THE GLASS IS A LITTLE FOGGY
Though 2010’s Alice In Wonderland was met with mixed reviews from a critical standpoint, a grossing of $1 billion would signal a sequel some 6 years later. Sadly, Tim Burton’s follow-up film can barely claim that it has “mixed reviews.”
Staring the lukewarm-at-best Mia Wasikowska as Alice and the generally superb but this time vastly underwhelming Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Through The Looking Glass is a jumbled heap of random visual effects, an unfocused story, and a cast of actors & actresses who seem like they really didn’t want to be there.
Let me state this before moving on – I wanted to like this movie, I really did. The Alice In Wonderland IP is my wife’s favorite series ever. She has dozens of copies of various editions of Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic. 2010’s Alice In Wonderland was what I considered to be a decent take on the franchise, with an intriguing story that was on a mission to a satisfying conclusion. Johnny Depp was magnificent. It pains me to write this, but I have to give it my honest opinion.
The story begins with Alice returning home from her voyage that she set out upon at the end of the previous film. After her return, she comes to find out that her jerk ex-fiance has taken over he father’s company and plans to have Alice sell her ship in exchange for her family home. A disgruntled Alice sets off to return to Underland through – you guessed it – a magic mirror. Upon returning to Underland, Alice learns that the Mad Hatter is in poor health, likely due to the whereabouts of his lost family. This sets her off on a mission to convince Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) to allow her to go back in time and save the Hatter’s family.
Unfortunately, this is where the story falls apart. With too many twists and turns that don’t tend to lend any credence to logic, I found myself hoping that Time himself would take us to the end of the movie. Pacing became an issue quickly, while the inclusion of characters such as the White Queen and the Red Queen and their background story were simply put, uninteresting. Anne Hathaway is a good actress. I consider Johnny Depp to be one of our generation’s greats. Helena Bonham Carter is, well, usually only employed because of Tim Burton these days. But Hathaway and Depp are criminally underused, lacking a quality script and as a result, passion. The Mad Hatter is supposed to be eccentric, energetic, mad – not a soft spoken dude with a lisp. Wasikowsa delivers a mundane, regrettable performance as Alice, providing nothing in the sense of adventure and excitement our protagonist is supposed to have. We’re supposed to want to root for the hero, not feel apathetic.
Visually, Through The Looking Glass is middle-of-the-pack at best. Though the film’s budget was vast and the cinematics expensive, it’s all consistent with the story and acting performances. I did not like the art style, though it remained the same as the original film’s. Some objects and characters were just too weird. Why does Bonham Carter’s head have to be that obviously out-of-proportion? Yeah, it’s part of the story, but it’s overwhelmingly overdone. I blame it on the Burton effect. Through The Looking Glass makes the Ghostbusters reboot look appealing.
After a crazy successful string of box office dominance in movies such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Zootopia, and Captain America: Civil War, Disney has its first flop in a while. You can do better. Much better.
+ Alan Rickman’s final performance is grand, albeit small.
– Story is unfocused and unsatisfying.
– Acting performances were vastly disappointing, particularly with the bigger names.
– Pacing makes focus a struggle.
– Visuals had a big budget, but came up short. All flash, no substance.
Josiah LeRoy is The Geekiverse’s founder. He’ll probably be in trouble for this review. Discuss the movie with him on Twitter.
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