How is Alice in Wonderland a movie for kids?

I’m not what you would call a prudish parent. I definitely wouldn’t fall too much on the liberal side either. But when I was watching Alice in Wonderland yesterday, I kept thinking to myself ‘how is this a kids movie?!?’ First of all, the heroine is a young girl who is more focused on dreaming of a world of absurdity than paying attention to her studies. Ok. That’s pretty normal. She then chooses to venture deep, deep into a hole underground by herself. I am all for adventure, but she even states out loud that she is choosing to do something she knows she shouldn’t. When she gets to Wonderland…all bets are off. She eats things that say ‘eat me’ and drinks things that say ‘drink me’ having no idea who or what put them there or wrote those signs. There are an untold number of strangers she encounters and seems to have no problem both talking to or following their advice. One is a hooka-smoking caterpillar who blows smoke letters into her face as they converse. Then she goes to a party with a pair of crazy dudes completely unchaperoned and allows them to make her drinks. Definitely not safe. All in all, she pretty much goes against everything that I have and probably will eventually ever teach my daughter. And in the end, there are no consequences for Alice. Not even a cheesy, ‘love is the answer’ to wrap it in a nice package.

Then there is the Queen of Hearts. This woman is different than the majority of other Disney villains as she has numerous people murdered over the course of the film. She just doesn’t only try to kill Alice, she flippantly sends many people to get their heads cut off. There is one scene before she even appears on screen where characters are discussing her predilection for decapitation and graphically use red paint to drive the point home. Huh? Queue the nightmares for my little dreamers…

Ok, so I get that all of this is in the book the movie is based on. But that doesn’t make it any better, does it? If we used that logic then we shouldn’t be upset or surprised if we don’t soon see Disney’s 101 Shades of Grey coming to a theatre near you!

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Image Credit —> nerdlikeyou.com

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31 comments

  1. Ya I find that allot of Disney movies have inappropriate things throughout them like when Ariel is naked in the little mermaid… but hey they have to put something in the movies to keep us adults from falling asleep with boredom while watching the movie with our Little ones

  2. ya I get where you are coming from with Alice In Wonderland.. sadly making it a cartoon does not make it acceptable for little ears and eyes. whereas movies like the little mermaid are very settle and missed by children … I never noticed the profanity in Disney movies until I re-watched them as an adult.

  3. When I realized all of this as a teenager I laughed about it. Now that I’m a parent and a young adult… I ask myself the same question: how is this a children’s movie?! I mean a caterpillar smoking a hooka?! And the mad hater who is clearly ON something… But oh well… Like a previous commenter said… “It was all a dream…”

  4. I am so glad you mentioned this! I am actually asking myself that question for… probably forever!!! And I never really liked the story. I thought it was too weird… and I have still no intention to watch it again…

      1. Oh, I never showed it to my kids. We have a book with basically all Disney stories in it… And whenever Alice in Wonderland comes up, I just move on… Not reading it to them (they are free to read the story, if they want to) and definitely not getting the movie…

  5. Alive in Wonderland is not really adaptable, but Disney came the closest. It’s not really for children, because they wouldn’t understand the satiric aspect of it…most adults wouldn’t, because they are lacking the reference frame by now.

    I didn’t like the movie as a child. The scene in which Alice grows gigantic and is stuck in the house always gave me nightmare. On the upside…I would have never accepted anything from a stranger.

    1. You should read the wikipedia article about the inspiration for thr book. Apparently it came from a story a guy was telling his daughters on a boat. Maybe his daughters were teenagers.

  6. I revised this into a play for my young students and focused on the aspect of going through the tween and teen phase of life. I think kids are faced with tough decisions today as they were in Lewis Carroll’s day. They are also going through a ton of physical changes and face many enemies – whether real or imaginary.

  7. sadly, that is the life of many teenagers. Not wanting to do their school work, wanting to do things that are not good for them, totally making wrong decisions everywhere they go without thinking through the consequences, talking on chats to total strangers, and so much more. Then to top it all off, there are many teenagers with parents who don’t seem to either care or are totally oblivious to everything going on ……till it’s too late. The only difference between this movie and reality is that the movie is all a dream and Alice seems to find herself. That is not always the case for teens unless you have someone to support and help them in their need. Good post.

  8. I read “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Alice Through The Looking Glass” as an adult a couple of years back. I loved them, however I did not think that they would be appropriate stories to tell my children.
    The fact that there are no consequences of these behaviours and that it’s all attributed to a dream is the part that bothers me. As morbid as it is – I’d have slightly less of a problem letting my kids see the Disney film version if something bad happened, like she had to go to the hospital to get her stomach pumped because she ate a bad cake. At least then I could teach them not to take food when they don’t know who prepared it or what is in it!
    It was not really the right story to translate into a children’s film, too many adult concepts, not enough consequences to ill-thought behaviour, lack of moral ending.

    1. Exactly! My kids aren’t able to process that everything that they just watched for the last hour didn’t actually happen…instead they are trying to find that rabbit hole in our backyard!

  9. I dont know if its for little kids but 8 and up I’d say are mature enough to not be influenced in the negative ways you are suggesting. I didn’t like it as a kid because no plot and so strange but as an adult thats what I like about it.
    To be fair most Disney films back then were just made and not specifically made for children in mind. Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi all are pretty out there and adult at least in moments. I know some people particularly artistic and creative that loved Alice in Wonderland as kids so just depends on the kid

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