: A Companion's Guide to Wonderland is a very informative and entertaining visual commentary of the film.  Combining historical punditry by Disney experts and a plethora of archival footage and images with an actual presentation of the film, it is an immensely enjoyable and surprisingly educational experience.  Disney historians such as Brian Sibley and Charles Solomon participated as did noted Lewis Carroll scholars, giving the production a level of authority and credibility beyond your average DVD supplements.  Also new is the 13-minute documentary Reflections on Alice that is mistakenly identified and categorized with the previously released DVD features.  The original One Hour in Wonderland, Walt's very first television program and included in previous Alice sets, has been upgraded to high definition for the Blu-Ray disc.

Alice in Wonderland is a Disney animated feature that I do not revisit very often, so any excitement I might have for a new high definition edition is somewhat subdued.  But it does still hold a important and necessary place in my film library and I'm happy that it is there and Blu-Ray accessible.

Explore the 2719 Hyperion Archives: 
A Gem from the Musical Archives
Wonderland in Print


Savannah said...

I'm so excited for this - I hadn't realized it was out yet! I'm a new reader, and have to say I adore your blog.