ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Discuss the latest Johnny Depp news, his career, past and future projects, and other related issues.
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ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby Joni » Wed May 11, 2016 4:09 pm

Alice Through the Looking Glass:
Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews


This will be a multi-purpose thread, because it is often hard to separate these three categories -- they tend to flow into each other and we want to encourage thoughtful discussion without anyone having to worry that they are posting in the wrong thread.

Please post all media reviews, your own reviews and thoughts/comments/questions about the movie here! :hatterspin:

*There will be Spoilers*
Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.
~Euripides

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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Wed May 11, 2016 9:02 pm

From Variety:




Film Review: ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’
Andrew Barker
Senior Features Writer
Variety
May 10, 2016

“The ‘why?’ cannot, and need not, be put into words.” So wrote Lewis Carroll in the introduction to “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground,” and his advice goes sadly unheeded in “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” James Bobin’s sequel to Tim Burton’s massively lucrative “Alice in Wonderland.” Taking Carroll’s anything-goes psychedelic setting and painting it over with a drab time-travel plot and thoroughly beige origin stories for otherwise colorful characters, this lackluster go-round is a mercenary backward step for Disney’s live-action excavations of its animated back catalog, which enjoyed a mighty leap forward only a few weeks ago with Jon Favreau’s “The Jungle Book.”

Though it’s unlikely to equal the billion-dollar-plus worldwide tally of its 2010 predecessor, “Looking Glass” should fare well enough commercially, thanks to its day-glow production design, busy CGI and assorted other shiny things. But as Carroll himself put it, “it’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.” While he can’t really offer a substitute for the dark wit that Burton brings even to his lesser outings, new director Bobin is hardly out of his element. As demonstrated in his first two “Muppets” features, he’s got fine comic timing, and his ability to handle nonstop digital spectacle keeps “Alice” visually consistent and coherent even as it offers one spread of eye-candy after another.

The problem with “Alice” is its lack of narrative imagination. For example, in Disney’s first animated crack at the tale back in 1951, the Mad Hatter’s madness existed a priori; like his famous riddle, “why is a raven like a writing desk?” the point was that it has no solution. Yet “Alice” assumes we need the most literal of answers, retconning a whole parallel world distinguished precisely by its lack of logic and forcing it to comply with the most shopworn of templates. (Yet paradoxically, the plot is still often hard to follow.)

The Mad Hatter, as in the last installment, is played by Johnny Depp with a shock of orange hair, clown makeup and pupils dilated to psilocybic proportions. Though his Wonderland home has been peaceful since the banishment of the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), he’s nonetheless fallen into a deep funk, struggling to deal with lingering Oedipal issues and the death of his family in an unfortunate Jabberwocky incident. To the rescue, eventually, comes Alice Kinsleigh (Mia Wasikowska).

When we first meet back up with our twentysomething heroine, she’s in command of a ship pursued by pirates. It initially scans as a dream sequence, with Alice employing some Tony Hawk nautical strategies to evade her pursuers, but this is indeed the real world: As hinted at the end of the previous film, Alice has been carving out trade routes to China as a sort of girl-power colonialist on her ship the Wonder, only to arrive back home in London to face some difficult real-estate negotiations with her foppish former suitor, Hamish (Leo Bill).

Fortunately, this real-world framing doesn’t take up too much time, and Alice soon slips through a mirror into Wonderland, reuniting with old friends Tweedledee/Tweedledum (Matt Lucas), the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry) and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway). They’re all worried about the depressed Hatter, and the White Queen dispatches Alice to travel back into the past to save his family.

To unstick herself from time, Alice has to steal a steampunky gyroscope contraption called the Chronosphere, from its owner, Time itself (a mugging, mustachioed Sacha Baron Cohen). Occupying the film’s best new setting (a giant clock) and outfitted with its best new costume (including a giant clock breastplate), Time is a hulking, German-accented taskmaster, in command of a slew of bumbling brass minions who combine to form terrifying robotic henchmen when trouble arises. (Cribbing from the “Transformers” franchise is rarely a good look, yet here we are.)

The banished Red Queen is busy trying to sweet-talk her way to the Chronosphere as well, but Alice gets hold of it first, and meets up with progressively younger versions of the Hatter and his disapproving father (Rhys Ifans) as she time-travels. The young Red Queen is here in the past as well, and we get to see the origins of her evil, her catchphrase and her giant head – none of them remotely worth the trouble.

There’s nothing technically wrong with the film. The computer effects are loud and occasionally obnoxious, yet skillfully designed; Colleen Atwood’s costumes are lavish; and most of the performances (especially Hathaway’s dizzy White Queen) chew just the right amount of scenery. The question is simply why, given the wealth of possibilities in Carroll’s works, would you tell a story inspired more by “Back to the Future II” and Burton’s least successful additions to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”?

Or, for that matter, “Return to Oz.” In this film’s wildest derivation from the tone of the source material, we see Alice, thrust back into the real world, strapped to a bed in a Victorian insane asylum. Even after she escapes, she’s still faced with a Sophie’s choice: In order to save her family’s home, she must sell her prized ship. “Sign over the Wonder,” she gasps, “and give up the impossible?” Alas, that ship has already sailed.

