Posted in: Disc Reviews by Paul on May 27th, 2016
Alice Through The Looking Glass is the sequel to Alice In Wonderland. Alice In Wonderland is a proven blockbuster of all time. It is part of the billionaire club in total box office gross. It is number 23 on the all-time biggest films list with a total box office of $1,025,500,000. It is obvious then that a sequel would have to be made. Alice in Wonderland was a Tim Burton film, his biggest in fact. Needless to say, Lewis Carroll’s creation is a time-worn classic favorite, but neither movie is very faithful to the books. The fact that this isn’t a Tim Burton film is actually a big deal. There doesn’t seem to be anyone talking about why he didn’t include Burton. Burton is always very busy, and he is one of the producers of the film. The director this time is James Bobin. Nobody important. He directed some television and two Muppet movies. Sounds just like the kind of person the corporate heads at Disney can control to turn out product. I’m sure Tim Burton is someone who insists on total creative control, and that means Disney can’t have control. And Disney now is the biggest octopus in Hollywood with control of the Marvel universe and Star Wars. If a film makes over a billion dollars a sequel is required as soon as possible, but it has been six years since Alice In Wonderland came out. It sounds like the corporate hotshots got impatient to get some product out.
Alice Through The Looking Glass brings back all of the cast members from Alice In Wonderland, including the late Alan Rickman. Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, and Mia Wasikowska are the main stars, with Sasha Baron Cohen joining the cast. The scriptwriter Linda Woolverton has returned as well. But I think the film lacks the guiding finesse of Tim Burton. Tim Burton is not the strongest director in the world, but he does have a unique vision. It is obvious this film tried to graft Burton’s vision onto the director Bobin’s work. The CGI effects are stunning, of course. That isn’t enough to make a satisfying film. A film should be created with a clear and pure artistic vision. This film seems all sound and fury, signifying nothing. Johnny Deep’s Mad Hatter is front and center. The Hatter has descended into a life-threatening depression because he can’t get over the death of his family. Alice (Wasikowska) tries to wrest control of time from a character literally called Time (Cohen) in an attempt to bring the Hatter’s family back alive. It is not in any way something that resembles the original stories by Lewis Carroll.
If you are not particularly demanding, Alice Through The Looking Glass looks very similar to its predecessor. It’s a whirl of spectacular effects, but it feels flat. Alice In Wonderland wasn’t the perfect adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s work.
The biggest problem is a sense of exhaustion and incoherence by the end. It’s not easy to pin down what could have been done to fix this movie. It’s my thinking that a few small touches here and there and this could have been a classic. It’s a shame that the corporate heads don’t just let artists do their work.