Tim Burton’s fantastical Alice in Wonderland
, starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Mia Wasikowska, is already selling out at midnight screenings and represents 93 percent of all ticket sales at Fandango. If struggling with crowds to find a seat at a theater this weekend will make you mad as a hatter, breathe easy—there are many paths to Wonderland on DVD to check out before you brave the cineplex. Read on to discover which Alice
is best for you.
The Classic: The most beloved Alice in Wonderland is 1951’s animated Disney version, and it’s still the best choice for the entire family. The remastered and restored Special Un-Anniversary Edition includes a featurette on Walt Disney’s nearly 20-year struggle to bring Lewis Carroll’s tale to the screen and a “Virtual Wonderland Party” with riddles, silly song and dance, Teapot orchestra, Mad Hatter Says and other games and stories.
Golden Era: Universal just released the 1933 live-action Alice in Wonderland starring Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, W.C. Fields and more classic actors, many of whom are unrecognizable in costume. For as old and obviously low budget as this production is, some of the creative camera techniques employed give the black-and-white production a surreal, dreamlike feeling.
Teenage Alice: Those who can’t get enough of Underworld’s Kate Beckinsale will want to check out 1999’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, a wild combination of live action, animation and special effects that co-stars The Lord of the Rings’ Ian Holm as White Knight.
All Grown Up: Do you think Wonderland is just for wee ones? You might change your mind with the just-released DVD and Blu-ray of the popular SyFy miniseries Alice. This psychedelic trip down the rabbit hole is a decidedly more adult affair, with Alice a grown woman who goes through the Looking Glass to face the evil Queen of Hearts (Kathy Bates), who is draining humans of their positive emotions at her casino to pacify and control her subjects. With a love triangle between Alice, Hatter and Jack of Hearts and cool cameos like Harry Dean Stanton as Caterpillar and a gun-toting Tim Curry as Dodo, this isn’t your kids’ Wonderland.
Still want more? There are over a dozen theatrical, TV and straight-to-DVD versions listed on Amazon that are available on disc before you step through the 3D Looking Glass with Burton in theaters.