If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrariwise, what it is, it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?
Number 13 in the Disney Animated Canon, this 1951 adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was a long time coming at Disney, seeing as Walt Disney had a longtime interest in the Wonderland books that was reflected in some of his earlier works. They wanted to make it a decade earlier, but another production of the story was being produced elsewhere at the time, prompting the studio to shelf it for a while. Then World War II happened and they lost a lot of their budget on war films. Some development hell turned the what-would-be horror flick into more of a wacky, comedic cartoon in the same vein as The Emperor's New Groove, making it probably the most surreal and very odd Disney film in memory!It performed poorly in theaters initially (it made money in re-releases), but over time it grew into one of Disney's funniest films and inspired people to this day, including Tim Burton. If you're looking for the 2010 Tim Burton film, also by Disney, visit here.It also inspired at least two rides in the Disney Theme Parks. One is a conventional ride through the movie, while the other is the famous spinning teacups ride.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Alice's hair color is never mentioned in the books, but her real-life namesake, Alice Liddell, was a brunette. Here, she's blonde.
Adaptational Villainy: In Lewis Carroll's book, no one is actually in any danger of being executed by the Queen of Hearts. The King secretly pardons anyone she sentences to death, and it's implied that the inhabitants of Wonderland simply choose to humor her. The Griffin confirms that nobody is really killed.
Heck, the King himself, who's gone from pardoning executions to openly supporting them!
King of Hearts: (after the Queen sentences another card to death) Off with his head! Off with his head! By order of the King! You heard what she said!
King of Hearts: (running after Alice using his giant crown as a megaphone) YOU HEARD WHAT HER MAJESTY SAID! OFF WITH HER HEAD!
The Walrus in "The Walrus and the Carpenter". While neither he nor the Carpenter were particularly good people in the original poem (Alice notes that the Walrus showed remorse for his actions but still ate more oysters than the Carpenter, while the Carpenter ate as many as he could), he was much more remorseful in the poem. Here, however, he's depicted as an arrogant, manipulative, greedyevil aristocrat.
Censorship by Spelling: A G-rated example. Alice spells out C-A-T in an attempt to stop the Dormouse from going berserk.
Chekhov's Gun: Subverted. It looks like the size-changing mushrooms will get Alice away from the Queen, but taking both of them at once almost immediately returns her back to her normal size just in time for a frenzied chase.
Composite Character: The Queen of Hearts is a combination of the Queen of Hearts, the Duchess, and the Red Queen. The line "All ways are my ways" is from the Red Queen and is The Artifact here, as it refers to her being a chess piece who can go in every direction. Also, Pat's role is given to the Dodo. And the Dormouse has the Mouse's fear of cats.
To be fair, though, Pat wasn't a particularly important character (they don't even mention what species he is).
The Mad Hatter's "unbirthday" schtick, which replaces the novel's explanation for the Tea Party, is actually taken from Humpty-Dumpty's dialogue.
DVD Commentary: The Masterpiece Edition DVD became Disney's first two-disc DVD, outside of the Walt Disney Treasures collection, not to include an audio commentary. This would eventually become rectified for the 60th Anniversary Blu-Ray, when historians of Disney animation and/or classic literature teamed up for a picture-in-picture commentary titled, "Through the Keyhole: A Companion's Guide to Wonderland."
Fan Disservice: When the Queen of Hearts falls down in her croquet game.
Fantastic Racism: The flowers are very nice and accommodating to Alice until they discover she is not a flower. Then they become hostile, having decided that if she is not a flower, she must be a weed.
False Friend: The Cheshire cat. He gives Alice horrible advice on who to ask for help, get her in trouble with the queen constantly, and causes a big chase scene at the end with everyone in Wonderland after Alice. Too bad Alice didn't realize this sooner about him..
And then there's Bill Thompson, who does the voices of both the White Rabbit and the Dodo (see also: Talking to Himself).
Mind Screw: Aside from the obvious, there's the way Alice escapes from Wonderland; she wakes up by dreaming that her dream self is begging her real self to wake up.
Mood Whiplash: "Very Good Advice", in which Alice sings about her personal flaws and breaks into tears, feels out-of-place to some people, especially since it comes in between the parts where Alice explores the Tulgey Wood and the Cheshire Cat tells her to visit the Queen of Hearts.
Panty Shot: The Queen of Hearts' white, heart-printed, ankle-length bloomers are on display after the Cheshire Cat causes her to flip over and upside down, with a flamingo used as a croquet mallet or club to lift up her dress.
A furious carpenter turns red when he comes back to find the oysters had been devoured by the walrus and he chases after him with his hammer.
The caterpillar turns red twice. Once when Alice inadvertently offends him about his height and he hurriedly puffs away on his hookah before the smoke engulfs him and he turns into a butterfly; the other time after having become a butterfly and Alice bugs him with a question concerning directions.
The irascible Queen of Hearts gets red-faced twice. Once after having been turned upside down during the croquet game with a flamingo-for-a-mallet (thanks to the Cheshire Cat) and automatically presuming that Alice was responsible for the act, and accusing her of it; the other time when she shouts for silence at the trial.
Throw It In: Much of the Tea Party consists of Ed Wynn (the Hatter) improvising for the artists.
Visual Pun: Several. Bread-and-butterflies, horsefly, and so on...
World of Ham: Wonderland is quite loud and dramatic, but Queen of Hearts and the March Hare stand out as the hammiest.
Would Hurt a Child: The Queen of Hearts is perfectly willing to have a little girl beheaded.
Yank the Dog's Chain: When Alice meets the mome raths, they help her find a path out of Wonderland. Unfortunately, as she runs down it and cheers that she will finally return home, a dog with broom bristles on its head and tail appears and sweeps the path away. It's hard not to share Alice's frustration afterward.