|Alice in Through the Looking Glass (2016)|
While I admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, I would be lying if I said I hadn't been looking forward to this movie since they first announced it.
How could I miss watching anything resembling one of my all-time favorite stories? Even now, I still call the times I seem to daydream and disappear inside my head "My Wonderland."
Alice in Wonderland had always been a part of my childhood. Much like how the animated Cinderella influenced me as a child, Alice had done the same and probably in some ways maybe even more.
I knew it would be ridiculous to expect a faithful adaptation. It would be ridiculous to expect that, but I wanted something that I would at least enjoy. I didn't hate the first movie though and I don't think it was a bad movie, but it was not without flaws. The world building not being my type was probably another contributing factor of this.
Another reason for my curiosity of this film is the change of directors. Tim Burton didn't return to direct this movie. Instead, it is being directed by James Bobin. I haven't seen any of his other works, so I honestly didn't know what changes to expect but I was certainly expecting it.
|Alice and her mother at her ex-almost fiance's party|
However, she was met with horrible news. Her ex-almost fiance planned on getting his revenge for rejecting him all those years ago.
In order to get back her childhood home, she had to give up her father's ship. She was being forced to give up her position as captain to settle for a desk job working for her ex. Her mother thought it would be for the best as well since she thinks that life as a ship captain was too dangerous for her daughter.
|Alice follows Absolum|
Absolum led her through the mirror, where she later finds herself in a room much like the one she left, except everything was big ---- from chairs, tables and chess pieces who have come alive. She was back in Wonderland.
After literally falling through the sky after going through a door, she meets most of her old friends, the White Rabbit, March Hare, the Tweedles, Bayard, Dormouse, Cheshire Cat and the White Queen, All of them were gathered together to talk about how to best help the Hatter. They told her that the Hatter had been acting odd since he found something that he believed to have been related to his family. His family was believed to have died when the Jabberwocky attacked a festival his family was in.
|The Underlanders worry about the Hatter.|
Unfortunately, Time proved to be uncooperative and it didn't help that he was dating the Red Queen who was still unsurprisingly still after her head. While Time was distracted by the arrival of the Queen, Alice took this time to steal the Chronosphere.
|The White Queen and Red Queen as princesses.|
Meanwhile, Time arrived to take Alice and the Chronosphere back. He asked the Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse if they saw her. They only made fun of him and to punish them he trapped them in time where it would always be tea time.
Alice went back further in time to stop whatever tragedy happened between the sisters. There, we learn that as children, the Red Queen was blamed for something the White Queen did. The White Queen had eaten the tarts that their mother told them not to. The Red Queen ran out of the room in anger and this led to her accident that caused her head to be the size it was.
|Alice in a mental hospital for hysteria.|
This time, she went back in time to find the Hatter's family was, indeed, alive and that they were captured by the Red Queen. Alice returned to tell Hatter the good news that his family was alive, but found him in the brink of death. In tears, she told him that she believed him and that she was sorry that she didn't believe him when he said that his family was alive. This rejuvenated the Hatter and together ---- he and his friends, even the queen ---- went to attack the Red Queen's castle.
|Hatter finds his family inside an ant farm.|
They raced back to the present and only barely making it in time to return the Chronosphere. Time was restored and the Hatter was reunited with his family. Despite the trouble she caused, Time did forgive Alice but made it clear that he didn't want to see her again.
She bids farewell to her friends and returned home to face the reality that she might have to give up her father's ship. On the day she had to give up the ship, her mother bravely decided to stand by her daughter. They lost her family home, but they started their own shipping business together.
As always, I will start with the titular character. Alice is played by Mia Wasikowska, who is also Alice from the last movie. How ironic that my least favorite character from the last movie is now my favorite character in this one.
I had a difficult time liking Alice in the last movie because of her deadpan expressions. She seemed to have the same expression for when she was angry, confused, curious and afraid. If there was anyone I had the least expectations for, it would be her.
Much to my surprise, she proved me wrong by being one of the best things about the movie. I loved the development of her character. Her curiosity and belief of the impossible made her into an explorer/adventurer which is something closer to what I thought Alice would grow up to be than what was shown in the last movie.
If I was to be nitpicky, I'd probably say that I wished she had more costume changes. While I love the costumes in this movie, I loved the costumes of the last movie maybe a tad bit more.
