Alice In Wonderland
Walt Disney Records, 1998
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/07/1999
The one benefit of being a parent is that one of these days, I will have seen every Disney film ever made. Of course, when child number one is of the mindframe that the only movies ever made feature Pooh Bear, Buzz Lightyear and the Rugrats (okay, so they're not Disney; my kid doesn't know, much less care), it's sometimes hard to get them to branch out to the other films. I've had some limited success with Bambi, but I have yet to get her to sit down for Alice In Wonderland.
So, here I am again, stuck with the unenviable task of reviewing a soundtrack without having seen the movie. Fortunately, like many Disney movies, you can follow along with the music and have a pretty good idea of what would be happening on the big (or, in the case of our household, the little) screen.
Alice In Wonderland is interesting because there is almost as many musical numbers with the characters singing as there are mood pieces. Of special interest is "The Walrus And The Carpenter," a happy little ditty which sings "of cabbages and kings", a memory of my childhood (regarding a local television show that used to be on early Saturday mornings before cartoons).
Even if you've never seen the whole movie from beginning to end, it's easy to imagince certain scenes in your head thanks to the music. I can see the March Hare making a mad dash to get wherever he is going in the course of "I'm Late," and I can see the tea party in progress as "The Unbirthday Song" is sung.
But I will admit, if you've seen the film, you're better off with the comprehension of this music. While I can appreciate the music for its esoteric qualities, there are times where I found myself getting lost, like in the medley of "The Trial / The Unbirthday Song (Reprise) / Rule 42 / Off With Her Head / The Caucus Race (Reprise) / Please Wake Up Alice / Time For Tea / Finale (Alice In Wonderland)". (Whew! That was a mouthful to type!)
The music itself is nice, though not as spectacular as earlier Disney films like Dumbo. But when it is all said and done, Alice In Wonderland is a disc that will be appreciated more by the person who has seen the film and who loves it. Guess I'll be hiding the Winnie-The-Pooh tapes in order to con my daughter into selecting this one soon.