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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Wed May 11, 2016 9:04 pm

Entertainment Weekly:




Alice Through the Looking Glass: EW review
by Leah Greenblatt
Entertainment Weekly
May 10, 2016

It sounds like one of the Cheshire Cat’s slippery riddles: What is a Tim Burton movie with no Tim Burton in it? The Mad Hatter-haired fantasist seemed like a perfectly surreal match for 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, the umpteenth cinematic adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s curiouser-and-curiouser classic. And in some ways he was: The film grossed a staggering $1 billion worldwide and won two Oscars (for Art Direction and Costume Design), though some critics felt there was too little actual wonder beneath all its brain-whomping visual dazzle. Burton is billed as a producer on the sequel, but now he’s passed the directing reins to James Bobin (Da Ali G Show, Flight of the Concords, both recent big-screen Muppets reboots). Not that you’ll necessarily notice. For better or worse, Looking Glass loses none of the first film’s muchness, with Bobin mimicking both his predecessor’s wildly saturated style and his general disregard for plot and substance. (Though he does cast Da G himself, Sasha Baron Cohen, in a major supporting role as Time personified.)

As the story opens, Alice (Mia Wasikowska, still the fairest of them all; literally, the girl looks like she’s made of porcelain) has just returned from three years on the high seas and is already giddy with plans for her next adventure. But back in England she finds that her former would-be fiancé Hamish (the excellently squirrelly Leo Bill) has taken her dead father’s ship out from under her, commandeered the sale of her mother’s home, and is trying to railroad Alice herself into a lowly clerk position at his company. Still shell-shocked, she is visited by her old friend Blue Caterpillar (the late Alan Rickman in his final speaking role), who tells her she is urgently needed — “You’ve been gone too long, Alice. There are matters which might benefit from your attention” — and so she steps through the glass and tumbles down once more.

The pressing issue is the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp); he’s dying, apparently of a broken heart. The only solution, according to the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), is to go back to the past and help him recover the family he lost years ago, most likely due to the homicidal whims of her sister the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). Enter Time (Baron Cohen), who is not exactly open to loaning out his Chronosphere — an electricity-conducting brass ball that looks like an old-timey compass and operates like a tiny spherical DeLorean. But Alice steals it anyway, whirling back through the years to find out where it all went wrong.

That’s more than enough intrigue for 108 minutes, but the movie feels oddly static and more than a little airless. It’s not the actors’ fault: Depp grimaces and prances in his mad Scottish-kabuki drag, Hathaway flutters like a glittery sparrow, and Bonham Carter brings bite and pathos to her Red Queen. (She hates because she hurts.) She and Baron Cohen both have some great lines, though Wasikowska, our supposed heroine, isn’t allowed to do much more than furrow her brow prettily and play a very 21st century take on 19th-century pluck. We get small doses of most of the novel’s most beloved characters, too: our White Rabbit and grinning Cat and the Tweedles Dee and Dum. And the film is a feast to look at, even if it sometimes feel like you’ll get gout in your eyeballs from the overwhelming CGI lushness of it all. It may just be that despite the epicness of Alice’s quest, the stakes feel low because the outcome itself never seems in question; of course loved ones will be reunited and good will ultimately triumph over evil, even in Wonderland’s topsy-turvy world. We can still lose ourselves in the extraordinary “unpossible” of Lewis’ imagination — but Looking’s story, and our emotional engagement, stay behind the glass. B–

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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Wed May 11, 2016 9:07 pm

Hollywood Reporter:





'Alice Through the Looking Glass': Film Review
by Sheri Linden
The Hollywood Reporter
May 10, 2016

Mia Wasikowska's feisty Alice must time-travel to save Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter in James Bobin's sequel to the 2010 Tim Burton film.

“Poor, poor little Alice!” the critic G.K. Chesterton lamented of Lewis Carroll’s most famous character. “She has not only been caught and made to do lessons; she has been forced to inflict lessons on others.” He was talking not about her Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, but about the meanings and ideas that had been assigned to her in the decades since the nonsense classics’ publication. And so the repurposing goes, with the latest big-screen iteration a clunky composite of visual extravagance and Hollywood commonplaces about a life well lived.

A sequel to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, the James Bobin-directed feature is just as overstuffed a phantasmagoria of CGI and makeup as the 2010 film. Its imagery can be striking or merely distracting, yet rarely transporting. Bypassing child-friendly charm for backstory psychology, its dreamscape is weighted with yadda-yadda-yadda about being true to yourself, honoring family and being loyal to friends. But there’s no question that the Johnny Depp-starring spectacle, going out in an assortment of 3D formats, will, like its billion-dollar-grossing predecessor, attract fans worldwide.

As Alice Through the Looking Glass kicks off its message-laden adventure, the title character (Mia Wasikowska) is a brave and capable ship’s captain. Back in London but eager to return to the frothy fray, she learns she’s facing foreclosure on her vessel thanks to a bit of desperate deal-making by her mother (Lindsay Duncan) with the spiteful upper-class twit (Leo Bill) whose marriage proposal Alice rejected.

Putting aside the matter of her colonialist exploits, Wasikowska’s Alice Kingsleigh is a convention-defying, self-actualized Victorian female. But in case we haven’t appreciated the depths of her fortitude and accomplishment, Linda Woolverton’s screenplay informs us that the word “impossible” is anathema to Alice. Colleen Atwood’s splendid jewel-bright outfits reflect her travels through China and emphasize her worldliness against the conformity of London society. But though Alice’s beloved ship is rather pointedly named The Wonder, the movie offers only a paucity of the same.

Woolverton, whose revisionist reading of a femme-centric fairy tale had a potent intensity in Maleficent, here puts her heroine on a time-traveling quest to rewrite history. At stake is the very survival of Alice's friend the Mad Hatter (Depp), who’s dying of depression and regret over his missing family, the specifics of their fate a tormenting mystery for him.

