Alice in Wonderland

Year: 1951
Studio: Disney
Director: Clyde Geronimi/Wilfred Jackson/Hamilton Luske
Producer: Walt Disney
Writer: Lewis Carroll/Winston Hibler/Ted Sears/Bill Peet/Erdman Penner/Joe Rinaldi/Milt Banta/Bill Cottrell/Dick Kelsey

Once upon a time we were entertained enough with simple hand-drawn cel animation - we didn't need 3D, Imax, motion capture or the accompanying videogame.

But there's a more important reason this film is still remembered after half a century whereas the bumbling Tim Burton remake/sequel/abomination will be old hat before the kids even open the action figure packaging.

It wasn't about a studio wanting to stitch up an ecosystem of licensing deals, or a director trying to further galvanise the customised look that surrounds his cult of personality. I'm not suggesting it was such a sweet and innocent time and movie studios weren't just interested in making money, but the only tool at their disposal to do so was to tell an original story. It's the elemental aspect plenty of films today with their $300m budgets fail abysmally to include (Avatar, we're looking at you).

Disney already had a good story in Carroll's book about a young girl who enters a fantasy land not unlike Oz, so all the animators had to do was take the characters generations had dreamed about and give them life on screen. It was a tried and tested modus operandi of the studio, and it's no accident that the picture we still have of Alice from cultural consciousness is the doe-eyed blonde girl in the blue dress.

There are probably as many people in the Western world who don't know the story as there are people who've never seen Star Wars, but if you're one, young English girl Alice follows a nattily-dressed white rabbit through the gardens of a country estate, wondering why he's muttering about being late.

When she follows him down a hole beside a tree, it's a portal to a fantastical world of creatures and legends and a cruel Queen who doesn't want Alice to return home. Disney followed their formula closely, infusing it with song and dance and making another of their many classics.

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