Alice Through the Looking Glass Screen 8 articles

Alice Through the Looking Glass


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  • As in the original, the design is at once hideous and bland—like a rough draft of a CGI-driven blockbuster that filmmakers would show to studio bosses only to ask for more time and money to create something releasable. There is not a single effect in the movie that stirs the mind, a single composition that stirs the eye, a single line worth remembering.

  • It feels like a movie made by committee, a picture with no rhyme, no reason and no real reason for existing other than to cash in on its predecessor’s popularity. The actors may as well have been zombified and then airlifted onto the set, they appear to have so little interest in being there.

  • This second Alice as a whole smacks of filmmakers trying too hard. So busy is it attempting to entertain that even its occasional good ideas—most memorably, Bobin’s imaginative visualization of Time’s lair, which includes two different rooms marking the living and the dead, each person represented by a watch suspended from the sky—get crushed by the blaring excess.

  • In place of the even halfheartedly episodic nature of the first installment, the new film does away with the format entirely for a noisome, time-traveling caper plot, which at the very least cuts down on the number of fresh annoyances, but sadly increases their amplitude.

  • Burton's devotees will be relieved to learn that, even in his absence, “Alice Through the Looking Glass” is a feast of garishly overwrought, effects-encrusted production design. Meanwhile, the returning screenwriter Linda Woolverton has again plundered elements from Carroll’s books and reshuffled them into a pedestrian narrative, replacing his sui generis nonsense with her own strenuously unimaginative and literal-minded storytelling.

  • Bobin, who can do low-key, as in TV’s Flight of the Conchords, and keyed-up, as in Muppets Most Wanted, goes no-key in Alice Through the Looking Glass. He directs so anonymously, it’s as if he’s imitating Burton on a bad day. He packs the frame with visual filigree while pacing the film as a nonstop chase, so the outcome is numbing, not dazzling.

  • Maybe it’s the forgotten wit of the source material – or maybe the fine cast, now with the addition of Sacha Baron Cohen – that lends such a rancid taste to what is, after all, kiddie knockabout.

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    Sight & Sound: Vadim Rizov
    June 03, 2016 | July 2016 Issue (pp. 66-67) | Critic's Rating: 1.5/5 (Letterboxd)

    That the plot hinges on a psychologically scarred Mad Hatter, racked with pain over being severed from his family, is a firm indication that Linda Woolverton's script has zero interest in preserving the stringently playful, resolutely unsentimental tone of the source novels.

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