Depp is convincingly vulnerable and forlorn, all while maintaining the Hatter’s otherworldly eccentricity, and Wasikowska has the requisite grit. But Alice’s mission feels as manufactured as the story’s whatsits and doodads, as Bobin struggles to infuse make-believe with emotion (something he managed winningly within the comic realm of The Muppets). The story, which has nothing to do with Carroll’s episodic 1871 book beyond its title and a clutch of key characters, plays out as a blenderized mix of standard fantasy action and Burtonesque Gothic-alia. Its other key ingredients: a Wicked-reminiscent look at the roots of sibling rivalry and unpersuasive reminders that there’s no place like home.

Leading Alice away from home and back to Underland is the film’s fleeting glimpse of ethereal playfulness, the former caterpillar Absolem, now a blue butterfly voiced with plummy richness by the late Alan Rickman (to whom the picture is dedicated). Other returning Brits deliver fine voice work as well: Matt Lucas, as the rhyming Tweedles, Stephen Fry (Cheshire Cat), Michael Sheen (White Rabbit), Timothy Spall (Bayard the bloodhound), Barbara Windsor (Dormouse) and Paul Whitehouse (March Hare).

But center stage, or a good part of it, belongs to the psychodrama between the warring queens, played again by Anne Hathaway, in frosty pallor, and Helena Bonham Carter, a magnificent amalgam of digitally enhanced malevolence and wounded inner child. Her irascible Iracebeth, better known as the Red Queen, has a new ally this time around: Time himself, played by Sacha Baron Cohen (who worked with Bobin on Da Ali G Show). A sort of grim reaper with an Austrian accent — or is he channeling Christoph Waltz? — Time has ice-blue eyes, a man bun and a skull filled with clock workings. Besides his Transformer-ish goons, his underlings include a collection of anthropomorphized metal contraptions led by the mustachioed Wilkins (Matt Vogel).

That these small clanking employees are Time’s “seconds” is a nice bit of wordplay, and, along with Time’s thesaural speech, it’s one of the movie’s few nods to Carroll’s inventive infatuation with language. But these conceits, like so much of the film’s details, get lost in the exhausting race against, um, Time.

At the center of Time’s gloomy castle is the Chronosphere, a thingamajig that will take Alice back to the Mad Hatter’s childhood, where she hopes to undo the disastrous events that aggrieve him. The Red Queen has her own reasons for wanting the gadget — world control, naturally, but also a deep-seated need to right a primal wrong from her own childhood. The hopping across years reveals all-too-obvious parallels among the three narrative strands: the Red Queen’s grudge, the conflict between Alice and her security-minded mother, and the Mad Hatter’s despair over his father (Rhys Ifans), who didn’t appreciate his singular sensibility.

Amid the frenetic back-and-forth, there’s plenty to admire, if not be truly wowed by, in the whiz-bang effects work and the robust production design by Dan Hennah (The Hobbit). Stuart Dryburgh’s cinematography showcases the exuberance of the sets and costumes, with palettes that range from stygian to dazzling. If only the sensory overload were hallucinatory or simply less fettered and more fun.

One of the few affecting elements amid the would-be whimsy involves a child’s handmade creation — the kind of imperfect, idiosyncratic beauty that the movie argues for but doesn’t achieve. Like the Chronosphere that powers much of its action, Through the Looking Glass is the stuff of revved-up mechanics, not magic.

Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Production: Walt Disney Pictures, Roth Films, Team Todd, Tim Burton Prods.
Cast: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Lindsay Duncan, Leo Bill, Geraldine James, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Barbara Windsor, Matt Vogel, Paul Whitehouse
Director: James Bobin
Screenwriter: Linda Woolverton
Based on characters created by Lewis Carroll
Producers: Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd, Tim Burton
Executive producer: John G. Scotti
Director of photography: Stuart Dryburgh
Production designer: Dan Hennah
Costume designer: Colleen Atwood
Editor: Andrew Weisblum
Composer: Danny Elfman
Visual effects supervisors: Ken Ralston, Jay Redd
Makeup and hair designer: Peter Swords King
Animation technical director: Toby Rosen
Casting: Lucy Bevan, John Papsidera

Rated PG, 113 minutes

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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby Sweeney Todd » Sun May 15, 2016 12:46 am

Sunshine Coast Daily:





Movie review: Sequel a mirror image

Seanna Cronin | 15th May 2016 5:00 AM

AUSTRALIAN actress Mia Wasikowska is radiant in Alice Through The Looking Glass, the sequel to the film which made her famous around the world.

It has been six years since Canberra-born Wasikowska starred as Alice Kingsleigh in Tim Burton's zany, colourful remake of Lewis Carroll's classic novel.

Burton has taken a back seat as a producer this time around, handing the reins over to director James Bobin, best known for his work on the delightful Muppets movies.

Burton's world of Underland, though, is just as bright, if not more so, under Bobin's direction.

Viewers see Alice three years after the events of the previous film, as she arrives back home after sailing around the world as the captain of her late father's ship.

Her brave, curious nature has served her well on the high seas and she's full of tales of far-flung destinations like China.

But the headstrong adventurer is out of place in Victorian London, where her dreams for an even greater voyage are laughed at by the patriarchal elite.

She also finds herself at a crossroads with her mother, who clearly wants the dreamer to settle down.

