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Alice in Wonderland Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 4+

Surreal animated Disney classic with mild peril.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Disney's classic animated interpretation of Lewis Carroll's tale is a great "starter" Alice for younger kids before moving on to more mature and theatrical versions, like Tim Burton’s trippy 2010 adventure. Disney's 7-year-old Alice embarks on a colorful journey that does include some mild violence (especially when she meets the sadistic Queen of Hearts) and taunting language like "stupidest" and "fat." Three animal characters smoke either a pipe or, in the case of the caterpillar, a hookah.

  • Families can talk about the dreamy world Alice finds herself in. Which of these wild characters is your favorite? Why do they celebrate un-birthdays in Wonderland? Could you celebrate one right now? Why does Alice sing the song "I Give Myself Very Good Advice (But I Very Seldom Follow It)"? When did you give yourself good advice and not follow it?
  • Families can talk about how this original version differs from Time Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) starring Johnny Depp, or how it differs from Lewis Carroll's original work.

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: Not terribly educational, except the film could spark kids' interest in the literature upon which the movie is based.

  • message true2

    Messages: There are many messages in the movie, but probably most of them will go over very young kids’ heads. Alice herself explains that she gives herself good advice but doesn't listen to it. She also talks about having to learn to do what's right. The caterpillar makes Alice think about who she is and how she can "grow" to meet the challenges Wonderland throws her way. The walrus says "nothing is impossible." Alice stands up to the tyrannical queen.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Alice is a good role model for perseverance. Like Dorothy stuck in Oz, Alice doggedly finds a way to get out of Wonderland, but not before she defends what’s right. Unfortunately, she also does a lot of questionable things, like going down the hole and eating and drinking strange foods that could be dangerous.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: Alice nearly drowns in her own tears. In one sequence, oysters are lured to a kitchen, where they are killed. The enchanted flowers throw Alice out of the garden, thinking she's a weed. Alice grows so tall she nearly destroys Rabbit's house. The Queen of Hearts is a murderous tyrant and frequently sentences her subjects (and Alice) to death, shouting "Off with her head!" dozens of times. During Alice's show-trial, the Queen says "sentence first, verdict later." She sets her army of cards to chase after Alice.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false1

    Language: Characters (usually Alice) say mild insults like "barbarian," "stupidest," "poo," and "fat, pompous, bad-tempered old tyrant." The enchanted flowers call Alice a "weed."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar, true to his name, is shown smoking a hookah in every scene he's in. The smoke billows up in Alice's face and makes her cough and sneeze. Two other characters are shown smoking a pipe.