Directed by James Bobin
Written by Linda Woolverton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, and Timothy Spall
“Alice Through the Looking Glass” is a meh sequel to a movie that was only okay, I am talking, of course, about Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” from 2010. Back in 2010 the idea of Tim Burton adapting Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” – “Alice in Wonderland” used elements of both stories, as many adaptations of the story do – was far better than the final product turned out to be. “Alice Through the Looking Glass” was an adaption of Carroll’s story in name only, and that was the film’s fatal flaw. Had Burton made an adaptation of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” that would have allowed this sequel to use the material from “Through the Looking Glass” rather than inventing material for the characters created by Carroll.
For “Alice Through the Looking Glass” Tim Burton is not in the director’s chair as he was for “Alice in Wonderland,” instead he in the role of producer. Taking over the director’s chair for Burton is James Bobin. Bobin had directed 2011’s “The Muppets” and I was personally impressed by the movie that he delivered, but there were many moving parts to that movie and Bobin was just one of those parts. In the interest of full disclosure, I have not seen “Muppets Most Wanted” which was the sequel to “The Muppets,” so I cannot speak to the quality of his work on that film. On a personal level, I was disappointed that “Alice Through the Looking Glass” was a subpar product compared to “The Muppets.”
“Alice Through the Looking Glass” is a movie that is like a house, and somewhere stored in a corner of the basement is not only a good movie but the movie that should have been made. There was some good stuff buried within the movie which was Sacha Baron Cohen. I found Cohen to be a nice addition to the story, and he provided the most humorous scene in the movie, which was filled with various time puns. There is nothing more humorous than cheesy puns.
What confuses me most about “Alice Through the Looking Glass” is that the movie told the wrong story. The story that the movie should have told is the one between the Queen of Hearts and the White Queen. The back nine – golf analogy – of the movie does touch on some great stuff with these two characters, and it was far more interesting than whatever was going on with the Mad Hatter. The Hatter narrative is bland by comparison, and the movie only gets interesting when the story between the Queen of Hearts and the White Queen enters towards the end of the movie.
“Alice Through the Looking Glass” is a dull way of telling an intriguing story, but everything that is good about the movie is buried beneath a dull, bland movie. Which is a shame because James Bobin did a fantastic job with “The Muppets.”