"Alice is a great character because she's very much her own person, and after returning from her travels where she was captain of her own ship has gained more confidence and is filled with a sense of inspiration and excitement," Wasikowska says in the film's production notes.

As if on cue, a familiar voice draws Alice to and through a mirror and back into the magical realm of Underland, where she reunites with her beloved childhood friends.

White Queen Mirana (Anne Hathaway) still rules, with her unhinged sister the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) banished after her defeat by Alice in the previous film.

But all's not well in Underland.

An object from the Mad Hatter's (Johnny Depp) childhood leads him to believe his family may not be dead after all.

Of course, it's up to Alice to save the day and she must go back in time to unravel the mystery.

That requires meeting Time himself, a human-clock hybrid played charmingly by Sacha Baron Cohen.

At first the plot to Alice Through The Looking Glass appears a bit convoluted but as the story progresses the pieces fall into place and Alice learns several valuable lessons that will serve her well as she enters adulthood.

Thanks to Alice's time travels, viewers get to explore the back stories of the two queens and what drove the two sisters apart.

The Mad Hatter is also shown as a younger man and child, whose lifelong dream to join his illustrious family line of hat makers is hindered by his humorous nature.

This film is visually stunning in 3D. The CGI-animated world of Underland feels even more crisp and saturated than in Burton's first film.

To see strands of hair in Depp's bright red mass of curly locks change colour was a delightful visual trick, and depicting the fabric of time as a turbulent, roiling sea was a highly effective way to illustrate the complexities of Alice's travels.

The costumes are another highlight. The rich and ornately detailed Chinese silk outfit Alice wears throughout the first half of the film is so beautiful it's actually a little distracting.

Wasikowska again brings a dogged determination and optimism to Alice, who must once again become the heroine her Underland friends need her to be.

This film should appeal to older children and teens, and there might just be enough colour and action to keep the little ones entertained too.

Bobin injects a fair amount of humour in the film for the adults too. Alice Through The Looking Glass is a whimsical, heartfelt adventure fit for the whole family.
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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby Sweeney Todd » Sun May 15, 2016 12:51 am

Stuff.co.nz:





Movie Review: Alice Through the Looking Glass

SARAH WATT

Last updated 06:37, May 15 2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass (TBC)

108 mins ★★★★

Tim Burton didn't direct this follow-up to 2010's Alice in Wonderland (gosh, was it that long ago?), but his producer credit is totally justified, as is his handing over the reins to director James Bobin (who made both Muppet movies and will be delivering the Men In Black reboot in the near future).

Central to most Burtonesque movies are the outlandishly beautiful settings, the impeccable costuming and an overriding sense of fun and adventure, as the plot zips from magic land to magic land. To this end, this Alice definitely feels like the real Alice. Also emblematic of a Burton movie is a usually dark, sinister sensibility which doesn't manifest quite as strongly in this picturesque and enjoyably boisterous sort-of-sequel.

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is her independent young female self (dressed in the most beautiful Chinoiserie you've ever seen), busily fighting bossy men for a say in her father's business, when she is enticed through the looking glass back into Wonderland. There she discovers the Hatter (Johnny Depp) is suffering self-imposed isolation. Alice is inveigled into going back in time to change the past, but must overcome conflict presented by Time himself (a terrific Sacha Baron Cohen, hilariously speaking like German director Werner Herzog) and the Red Queen (Helena Bonham-Carter).

The film is a mass of sensational special effects, creating a fantastical world which is truly delightful to behold. The supporting cast (high-profile faces and voices, all) wing their way through dialogue which occasionally evokes the rhyming couplets of Lewis Carroll's original work, although the story veers far off into an engrossing backstory for some key characters and a startling revelation as to how one villain came to be so bad.

With a finale that looks like Goya painted the destruction of Pompeii, it's not often I'd place style over content, but Alice Through the Looking Glass is nothing short of splendid.

- Stuff
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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby flo116 » Sun May 15, 2016 6:47 pm

Wow those last two were great reviews...thank you :cheers:
I am really excited to see this film.
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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby Sweeney Todd » Mon May 16, 2016 12:43 pm

Little White Lies:





Alice Through the Looking Glass

Review by Anton Bitel @AntBit

There’s charm, humour and no shortage of strangeness in this radical rewriting of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale.

There’s no turning back. Alice Through the Looking Glass opens in 1874, with Alice Kingsleigh aboard her father’s ship, The Wonder, being forced by pursuing pirate ships to pass, impossibly, through the rocky Straits of Malacca.

A full year later (with text precisely calibrating time’s passage), Alice is back in London, somewhat older than the adolescent whom Mia Wasikowska (herself six years older) played in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. She is, as others comment, now very much her father’s daughter, and also back where she started – but things have changed, and she has changed too.

The dull, dastardly suitor (Leo Bill) whose wedding proposal she rejected at the end of the first film has moved on and married another, and is now threatening to kick Alice’s mother (Lindsay Duncan) out of house and home if Alice will not give up The Wonder (metaphor alert!). For while Victorian Britain could just about tolerate in the younger Alice the free-spirited adventurousness and independence that give her her ‘muchness’, those same qualities can hardly be countenanced in a fully grown woman, and indeed are regarded as symptoms of madness and hysteria. And it is not as though Alice can wind the clock back.

