Alice Through the Looking Glass (PG-13)
05/06/16 23:23 Filed in: 2016
Directed by: James Bobin
Starring: Mia Wasikowska
The below comments (in Black) were originally tweeted in Real-time from the back row of a movie theater and appear @BackRoweReviews. Though efforts were made to tease rather than ruin this movie’s memorable lines and moments, some spoilers may exist in the following evaluation (in Red). For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. All ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!
Wait a minute, is this the Alice sequel or the next #PiratesOfTheCaribbean movie?
“Time is a thief...and a villain.” #CaptainAlice
Wow, that’s quite a dress...looks like a butterfly threw up all over it.
Do six impossible things before breakfast. Alice is quite the overachiever.
The Matter of the Hatter. Subtitle.
The Hatter throws Alice out of his house. #DarkMatterHatter
#Unpossible. Similar to an #Unbirthday I guess.
“I am time.” Nice stache.
Time to go further #BackInTime.
“Hatting is a serious business.” #MadHatter
The #RedQueen kisses the #Jabberwocky’s leg. Ick!
A big kiss for the little Hatters.
The de-rusting FX are top-notch.
Final analysis: a mediocre follow-up to the uninspired original. Lacks Burton’s direction and Carroll’s vision.
Rating: 2 out of 4. Some decent creativity, but the plot falls down a rabbit hole into a rote, ridiculous realm.
This return to Wonderland, entitled Alice Through the Looking Glass, has all the regulars back from the first film—Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, Anne Hathaway as her sister the White Queen, the late Alan Rickman as the blue butterfly Absolem, Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat, Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum—along with some notable newcomers like Sacha Baron Cohen as Time, Rhys Ifans as Zanik Hightopp and Hobbit alum Richard Armitage as King Oleron. The conspicuous name missing from the movie’s headliners is director Tim Burton, who merely serves as a producer on this film. The director this time around is James Bobin (Muppets Most Wanted, 2014), and while it’s clear that the creativity doesn’t suffer from the change at the helm, the wit and whimsy so evident in many of Burton’s films is largely missing in Bobin’s trip to Wonderland. If you’re expecting this movie to closely follow Lewis Carroll’s book of the same name (technically Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There), you’ll be sorely disappointed. Just as the first film, Alice in Wonderland (2010), mashed up story elements from Carroll’s works, so too does the sequel. A prime example of this book-to-movie aberration is the Jabberwocky, which made its first appearance in the second Alice book but was introduced during the climactic confrontation in the first film. This brand of fairy tale pastiche, which serves as the movie’s narrative, blends original elements from the source material with made-up events, characters and situations in order to flesh out the plot and provide enough story sinew to hold together the many action sequences. The resultant tale is an uneven, tenuous and convoluted mess that has Alice jumping backwards and forwards through time, like a Victorian Sam Beckett, attempting to remedy events that threaten to destroy time itself…literally. The main plot points here are the search for the Mad Hatter’s family and the reconciliation between royal sisters, the Red and White Queens, and, as would be expected, both storylines are resolved with a cloying display of sentimentality. As for the movie’s creative elements, the Chronosphere is a nifty time travel apparatus but is just a fancier version of the titular time machine in H. G. Wells’ sci-fi classic. The expansive rooms containing the massive cogs that keep time running are appropriately gigantic, but are reminiscent of colossal clockwork structures in dozens of movies ranging from The Great Mouse Detective (1986) to Shanghai Knights (2003). Though the hodgepodge assemblages of spare parts that serve as Time’s assistants are clever contraptions, they certainly aren’t original (perhaps you remember the metallic sidekick Tik-Tok in Disney’s Return to Oz (1985) or the eponymous robot in Hugo (2011), which, incidentally, also co-stars Baron Cohen). These kinds of expedient, cut and paste production elements are the very epitome of what makes this film such a waste of talent and resources…it’s derivative and hollow (like so many other summer tentpole pictures). If there’s a silver lining here it’s that Depp’s creepy, walleyed Hatter is only in about half of the film and isn’t nearly as obnoxious as he was in the first film. Well, there you have it…Looking Glass is a mediocre sequel to an uninspired original. I’ve done my best to dissuade you from stepping through the movie’s magic mirror which will rob you of your hard-earned cash and extract two hours from your life that you’ll never get back.