Monday, 20 June 2016

Alice in Wonderland (2010)/Alice Through the Looking Glass Review

Alice in Wonderland/Alice Through the Looking Glass

Release Date: 4th March 2010 - Australia
                       (Alice in Wonderland)
                       26th May 2016 - Australia
                       (Alice Through the Looking Glass)

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures (presents)
Roth Films
Team Todd  
The Zanuck Company (Alice in Wonderland Only)
Tim Burton Productions (uncredited)

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia

Genre: Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 108 minutes (Alice in Wonderland)
               113 minutes (Alice Through the
               Looking Glass)

Budget: $200,000,000 (Alice in
             $170,000,000 (Alice
             Through the Looking

Box Office Gross: $1,025,467,110 (Worldwide) (Alice in Wonderland)
$299,457,024 (Worldwide) (Alice Through the Looking Glass)

Plot Summaries

19-year old Alice returns 
to the magical world 
from her childhood 
adventure, where she 
reunites with her old 
friends and learns of her 
true destiny: to end the 
Red Queen's reign of 

In this sequel to 2010's
Alice in Wonderland, Alice
returns to the whimsical
world of Underland and
travels back in time to
save Mad Hatter.

Mia Wasikowskia - Alice
Johnny Depp - The Mad Hatter
Helena Bonham Carter - The Red Queen
Anne Hathaway - White Queen
Matt Lucas - Tweedledee/
Michael Sheen - White Rabbit (Voice)
Stephen Fry - Cheshire Cat (Voice)
Alan Rickman - Blue Caterpillar (Voice)
Barbara Windsor - Dormouse (Voice)
Paul Whitehouse - March Hare (Voice)
Timothy Spall - Bayard (Voice)
Lindsay Duncan - Helen Kingsleigh
Geraldine James - Lady Ascot
Leo Bill - Hamish

Alice in Wonderland Only
Crispin Glover - Stayne - Knave of Hearts
Tim Pigott-Smith - Lord Ascot
Martin Csokas - Charles Kingsleigh
Eleanor Gecks - Faith Chattaway
Eleanor Tomlinson - Fiona Chattaway
Frances de la Tour - Margaret Kingsleigh
John Hopkins - Lowell
Michael Gough - Dodo Bird (Voice)
Imelda Staunton - Tall Flower Faces (Voice)
Christopher Lee - Jabberwocky (Voice)
Mairi Ella Challen - 6-Year Old Alice

Alice Through the Looking Glass Only
Sacha Baron Cohen - Time 
Rhys Ifans - Zanik Hightopp
Andrew Scott - Dr. Addison Bennett
Richard Armitage - King Oleron
Ed Speelers - James Harcourt
Matt Vogel - Wilkins (Voice)
Paul Hunter - Chess King (Voice)
Wally Wingert - Humpty Dumpty (Voice)
Meera Syal - Nobody (Voice)
Hattie Morohan - Queen Elsemere
Louis Ashbourne Serkis - Young Hatter
Joanna Bobin - Alexandra
Amelia Crouch - Young Mirana
Leilah de Meza - Young Iracebeth
Simone Kirby - Tyva Hightopp
Joe Hurst - Bim Hightopp
Siobhan Redmond - Bumalig Hightopp
Oliver Hawkes - Young Bim Hightopp
Frederick Warder - Poomally Hightopp
Eve Hedderwick Turner - Paloo Hightopp
Tom Godwin - Pimlick Hightopp

Producer (**)/Director (*) - Tim Burton
Based on Books - Lewis Carroll
Screenplay - Linda Woolverton
Unit Production Manager/Executive Producer - Peter M. Tobyansen (*)
Executive Producer/Film
Editor - Chris Lebonzon (*)
Executive Producer - John G. Scotti (**)
Producers - Richard D. Zanuck
(*), Joe Roth and Jennifer & Suzanne Todd 
First Assistant Director/
Co-Producer - Katterli 
Frauenfelder (*)
Co-Producer/Visual Effects Producer - Tom C. Peitzman (*)
Co-Producer/Unit Production Manager - Jeremy Johns (**)
Production Designers - Robert Stromberg (*) 
and Dan Hennah (**)
Makeup Designer - Valli O'Reilly (*)
Conceptual Designer - Dermot Power (*)
Costume Designer - Colleen
Directors of Photography -
Dariuz Wolski (*) and
Stuart Dryburgh (**)
Special Effects Supervisors - Michael Lantieri (*) and Neil Corbould (**)
Senior Visual Effects Supervisor - Ken Ralston
Visual Effects Supervisors - Carey Villegas, Sean Phillips (*) and Jay Redd (**)
Animation Supervisor - David Schaub (*)
Film Editor - Andrew Weisblum (**)
Music - Danny Elfman