Or maybe she can. For, after being guided to a magical looking glass by the butterfly Absolem (voiced by the late Alan Rickman, the film’s dedicatee and another emblem of time’s irrevocable flow) and passing through it back to Underland, she discovers that her old friend Tarrant ‘the Mad Hatter’ Hightopp (Johnny Depp) has sunk into a possibly terminal depression because of unresolved feelings about his deceased father (feelings that mirror Alice’s own for the late Mr Kingsleigh). So it is that she sets about on a hare-brained scheme to travel back in time and stop Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans) being killed by the Jabberwock, despite warnings from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen, hilarious as a highly unusual ‘villain’) that, “you cannot change the past, but you may learn something from it.”

The irony is that even as Alice’s attempts to rewrite the history of Underland are doomed to failure at every turn, once more Linda Woolverton succeeds in her own radical rewriting – not just of Lewis Carroll’s texts, but of the filmographies of the film’s lead actors. If the seas on which Alice sails in the opening sequence resemble visually the waves of time that she will later surf, they also reconfigure the nautical battles from the Pirates of the Caribbean series that conveyed Depp to superstardom in the 2000s. Meanwhile the elaborate clockwork cogs that constitute Time’s castle, and the ‘Golden Army’ of glowing steampunk robots that do Time’s bidding, overtly evoke (and Disneyfy) the aesthetic of Guillermo del Toro, whose Crimson Peak also starred Wasikowska.

All this revisionism makes the very act of adaptation – the effort to transform past materials into something new – one of the film’s principal, self-conscious dramas. Alice’s mad dash through a parallel universe of Victoriana reveals inventive prequel-like backstories. Time is (literally) against this Alice. But in her travels through time she encounters much younger versions of Hatter, Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas) and the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry). We also find out how the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) came to have such a misshapen head, how her destructive enmity against the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) had its origins in a childhood dispute over mere crumbs, and how Hatter and his friends came to be caught in an endless tea party.

Director James Bobin, who had previously worked with Cohen in TV’s Da Ali G Show, helped create Flight of the Conchords and helmed the last two Muppet movies, here manages to keep serious themes (regret, mortality) afloat while steering them through some very witty dialogue and beautifully grotesque design work – including the Red Queen’s staff of Arcimboldo-esque fruit folk, disgruntled that their irascible mistress keeps eating their body parts. The reappearance of some characters from Alice in Wonderland – the Dormouse, the March Hare, the White Rabbit, Bayard the Bloodhound and the Bandersnatch – feels like mere fan service, and might easily have been cut.

Fortunately ample compensation is offered by new (if ancient) antagonist Time, not just half-man half-clock but also half-grave wizard half-pompous fool. At his comic, complex best, Cohen steals the show – while his Time also ensures that Alice, after several flawed regressions, can finally move on, reconciled to her past and carrying her family’s tradition of female independence forward into new seas and a new century.
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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby Sweeney Todd » Mon May 16, 2016 12:45 pm

Flickering Myth:





Movie Review – Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

May 16, 2016 by Amie Cranswick

For all its visual wonder, Alice in Wonderland suffered from director Tim Burton’s almost infantile inability to let go of what is nothing short of his monstrous ego, a running issue apparent in anything post Sleepy Hollow way back in 1999. Oh the joy that Alice Through the Looking Glass, under the direction of James Bobin, shakes away the ego, in place of genuine heart, something all but lacking from its predecessor.

We find Alice aboard her father’s ship, The Wonder, under the pursuit of pirates. Six years later, back in London, Alice’s one-times dastardly fiancé is threatening to kick her mother out of the house unless she gives up The Wonder. Not exactly subtle. Living a fantasia fails to translate once an adult and Alice is swiftly diagnosed with hysteria, finding herself in a mental home, all while desperately seeking a return to the crazed innocence of Wonderland.

A return she gets. After guidance from Absolem, voiced with such warmth by the late Alan Rickman, Alice finds the Mad Hatter in the midst of a bout of terminal depression possibly caused as a result of daddy issues. So naturally, she travels back in time, despite the warnings from “Time”, played with aplomb by Sacha Baron Cohen.

It’s all far more assured than its messy, emotionally empty predecessor. James Bobin, whose previous directorial experiences include the last two Muppets movies, Da Ali G Show and Flight of the Conchords, again finds emotional complexity in the most unlikely of places. To tackle mortality and morality in a monstrously budgeted film aimed at children with piss poor attention spans clearly shows at least an inkling of chutzpah, something lacking in many a family orientated blockbuster. And with that Alice Through the Looking Glass presents its cards.

Even Time, a villain defined entirely by clichés seen in everything from Pirates of the Caribbean to Baron-Cohen’s swaggering French NASCAR driver in Talladega Nights has a role that (although literally moustache twirling) pushes the plot and Alice forward in a manner that reinforces the source novels broad feminist roots. Wasikowska, consistently finding roles celebrating female independence at a time in which there are few and far between, is fast becoming the most interesting actress of her generation.

Visually, the film again fizzes with enough strangeness to set it apart from the landfill fairy tale nonsense Hollywood seems so desperate to force upon audiences. Yet its reliant on CGI ultimately results in a sense of weightlessness, both literally and figuratively. Each shot is jammed to the very brim with things-floating clocks, sentient playing cards-that after a while, become more of an eye sore.

When read simply as a further Alice adventure, it’s little more than filler for what will ultimately result in further returns to madcap Wonderland, but it’s important to read it as a feminist stronghold among the male-orientated apocalypse dwelling blockbusters that feel all so tired. A shame then that its predecessor, six years on, finds itself in cultural limbo.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby Sweeney Todd » Mon May 16, 2016 1:32 pm

Bleeding Cool:





A Much Better, Madder View Of Alice Through The Looking Glass

Posted May 16, 2016 by Rich Johnston

Cards on the table, I wasn’t a big fan of the original Tim Burton Alice In Wonderland. It felt too much like Eoin Colfer‘s And Another Thing… fanfic with ideas well above its station, taking characters and moments from throughout a work and trying to tie everything in, offering little that was new, and hoping that references would substitute for plot and character.

