Gender Roles – Women
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Room for Improvement:
Gender Roles - Women: 4 Stars
Alice doesn't have a lot of confidence when the story begins, but she has dreams of becoming someone special and important. Maybe even someone powerful. And although it turns out that the unique and special role that Alice takes on is that of a princess, there's far more to this story than pageantry. What's both surprising and enjoyable about this film is that in the end it is Alice, an ordinary girl, who takes on the wizard and saves Wonderland - and not the princess of Wonderland at all. In the process, Alice learns to stand up for herself and those she cares about.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 3.5 Stars
For most of the film, Alice is a plain girl with ordinary clothes and uncooperative hair. Someone who’s relatable and imperfect. She does play dress-up with fancy gowns and tiaras when she reaches the palace. She practices her curtsies and learns how to drink tea like royalty. But as it turns out, her simple game of croquet and tea turns out to be more athletic and challenging than she might have guessed. By the end of the film, Alice’s pretty dress is in tatters and her hair is loose and wild, and she’s more than happy to go back to being just Alice - in her comfortable shoes and everyday clothes.
Plot: 4 Stars (Spoilers)
Alice saves Wonderland by masquerading as the princess of Wonderland until the Care Bears can free the real princess from the Jabberwocky’s lair. She learns how to walk and dress and drink tea and play croquet like a princess, but her real test is something far more significant. When the wizard grows tired of trying to reveal her as a fraud, he calls upon Alice to prove herself by passing the impossible “princess test.” To pass the test, Alice must journey through the wasteland and climb to the top of Goodbye Mountain, where she will retrieve a cup of well water and use it to revive the flowers in the Sleeping Garden. This journey, that is meant to ultimately prove her worth as a princess, requires far more than a pretty face and a fancy dress. It requires bravery, skill and determination, all of which Alice displays on her trek up and down the mountain.
One of the beautiful things about this movie is that the Care Bears follow Alice on her journey only to make sure that the wizard’s henchman, Dim and Dum, don’t sabotage her progress. They watch over her and protect her, but they don’t help her reach the top of the mountain.She completes the journey on her own. Of course, the real princess does make an appearance at the end of the film and ultimately brings the sleeping garden to life. But this doesn’t change the fact that Alice did most of the work, and proved herself worthy in ways that the real princess never did.
Character Development: 4 Stars (Spoilers)
Alice expresses some significant self-doubt on the way to the palace. It’s clear that she doesn’t have much confidence in her own abilities. The Care Bears do what they can to support and encourage her, but in the end, Alice must find strength in herself.
One of the more empowering scenes of the film is when the wizard kidnaps Alice and tries to talk her out of going through with the charade. He doesn't bother locking her away in a cave the way he did with the real princess, because he sees how vulnerable she is. He believes that all he has to do is frighten her into thinking that no one will believe her. He tries to convince her that she’s nothing more than a silly, frightened, plain little girl who could never fill the shoes of a real princess. The wizard clearly underestimates Alice, however, because she does find the nerve to cross the throne room and approach the Queen of Hearts on her own. Without the help of the Care Bears or the White Rabbit, and in spite of the wizard’s cruel words, she finds something in herself that she didn’t know she had and takes her first steps towards becoming a hero.
Friendship: 5 Stars
As always, the Care Bears are faithful friends who are encouraging and supportive regardless of gender. Tenderheart, Braveheart, Swiftheart and the others all believe in Alice. They help her along the way as any friends would do, and in the end, allow her the space and time she needs to complete her journey and to find the very best in herself.