Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)11:47 AM
It's Time for a Little Madness
Alice Through the Looking Glass is the sequel to the 2010 $1 billion club member 'Alice in Wonderland'. 6 years on and Tim Burton has stepped down as director and into a producer role, this time James Bobin (The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted) takes the reigns. The film stars Mia Wasikowska (Crimson Peak, Stoker), Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech, Harry Potter), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises) and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Grimsby). This time "Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter". It has took Disney 6 years to make a sequel to one of their most successful live action films - is that because they had trouble with making a good film or they wanted time to perfect the film?
Unfortunately, this is Disney's first live action fairytale that I have not liked - I thoroughly enjoyed the 2010 predecessor but this one was just no where near as good - at times, it was abysmal to watch. I don't know how the house of mouse could let this trainwreck happen - oh, I do know actually - the last one made over a billion dollars worldwide so they want to capitalise on that (I think they're 6 years too late to the party though). I recently re-watched Alice in Wonderland and thought that it did hold up 6 years after its release so it isn't a time-related thing but Through the Looking Glass was just unnecessary, too complex, badly acted and the visuals were just not impressive.
Something that was a stand out with the first film is that the performances were all so exuberant and lively - they weren't pantomime like, they were actually pretty good - Depp and Bonham-Carter especially created iconic characters. I think Depp was a travesty in this film - he was trying too hard and he often just looked like he was playing dress up in a clown costume. He may be good at transforming into different characters visually but I thought this is one of his weakest performances. I thought his random Scottish accent which was a little off in the first film (but forgivable) was completely unforgivable here and was stupid. Joining Depp as one of the weakest links is Anne Hathaway - she was just a dumb character and looked like she was just there for the pay-cheque. She has stupid hand accents and she looked like she was acting as you would expect an amateur play of Romeo and Juliet to be acted. Both Depp and Hathaway had terribly laughable performances. Even though everyone had their weak moments, thankfully - Wasikowska, Bonham Carter and Baron Cohen brought some positivity to the acting side of things at times. I think Wasikowska's performance was only cringey because of her terrible lines (more on that later), Bonham Carter was just more of the same which did become tiresome and Sacha Baron Cohen was hard to get used to at first but I thought his performance was generally solid even though his character was a missed opportunity.
Another stand out from the 2010 film was the visuals - they were stunning. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Through the Looking Glass which was basically an animated film with live action characters inserted - that worked fantastically for The Jungle Book but the characters in Through the Looking Glass was just too cartoon-like. The set designs were nice to look at and the film was colourful but the visual effects were inferior to the first film in my opinion.
Alice Through the Looking Glass was extremely dull and boring for the first two acts - admittedly, it did pick up in the final act. I thought the plot was very complex for a film targeted at family audiences - the whole idea of time is a little confusing. There is a lot of time jumping in this film so I wouldn't recommend this to extremely young children who may not have a clue what is going on. I think this film could have been so much better and so much more unconventional but it was just so cliche, so generic and so conventional - nothing new here. The film's running time isn't too tedious as it is pretty short compared to all of the summer's blockbusters so far.
The biggest weakness with Alice Through the Looking Glass is its writing - writing isn't something that usually stands out to me in a film but I just couldn't figure out why all of these great actors were performing so badly - it was because they had no material to work with so they were just trying to make it up with OTT performances. Through the Looking Glass was written by Linda Woolverton who also did the screenplay for the first film, Maleficent and Beauty & The Beast (the original and 2017 version) - this is obviously one of her rare missteps. Characters say stupid things like 'you are not you' and I just think the whole dialogue was very Shakespeare-esque, Woolverton is obviously trying to create a style but it just doesn't work. The dialogue and film was just laughable - this is one of the first times this year where I've caught myself laughing at scenes I shouldn't be laughing at.
By far the best part about Alice Through the Looking Glass is the end credits music - Just Like Fire by P!NK is a song I've been listening to for weeks and I think its catchy, fun and just a great song - the actual film it represents is pretty much none of those things.
I would say Alice Through the Looking Glass is a disappointment but I honestly never thought this film looked good. The film is poorly acted and the visuals are far from impressive. The concept is good but the whole film is a missed opportunity - Through the Looking Glass could have been much more sophisticated. I think this is the worst blockbuster I have seen this year so far and it's a shame because I can usually forgive Disney films quite easily. Some of the performances are solid at times and the third act is pretty decent. But for now, Alice (the franchise), your time is up.
What did you think of ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS? Do you think it was worth the 6 year wait? - COMMENT BELOW
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