2011 Academy Awards (Alice in Wonderland)
Best Art Direction - Robert Stromberg and Karen O'Hara (Won)
Best Costume Design - Colleen Atwood (Won)
Best Visual Effects - Ken Ralston, David Schaub,
Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips (Nominated)

To those of you remember the classic stories that Lewis Carroll wrote for young children about a young girl named Alice who ends up in a magical world of Wonderland after following a white rabbit or entering a mirror. These stories were adapted many times to the big screen through countless years and took half the elements from the second chapter while putting them together in only one film. Even the 1951 animated version by Walt Disney is among the notable of these transitions and I grew up with this classic as a small boy. The recent feature interpretations of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and its sequel THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS is known to lack the simple narratives of the books as well as much of its charm. I'll begin to review these so-called iterations as they are both different to the original story. 

The first movie is surprisingly similar to HOOK (click here) and both features were about a titular protagonist who is now grown up and re-experiences a magical land that he or she has no memory about it. It would have been renamed as "ALICE RETURNS TO WONDERLAND" not ALICE IN WONDERLAND as the same title is used nearly in every film version. It refers how this movie is meant to pick it up where the classic stories have left off and re-uses the material from two books. Director Tim Burton is madly driven by his own ego in attempt to bring a dark and gloomy visual style to his own interpretation. Alas, the entire film is shattered by the mere sight of CGI in its overabundance. The epic themes were very unessential to the author's original concept. All of those overtunes were added in the insistence of Burton and Disney resulting a different but epic version. 

The ensemble cast is made-up with such players as Helena Bonham Carter being Burton's favourite actress to portray the tyrannical but childish Red Queen. However, Johnny Depp's portrayal of the Mad Hatter is nowhere near spectacular as people have said to liked it. It felt that his character acts like he was possessed by the ghost of Jack Sparrow. Not like being kooky or insane, Depp is too unfit or maybe was too wrapped with being with Tim Burton again in their long-term partnership. He wasn't even trying to upstage the other actors much more than the actress, who plays Alice is too stiff and insipid to portray the older version. Several actors like the late Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen and Stephen Fry add their obvious voices to this mangled film.

It probably wasn't the picture that many fans and readers want for a modern film adaptation. It's much less surprising that ALICE was a cash-grab for a 3D gimmick that is a new trend after the success of AVATAR (click here) in 2009. It has much less wonder and lacks the colourfulness and it also drew much ire from the book enthusiasts. Tim Burton should have followed closely to the original material instead of gaining a tip from Steven Spielberg. I'll try to watch the Disney version instead, not like the one that is considered too mundane and bizarre in my expectations.

Star rating: (4/10) Below Average

The recent instalment ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS is not seen as a very successful movie. Because of poor marketing and Johnny Depp's faltering career and allegations surrounding his personal life as well as apparent lack of judgement caused the film to flop. It is seen by some cinema-goers as a better film than Tim Burton's ALICE, due to him not being the director. Instead, he was currently involved as the producer when James Bobin is now currently in the position. The newly-produced sequel does not have a better story than the original. It's very confusing with the actual use of time travel with a few certain issues that doesn't always relate with physics.

I've excluded several actors who were already mentioned in the review of the first ALICE movie. Even the late Alan Rickman who is among those that have returned and passes away shortly after recording for his last but brief film role was finished. Sacha Baron Cohen makes an appearance and does well in a goofy, over the top manner as Time. I can't get enough of the actor being in this movie as he puts on a fittingly German accent. I also really enjoyed the time-puns.

Neither good, nor bad for a sequel that nobody asked for. The debate is settled for now as THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS is not quite the improvement that I was looking for. I would give this one a pass.

Star rating: (5/10) Average

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