Hey, Hey, Hey it is Robbie K and I’m unleashing a second review for this holiday weekend. Today’s movie is one that promises wonder, excitement, madness, and of course Disney magic. Yes, today’s review is on Alice through the Looking Glass, an unexpected sequel given that both of Lewis Carroll’s stories had already had films dedicated to them. Nevertheless James Bobin and Disney studios are giving it another go to bring Wonderland (or is it Underland?) to life. So why don’t we get started with…
- Beautiful world and creature design
- Plenty of Comedy
- A decent beginning
- Good acting
One thing I always love to see in these movies, is the design teams’ ability to
bring Wonderland to life. Through the Looking Glass once more grabs hold of us and drags us into the trippy imagination of Carroll in glorious detail. Brilliant colors, twisted towers, and distorted scenery are all present in spectacular effects that immerse you into the world. And filling the landscape are bizarre creatures who add their own touch of magic to scenes, each befitting of the environment they are in. The new minions of Time and The Red Queen will entertain young ones and are a welcome addition to the CGI world. Unfortunately, they (alongside the classic characters) are somewhat underutilized in this movie (more on that later).
While the world is thrilling and impressively designed, it is not the only thing entertaining in this film. Through the Looking Glass has plenty of laughs within the two hour run time that will have both young and old laughing alike. For this reviewer, the writing had some well-developed puns and jabs that had the theater chuckling. The Time puns are somewhat clever, but do get a tad stale at times when they abuse the simplistic comedy. Alice, the Red Queen, and The Mad Hatter also get some unique one-liners in as well, the timing more comedic than the actual lines themselves. But it’s actually the acting that truly brings the punch. Cohen as Time was a perfect casting call, as he was able to deliver great accents, annoyed looks, and some original material were the funniest aspects for me.
In terms of story, how did this original tale fare in my books. The opening was well developed, a fantastic introduction that reintroduced to the lives of our characters while setting up the dilemma at hand. Once Alice steps back into Wonderland, the mystery begins and the suspense builds as you try to uncover all the secrets at hand. It’s the second half of the movie where the problems hit. Speaking of which, let’s hit on….
- The second half of the film
- Under utilized characters
- Missing some of the magic
The second half of the film was not nearly as developed as the opening and felt a bit rushed in my opinion. After a great set-up, the solutions began to come too fast, and there seemed to be little challenges standing in the way of Alice and company. Even the Red Queen’s threats felt a bit shallow at points and she was nowhere near as menacing as the first (I missed her powerful beasts). In addition, the time travel tale began to unravel and they found a convenient loop to bring the final dilemma at hand. A nice try for originality, but the execution needs some fine tuning to deliver the satisfying finish.
In addition the characters were not nearly as integrated as the last film. Old classics like the Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, and the Door Mouse had key parts in the last film. But in this sequel many of them dropped into the background where they managed to make a few fun comments or look cute before disappearing again. The White and Red Queen got a little more time thanks to their story, but as mentioned earlier their characters seemed a bit diluted compared to what we saw eight years ago. But don’t fret because Time, Alice, and the Hatter are the key players in this story and as such will be the ones you see the most of, which isn’t a bad thing just disappointing that our characters couldn’t all be in the show longer.
Which brings me to the final weakness, missing the magic. We have a lot of great things in this movie, but something about it feels off from Alice’s other adventures. Maybe it was the rushed ending of the story, or maybe the lack of key character integration, but Through The Looking Glass is missing the oddness its predecessors have. And with the lack of threats from rampaging beasts and a tyrannical queen, the dilemma was much less suspenseful than I wanted. I also feel this story took a turn down the PG lane, which may not have been the best move creative wise.
Through The Looking Glass certainly has a spectacular look and has some of the adventure we loved in the first installment. In addition the actors play their parts well, and the writing is great in terms of adding a comedic zest to the cuisine. Yet it still is missing some of the magic and wonder that Tim Burton brought us and makes this film duller than I had expected. I think that the visuals took a little more precedence than the second half of the story, as well as not integrating all the characters into the tale. Thanks to this…I have to recommend this one for a Redbox rent at home instead of a theater visit. Should you choose to hit the movies for this one, I encourage a 2-D showing to save some money.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 6.0