But the kids liked it.

Alice Through The Looking Glass however is a different beast and for me one of those rare sequels that beats the original hands down. And it does this by, for all intents and purposes, ignoring much of the established ensemble cast from the original and concentrating on the ones that really matter and make a difference for this story. Alice, the Red Queen, the White Queen and the Mad Hatter, using everyone else as crowd filler and bringing in a few new star turns with Time and the Hatter’s father along the way.

Add to that a proper time travel storyline right out of Doctor Who with a way to portray such a device that echoes Alice’s real life adventures, and it creates a far more satisfying story. For me, that is. The kids wanted more Tweedle Twins and Cheshire Cat.

The original saw Alice, seemingly trapped in an unloving engagement, fall back into her childhood fantasy world and, from those adventures, find the inspiration to plot her own unlikely path as a ship’s captain rather than the wife to weak chinned suitor Hamish.

This film opens far more spectacularly, with her proving her worth as a ship’s captain, with the kind of bravado that those adventures rekindled in her, practising the impossible to avoid capture by pirates. It’s a truly thrilling opening scene, and it provides a far better context for the feats of derringdo that she will perform later in the film. And makes her subsequent journey back to Underland via a mirror less of an escape from her life and more a place of inspiration.

And there, rejoining her old friends, she has to do the impossible again, necessitating a travel through the oceans of time, and embracing the acceptance of things she cannot change, like the past but finding the wisdom to make a difference in the present. Taking the responsibility for the consequences of her actions and finding a strength to put things right. There is no “power of love” get out, this is all about perseverance. And maybe just a little luck along the way.

As well as dealing with the very real possibility that this is all her own madness and she really belongs in Bedlam. Because the concept of madness is brought up repeatedly, whether it’s a way of seeing the world differently, a realisation that everyone has their own unique perspective, sympathy and empathy for those who are set on a dangerous, destructive path. The matches certain psychiatric therapeutic paths, recommendations turned from subtext into actual texts, which adds to the genuinely satisfying storyline.

This is a film that explores origins, asking why the Hatter is the way he is, and why the Red Queen is as well, never removing personal responsibility, but showing their path through time. This is also reflected on the actions in the real world of Alice’s mother and the decisions she has made regarding Alice but, as with the other characters, never letting it be too late to change and reparations attempted to be made.

And yes, this is a story about parents and children. Alice’s loss of her father, the Hatter’s loss of his, with Alice’s journey as much for her as for the Hatter. Alice’s mother’s misguided sense of duty over her daughter finally being steered right, and the White Queen realising her own misdeeds as a child over something so trivial could lead to the end of the world. And all the elements work together rather than competing for space, as was a problem for me with the first film.

Even the more fanfic elements no longer grate on me. The “why is a raven like a writing desk” aspects bothered me a lot in the first film, but here, the details behind why the Mad Hatter’s party is always taking place a minute before tea time seem to be genuinely clever and inventive given the storyline. And even the nod to the Carrol timepiece is sweet rather than forced.

The film looks beautiful throughout, whether the artificial oceans of time, of the scandalous dress that Alice wears to an official function – not for the skin it reveals but for the colours it shows off. Alice has become the butterfly she showed the promise she could be.

Praise must be doled out to Helena Bonham Carter for taking the Red Queen to new levels, channelling Miranda Richardson‘s Queenie to unsurpassed levels. Johnny Depp completely disappears into the Mad Hatter, both young and old, so wonderfully consistent with the character at either end of his lifespan. Sacha Baron Cohen is a multi-layered Time, an antagonist that the audience learns to sympathise with, as we also do Rhys Ifans as Mr Hightop, the Hatter’s father who joins Sacha in some marvellous moustache acting.

As does Leo Bill as Hamish, reviving that marvellous vacuous misogynistic fop, even more so than the first film, with the most punchable face. If the film is missing anything, it’s that no one took a swing at it.

Maybe for the threequel.

Alice Through The Looking Glass is released on May 27th.
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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby Sweeney Todd » Tue May 17, 2016 1:41 pm

New Statesman:





Alice Through the Looking Glass: a more focused affair than Tim Burton’s first effort

By Ryan Gilbey 17 May 2016

They’ve still thrown every possible idea at the wall, but this time some of them stick.



Sometimes artists need to be relieved of their own creation to allow it to flourish and evolve. The Star Wars series felt moribund until George Lucas was out of the picture. Now it has a fighting chance. And Alice in Wonderland looks in far better nick now that Tim Burton has switched roles to become the producer of the sequel rather than its director. Of course, Alice Through the Looking Glass isn’t Burton’s baby at all but Lewis Carroll’s. (Look closely in the new film and you’ll see a pocket-watch made by “Carroll’s of London”.) But it was the spectacular box-office success of Burton’s 2010 incarnation of the story – which also included another Carroll character, the Jabberwocky, grafted onto the climax – that has made this follow-up inevitable.

Whereas the first film was a mish-mash of ideas, effects and tones, the new picture is a more focused affair. It would be wrong to call it disciplined – it’s still made by filmmakers who throw every damn idea at the wall. This time, there is at least a chance that some of them will stick. The director James Bobin, whose credits include the recent, splendid Muppets movies, as well as the TV series Flight of the Conchords, plots a steady course through a sea of wackiness and eccentricity; thankfully he lacks the propensity for distraction that has made Burton so cavalier with narrative.

