Six years too late, Alice Through The Looking Glass is a prequel no one asked for, much like 2016's other fantasy adventure The Huntsman: Winter's War. With Tim Burton out of the director's chair, James Bobin steps in and he's not the only obvious difference in this box office disaster of a sequel.
Mia Wasikowska is about the only strong aspect of the film. Her performance as Alice is as enjoyable as it was in the first film, Wasikowska gives Alice a strong and bold personality and she is far more confident and forward this time around. It seems that Alice herself is about the only thing in the film that's been given some real thought and character, with Wasikowska clearly capitalising on that. The rest of the cast are fine, though Anne Hathaway is underused and Helena Bonham Carter is given the exact same material as she was given in the predecessor. Johnny Depp barely registers, I feel his performance is more of an impression or extreme caricature of himself. Sacha Baron Cohen delivers a few laughs as the keeper of time, but again the quirkiness comes off as forced and over-egged and gets tiresome very quickly.
What struck me by surprise the most was the poor visuals. The first film, made in 2010, looked fantastic, the green screen integration, brilliant creature and landscape designs, it was an immersive and well designed piece of CGI. Six years later, it's as if the technology has taken the biggest step back possible. The green screen is incredibly obvious in every scene that features it. The actors are so poorly placed against the obvious CGI backdrops, it really took me out of the movie and it's like this throughout, most notiecably when Alice is greeted by her Wonderland friends and Hathaway's Queen, it's a mess.
The CGI animals look awful, there's no detail in their fur, their movements are really clunky and the effort that the voice actors put in go to waste as their characters look so cheap and unfinished. For a budget north of $150,000,000, I cannot believe how shoddy and blotchy the visuals are.
The big question that's on my mind, and is one of the main reasons this film kind of sucks, is do we really want to see the origins of The Mad Hatter? To me, this whole sequel is a big cash grab to capitalise on the success of the predecessor which made a juicy $1,000,000,000. The mistake is that this film is way too late coming out, much like last years Independence Day: Resurgence, and it feels as if the studio thought "Let's quickly make a story so we can get this film out there, how about an origin story for The Mad Hatter?". There's clearly no urgency or thought to give us viewers a compelling and entertaining story, instead it's a CGI-heavy mess with loose threads of a story that really deserves its weak reviews. The positives are Mia Wasikowska and the voice actors, that is where the effort and creativity has gone. Rating: 4/10