Is Alice in Wonderland as Special as It’s Said to Be?

Alice is one of those successful stories that almost everyone has heard about. The play has inspired filmmakers and actually led to the making of over 25 different TV and film versions. The first one was an iconic movie made in 1903. But has the play had any special effect on cinema as compared to its contemporaries? Most critics say no.

Alice was first published in 1865 but has been adapted 25 times to date. In comparison, Les Miserables (first published in 1862) has also attracted 25 adaptations, while Crime & Punishment (1866) has attracted over 27 adaptations. Little Women (1868) has had 13 adaptations, while Great Expectations (1861) has recorded at least 15 thus far.

Disney’s adaptation, “Alice in Wonderland”, was released in 1951. The initial release wasn’t so successful, and the film didn’t hit the sweet spot for audiences and critics till decades later. The movie also boasts many other feats. For instance, it was the first cartoon feature that aired on TV and later released as a home video.

Alice does not stand apart from all these contemporaries. It has little in common with them. For instance, there lacks a unifying theme among the novels and other plot structures. Critics have given it credit for attracting a lot of interest from filmmakers. But it’s not alone in this regard. So that’s not really unique.

The simple but brilliant premise of a child finding a portal to another world is probably imagination. If not, others have said it’s so compelling. One of the individuals who has hailed Alice is C.S. Lewis, whose machination, “The Chronicles of Narnia” starts when a kid discovers a fairy tale world from a furs-stuffed wardrobe. Certainly, the premise is utterly compelling. But the same goes for lots of other stories, including some that were published around the same time with Alice.

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