The screenwriter Linda Woolverton fell foul of the same problem with the first Alice that Joss Whedon did with the original Avengers movie: there were so many characters competing for our attention that the script felt more like a list of the dramatis personae. This time around, Woolverton can take her time exploring a satisfyingly chewy double-plotline in which two characters separately require time travel to correct a modern-day wrong. Like most good therapy sessions, it all comes back to the parents.

The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is convinced that his family, presumed slain by the Jabberwocky, is still alive. His clue is the discovery of a tiny coloured hat, which he made as a boy for his father, concealed in the forest undergrowth. Meanwhile, the fearsome Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter, channelling Miranda Richardson’s Queenie from Blackadder II more than ever) knows that a lie told in the past has shaped irrevocably her destiny. If she can swipe the Chronosphere – a bauble that turns into a time machine – from the possession of the part-clockwork Time (Sacha Baron Cohen), who presides over the life-spans of every living creature, then she may be able to put things right. Alice (Mia Wasikowska) gets to the Chronosphere first, in her efforts to help the Hatter, but becomes vital also to the Red Queen’s quest.

Baron Cohen is a refreshingly dark addition to the previous picture’s candy-coloured world – it’s a nutty thrill to see him and Depp trying to out-weird one another in a scene in which Time is taunted with temporally-based wordplay (“Time is on my side… I can’t find the Time…” etc). His scenes are also the most visually arresting, even if many of the ideas seem to have been purloined from Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. (Gilliam himself was influenced by Carroll – his 1977 debut film, after all, was called Jabberwocky. No one could blame him for gnashing his teeth now that his personality is stamped all over these blockbusters.)

The scenes featuring Time are also the only ones to make a real virtue of 3D. Time strolls along a jetty into a sea of dangling pocket watches, each one hanging from a chain that goes all the way into the heavens. They are agape like clam-shells until Time chooses which unfortunate soul is to have his or her life stopped, and snaps shut the corresponding watch. The use of perspective and foreground is masterful, so that we feel we are wandering alongside him through this ticking jungle.

There is a similar attention to detail in the characterisation this time around, with the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) now more jaded in her jauntiness: she’s like a Head Girl who has come to despise the privileged position she once craved. Even the crowd-pleasing Hatter is permitted to reveal new shades of doubt, sullenness and vulnerability.

The bad news is that the new movie is still steeped in computer-generated imagery. A certain downgrading of expectations has become necessary since CGI overwhelmed fantasy cinema. The technology still hasn’t solved problems of weight and solidity that were apparent more than 20 years ago in the likes of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Jurassic Park and The Mask. Everything in the CGI world continues to look provisional, as though the screen were a child’s Etch-a-Sketch that could be shaken up and returned to Square One at any moment.

Rather than the problems being solved, audiences have instead had to resign themselves to the shortcomings of the form. CGI has become an impediment to our suspension of disbelief, rather than the facilitator it was meant to be. We haven’t even been given the choice to like it or lump it. It’s lump it or leave. At least in Alice Through the Looking Glass there is enough pleasurable material to make viewers resist the latter option.

Alice Through the Looking Glass is released in the UK on 27 May
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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Tue May 17, 2016 7:19 pm

:thanks!: Thanks for finding these, Sweeney!

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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby Sweeney Todd » Mon May 23, 2016 1:03 am

Urban Cinefile:





ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

SYNOPSIS: When Alice (Mia Wasikowska) wakes up in Wonderland she must travel through a mysterious new world to retrieve a magical scepter that can stop the evil Lord of Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) before he turns forward the clock and turns Wonderland into a barren, lifeless old world. With the help of some new friends, Alice must also uncover an evil plot to put the Queen of Hearts (Helena Bonham Carter) back on the throne.

Review by Louise Keller:
The screen explodes with vibrant colours, textures, sounds and the immortal characters of Lewis Carroll in this mad-as-a-hatter sequel to Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland. It feels as though screenwriter Linda Woolverton has thrown all the ingredients into a giant teapot and shaken them rather too wildly, although the film looks wonderful with its imaginative ideas and extraordinary visual effects. The commodity of time is at the heart of the plot and as Alice steps through the gilt mirror into Wonderland, she discovers that while you cannot change the past, you can learn from it.

With Johnny Depp again enjoying top billing as the wild, red-haired Mad Hatter, it is not surprising that his colourful character plays a central role and whom Alice aspires to save by stealing a time-travel chronosphere. The idea of Alice spinning out of control in the metallic circular construction through the waves of the oceans of time like a surfing pipeline is spectacular. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Time, an austere control-freak figure (not sure about the East European accent), who does not welcome Alice into his intricate tick-tock domain. The production design is exquisite.

As Alice, Mia Wasikowska shines brightly, encapsulating all the qualities of the adventurous, bright, vital, caring young woman who stands up for herself and her friends but always retains a lovely innocence. All the familiar characters are there: The Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee, the White Rabbit, Humpty Dumpty, the White Queen and the Red Queen. The latter (Helena Bonham Carter in devastating form), complete with bulbous head and a mass of heart-shaped red curls is the baddie of the piece, complete with cupid-bow lips and hysterical manner. She is bewitching. Anne Hathaway as the White Queen is a contrast in serenity. The voice casting is perfect with Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat and Alan Rickman (to whom to film is dedicated) as the Blue Butterfly.

