Movie Reviews

Review: “Alice Through The Looking Glass” Looks A Lot Like “Alice In Wonderland”

Genre: Adventure | Fantasy | Family Directed by: James Bobin Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway Written by: Linda Woolverton (screenplay), Lewis Carroll (books)

Genre: Adventure | Fantasy | Family
Directed by: James Bobin
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway
Written by: Linda Woolverton (screenplay), Lewis Carroll (books)

Synopsis: Alice returns to Wonderland to change the fate of Mad Hatter and his family. 

Alice can look all she wants through that glass, but it still doesn’t change the fact that this film doesn’t accomplish much besides a bunch of trippy visuals. If you liked Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”, then you’ll probably like this film considering there isn’t much difference between them. So Alice travels back to Wonderland after discovering a mirror that transports her there. Soon after she is transported into another world, basically she travels to a giant planet-like clock to save the Mad Hatter and his family. Her mission is to stop time (no pun intended), considering the main “villain” is named Time (Sacha Baron Cohen).

The GOOD:

The visuals are both the good and bad part of this film. In 3D it’s quite the spectacle to see Alice whisk through colorful fantasy locations. When Alice travels in the magical ship and goes through time portals over the ocean, the look is truly 3D.

The presentation is the appeal of the film, kids will enjoy the overly colorful look and fancy CGI. The costumes look just as colorful and bold. Time has sort of an Iron Man inspired suit, which makes him look half human and half clock? Maybe they should have called him Clock Man? It’s an ambitious look though.They brought back the original cast and added Cohen, so keeping that continuity is important.

The colors of the sets and costumes distracting and make it look like a coloring book

The colors of the sets and costumes distracting and make it look like a coloring book

My big takeaway from the film was the message it attempted to convey. The script written by Linda Woolverton hits on the messages the story is centered around. Two main messages are time and family.

THE BAD:

The visuals are the draw of the movie, but also the detriment. They are just too distracting. Maybe it’s fun for the kids, but for myself I found it to be too much. Even though Alice supposedly has a lot at stake by saving Hatter’s family, it doesn’t feel as important as it should. I found it hard to invest in, but it could very well have been due to the frantic nature of the film.

The film was devoted too much to Alice. I get it, the title of the movie has “Alice” in it, but the franchise is build on the use of these colorful eccentric characters, so why not show more of them? The plot centered around Hatter, yet there was very little of him on-screen. If you have Johnny Depp at your disposal, make use of him. Where was Hightopp, Hamish, Tweedledee & Tweedledum? These are all characters that make this fantasy universe so abstract and spectacular.

Didn't maximize on using Depp in the movie

Didn’t maximize on using Depp in the movie

This was a darker version and more gloom version of the two Alice films. The thematic elements of time and loss play into it, but majority of the story takes place on that dark, gloomy clock, so when they move back to Wonderland the startling contrast of those two worlds appears more like a lack of continuity than contrast they were trying to present.

OVERALL:

“Alice Through the Looking Glass” is a bit too busy and random for my tastes. Kids should get a lot more fun out of it than adults. Even though this is supposed to be a movie geared towards kids, the messages and trippy innuendoes are more intended at adults (or stoners). Disney has been on a roll in the last couple years, especially with live action movies. “Cinderella” and “The Jungle Book” were a lot better films.

So appreciating and accepting time is the big message, as in appreciating your time with your friends and loved ones. The ending had a nice touch to it, a sort of double act of kindness. The journey Alice goes on through all these fantasy worlds is often times more repetitive than fun. I should mention that Mia Wasikowska was fine for the first film, but at this point it seems she outgrew it in every sense. She doesn’t seem like a kid, or teen trapped in this fantasy world, more like an adult woman who is still pretending to be a kid. It’s not a good look. So maybe instead of going through that mirror, Alice should look at it instead and realize she might be too old for all this nonsense and shenanigans.

Rating: PG

Runtime:  113 minutes

Release Date: May 27, 2016 (wide)

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  • Acting - 5/10
    5/10
  • Cinematography - 7/10
    7/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 6/10
    6/10
  • Buyability - 6/10
    6/10
  • Recyclability - 5/10
    5/10
Overall
5.9/10
5.9/10
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