Alice Through the Looking Glass is a messy movie that, as the box office showed, never should’ve been made. The actors seemed uninterested and probably were in it to make a few (million) bucks, Depp especially, but beyond that, it’s such a thin story.
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Genre(s): Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Disney | PG – 113 min. – $39.99 | October 18, 2016
Date Published: 10/16/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 1.5/5
If you look up unnecessary sequel in the dictionary (or on Urban dictionary), you’d see the poster of Alice Through the Looking Glass. It also doesn’t help that the first movie, Alice in Wonderland, was hardly a masterpiece, though there were moments I enjoyed.
This go around, the film opens on the open seas in 1846 and Alice Kingsleigh (MIA WASIKOWSKI), 3 years now after leaving Wonderland, is the captain of her father’s ship, outmaneuvering three pirate ships through treacherous CGI’d seas following a trip from the Orient. She returns home to London greeted by the news that her ex-boyfriend, Hamish, whom she shunned his marriage proposal, is now in charge of his father’s company, took Alice’s share of it and now own her mother’s home. Being unscrupulous and wanting revenge, Hamish offers to return the bond of the home in exchange for ownership of the family ship, something her mother is prepared to do.
Literally running away from the situation, Alice wanders into Hamish’s study upon hearing a familiar voice, and sees a butterfly vanish into a mirror. With Hamish and others outside, she escapes into the mirror where the butterfly turns out to be Absolem (voiced by the late ALAN RICKMAN). She’s back in Wonderland for a ridiculous reason as explained by her old friends: Mirana the White Queen (ANNE HATHAWAY), Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (MATT LUCAS), The White Rabbit (MICHAEL SHEEN), The Cheshire Cat (STEPHEN FRY) and others. Apparently the Mad Hatter (JOHNNY DEPP) is not himself lately insisting his family, whom he thought was dead, is in fact alive, but none of his friends believe him. Upon seeing Alice, and explaining why (finding a small hat in some dirt), his spirits are briefly uplifted only to falling back into depression when it’s apparent Alice doesn’t believe him either. If it sounds thin, it is.
In order to help Hatter, Mirana reveals Alice can go and meet Time (SACHA BARON COHEN), use the Chronosphere, a device that is able to travel through time where she can save Hatter’s family and thus save Hatter himself. However, Time reveals to Alice that the past cannot be changed. But Alice ignores his warning and actually steals the Chronosphere where she, after being knocked off course by Time, goes to another era in Hatter’s life where we meet his family and his disappointed father during the coronation for Iracebeth the Red Queen (HELENA BONHAM CARTER), which ends in embarrassment due to her large head and the crown gets passed to Mirana instead.
Alice goes further into the past, meets Hatter as a young boy and we see what the memento that Hatter found in the present meant to him: the first hat he ever made and one that his father cherished. We also learn how the Red Queen got her large head, resulted from a lie Mirana told about eating the last cookie and blaming it on her sis.
Yeah, it’s dumb and I suspect like the inclusion of Time and the Chronosphere, doubtful it was part of the original story.
There’s more to the thin plot involving what really happened to Hatter’s fam, Iracebeth and her desire to get her hands on the Chronosphere and… well, that’s really it. We get a toned down performance from Depp though we still get some insane make-up however, as with Hathaway’s White Queen, they seem to be afterthoughts, of course Depp probably did get a nice payday even if he looked absolutely uninterested.
Mia Wasikowski was not exactly memorable in Alice in Wonderland and she’s pretty much the same here. I can’t blame too much on her after watching some behind-the-scenes footage where it seems she’s acting against a green/blue screen more often than humans (and even then, some are opposite Depp or Cohen’s Time and his bad wardrobe). She may not be the most talented actress out there, and lacks a certain charm as Alice, yet with a lame screenplay and over-the-top costumes and CGI-d sets, I’m not sure if anyone else could’ve made this film any better.
Alice Through the Looking Glass sees Tim Burton step back and serve only as a producer (though he did apparently have input; it’s not PINO like Batman Forever) with James Bobin taking over directing duties — Linda Woolverton returns to adapt the screenplay — following his work on The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted and he more or less continues with the style that Burton brought with AIW with less chaos which may or may not be a good thing (thankfully Hatter’s Futterwacken dance is nowhere to be seen).
In the end, not only is this an unnecessary sequel, it’s just not that well done one either with a really thin story and actors who, outside of Cohen I suppose, appeared uninterested, and that includes Depp. I guess for younger viewers this might be passable entertaining (and it is perfectly safe with a nice message at its core) but it’s easy to see why this flopped at the box office.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
This 2-disc release comes with a glossy and embossed slip cover. Inside is a code for the Digital Copy.
Audio Commentary – Director James Bobin offers insights into making the movie, providing some anecdotal stories working with the various actors and breaking down scenes.
Behind the Looking Glass (8:39; HD) is a kid-friendly featurette and explores the making of the movie with the filmmakers (including producer Tim Burton) and cast (Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowski, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, etc).
A Stitch in Time: Costuming Wonderland (4:24; HD) looks at the creation of the film’s over-the-top costumes.
Characters of Underland (4:47; HD) – This is a look at the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, Absolem and other supporting characters.
Time On… (1:46; HD) is an interview with Time (Sacha Baron Cohen in character).
Alice Goes Through the Looking Glass: A Scene Peeler (2:27; HD) and Alice Goes Through Time’s Castle: A Scene Peeler (1:33; HD) are comparison features showing the raw, green-screen footage, CGI footage and final version.
Music Video (3:58; HD) for the hit P!nk song, ‘Just Like Fire’.
Behind the Music Video (3:02; HD) goes behind-the-scenes on the video.
Deleted Scenes (8:56; HD) – There are five scenes that didn’t make the cut. Includes an optional commentary with Bobin.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
|Crappy movie for sure, but the transfer didn’t suffer (similar to its predecessor). Presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio, Alice Through the Looking Glass looks pretty darn good with a 1080p high-definition transfer. Colors are obviously vivid and vibrant popping off the small screen while detail looks sharp. There were no obvious signs of pixilation, artifacts, aliasing or other flaws.|
AUDIO – 4.75/5
|Disney includes a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and I guess the studio hasn’t embraced DTS: X or Atmos, and yet the soundtrack does sound fantastic. Dialogue levels are generally clear throughout but where this lossless track comes to life is with the action-centric sequences where each and every channel shows robustness and strength while the LFE channel kicks in for an extra measure of depth.|
OVERALL – 2.25/5
Overall, Alice Through the Looking Glass is a messy movie that, as the box office showed, never should’ve been made. The actors seemed uninterested and probably were in it to make a few (million) bucks, Depp especially, but beyond that, it’s such a thin story this might’ve worked as a DTV animated movie or something, one geared solely at kids. The Blu-ray released by Disney has great video/audio while the features were so-so toplined by a nice commentary from Bobin.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.