The plot is a bit of a mess but it doesn't really matter - there is so much to take in visually. As for the lengthy opening sequence on a ship called The Wonder in the Straits of Malacca during a violent storm (and the bookend ending), I could have done with less of it. I was eager for Alice to take us into the colourful, extraordinary world of Wonderland as soon as possible.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A wonderful, vibrant, inventive and visually astonishing film, this Alice does justice to the Lewis Carroll creation and justifies harvesting that beloved old world. It offers whimsy, drama, philosophy and wisdom as well as courage and determination as themes to help propel a story about a young woman's quest - before strident feminism made such a story trite.

Mia Wasikowska in the title role gives us the gutsy girl next door - well, an 18th century version - who inherits her father's sailing ship and captains it. The opening sequence shows her at the helm, barking orders with confidence, evading pirates with damned clever manoeuvring (womanoevring?) and bringing the merchant vessel safely home to the port of London, filled with cargo from the East. But she returns to her widow mother (Lindsay Duncan)to find the young new Lord Ascot (Leo Bill) doing dastardly things to their estate ...and that's when her adventures really begin, as she is led through the looking glass by the blue butterfly (voice of Alan Rickman).

The story spins around time (note: you can't change the past) and here it is personified by Sacha Baron Cohen, sporting what I figure is an Austrian accent. As unlikely as it seems, he makes a great fantasy figure and let's face it, this is a fantasy world which is rich even on the page. The filmmakers have taken the ideas and descriptions and turned them into screen magic, full of colour, action and dramatic creations ranging from extreme hairdos and makeup to extreme objects.

Johnny Depp transforms into the fantastical Hatter (made up and dressed to fit a spectacular dream), his story being the backbone of the plot, featuring the loss of his family. Woven into this is the historic sibling rivalry between the beautiful white queen (Anne Hathaway) and the revenge-driven, spiteful Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), whose head has swollen after a nasty accidental knock on the head ... but one caused by a domestic in which her sister the White Queen plays a central role.

So much texture, yet so clearly told, even grown ups can follow and understand.
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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby Sweeney Todd » Mon May 23, 2016 12:30 pm

The List:





Alice Through the Looking Glass (4 stars)

Source: The List
Date: 23 May 2016
Written by: James Mottram

Here’s a rarity: a summer sequel that’s far better than its predecessor. Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland was an indulgent mess, leaning heavily on 3D hallucinogenics. But, with Burton stepping aside, new director James Bobin arrives with a hatful of pleasing ideas. Bobin, who went from helming Da Ali G Show and Flight of the Conchords to directing the two recent Muppet movies, brings all his comic skills to the table.

Chiefly, his big coup is bringing his erstwhile Ali G collaborator Sacha Baron Cohen into the fold. He plays the figure of Time, who becomes embroiled with Alice (Mia Wasikowska) when she returns to Wonderland to discover her old friend the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) has fallen into a funk regarding his seemingly deceased family. The only way Alice can save him is to travel back and change the past – which rather annoys the officious Time.

Along the way, Alice meets plenty of old friends: Matt Lucas is back as Tweedledum and Tweedledee; Stephen Fry, once again, voices the Cheshire Cat; and, poignantly, the late Alan Rickman has gone from caterpillar to butterfly. Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter as the sibling queens also return, with childhood issues of their own to resolve. It all adds up to a rather nimble blockbuster – one that mixes melancholy and mirth in equal measure.

While Depp keeps the more outlandish elements of the Mad Hatter in check this time, Wasikowska has grown in stature as Alice, playing her as feisty and formidable. But, in truth, it’s Baron Cohen that makes the film. With a Germanic accent (reputedly inspired by Werner Herzog) and a dictionary of arcane phrases (‘dunderheads’ is a particular pleasure), Time is a brilliant creation. Credit to Bobin too for keeping everything in the air, and never letting CGI swamp the movie in the way Burton did. A real treat.

General release from Fri 27 May.
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Re: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Movie Discussion/Media Reviews/Zoner Reviews *SPOILERS*

Unread postby Sweeney Todd » Mon May 23, 2016 2:04 pm

Time Out:





Alice Through the Looking Glass

Film , Family and kids Release date: Friday May 27 2016

Johnny Depp is freakier than ever in this follow-up to Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland'

This follow-up to Tim Burton’s 2010 ‘Alice in Wonderland’ brings back most of the same team (though Burton has stepped back to be a producer), and the same high-energy and bucketful of 3D digital effects approach. Mia Wasikowska returns as the eminently sensible Alice, who has been adventuring on the high seas since we last saw her (a little anachronistically, considering this is the 1800s). Now she must battle male chauvinism to follow her dreams back on dry land.

The story bears little relation to Lewis Carroll’s novel. Instead, screenwriter Linda Woolverton aims for a sequel that also serves as a prequel, with plenty of flashbacks to the past lives of the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), White Queen (Anne Hathaway) and Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). It’s Alice’s job, after tumbling through the mirror and returning to Underland, to negotiate with a brand new character, volatile almost-villain Time (Sacha Baron Cohen, on high-camp, slightly grating form) to save Hatter, who’s dying from a broken heart.

The film’s pace barely leaves you time to think – blink and you’ll lose the plot. But there’s plenty of imagination here to honour the spirit of Carroll’s topsy-turvy tales, even if the emotional resolutions are of a distinctly twenty-first-century sort.

By: Dave Calhoun

Posted: Monday May 23 2016
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