My friend and my's first eaction to the Hatter was, "Is he still played by Johnny Depp?"
We weren't sure because it felt like he was suddenly felt like a different person from the previous movie. We even waited for the credits to make sure. Sure enough, The Mad Hatter is played by Johnny Depp. There was just something different about this portrayal that we couldn't quite put our finger on. Maybe it is because he felt more cartoon-ish than I remember? It could also be because he has less screen time here than in the previous movie.
While I don't think his acting is bad, I have to admit that compared to his portrayal on the first movie this felt a little less charismatic.
I do appreciate though that they took out the weird romance angle of the first movie. Then again, maybe I am the only one who saw it as a romance angle. I didn't mind too much but I felt like it wasn't needed. It is just that this time it really does feel like friendship.
Next, we have another familiar face. The Red Queen aka The Queen of Hearts played by Helena Bonham Carter. We last saw her banished from the kingdom by her own sister and the wear and tear was really beginning to show. She is dating Time apparently, but she seems to be only doing it to get access to the Chronosphere, which is a shame since he does seem to really like her. I guess he really didn't know what happened to the last person she dated ---- or married.
In this movie, we learn that her large head was due to an accident and where her cruelty began. While I think it is nice to see other sides of the queen's personality, I am just not sure how I feel about putting sense in a story that isn't supposed to make sense. At least not in the way that they had to shove the moral to your face. I guess this is where as an adaptation it fails, but as a movie I think it is fine. This is definitely a lot more family-friendly than the last film. We don't see the king's head floating in a moat. The "bloodiest" thing she did in this movie was eat a plant-person's nose.
Anne returns as the White Queen and while I wasn't a fan of her portrayal last time, I think she did much better this time. She was able to play whimsical and the apologetic sister very well. I think the reason she played her character better this time is probably because she has more character this time around, but like I said about the Red Queen she makes a lot more sense than she is supposed to, which is not really a problem as a movie but a big adaptation flaw.
One thing I really didn't get is the part where they stormed the Red Queen's castle. Where is her army? She is a queen and she went to storm her sister's base with a handful of Underlanders. I would have thought that the queen would have more protection than that, especially knowing her sister's love for head-chopping and the fact that she banished her. And her people were just alright with her going to a potentially dangerous situation? Without question?
If you're going to give this movie sense, they could have at least given this part sense.
Now, for the new face. We have Time being played by Sacha Baron Cohen. I have to admit that he annoyed me at the beginning, but became surprisingly likable as the movie went on. I thought he played the character well despite everything. He did everything the character was expected to do.
He is the "Hatter" of this movie I think, which is funny since the Hatter is here too. Maybe it is because he made more appearances?
I still like the Hatter though --- but the Hatter from the first movie. Still, I don't dislike this character though and thought he was really fun. His seconds are really cute --- like mini-transformers, except they turn into minutes or hours.
Hours, minutes, seconds --- I can't decide to whether to think this is clever or not.
|Colleen Arwood Sketch|
If there is one thing about the last movie that I loved, it was Alice's many costume changes. I was disappointed a little bit that she had fewer changes in this movie.
Even if people didn't like the movie, many of those people would probably still think that the costumes are still beautiful.
The costumes are done by Colleen Atwood, who had done the costumes for movies like Snow White and the Huntsman, Memoirs of a Geisha and Edward Scissorhands.
I will start with this movie's Alice's signature costume. She said that this was what she wore to meet a Chinese Empress. While I don't think this looks like any costume I would imagine Alice wearing in the books, I thought it was well-suited for this movie. Alice is a traveler who has seen the world, this does look like it had been Asian-inspired.
|Final Outfit in the Movie.|
I love the bright colors and the crazy mix of it does make me think of Wonderland. This is something the last movie lacked since the tone was a lot darker.This also turned out to be more practical since she was doing a lot of running and bouncing from one time to another.
There are some slight changes since their first draft of this costume, like the pattern at the bottom of the pants and the design for her collar. It looked like it was supposed to designed with a skirt too. The change to instead sport pants was a welcome touch though.
This outfit also suits the change of not only the tone of this movie but Alice's new personality as an adventurer.
I suppose there are a lot of morals in the movie. It continues the "you can be whoever you want to be" theme from the last movie, which is not at all a bad lesson to teach children.
However, if you want a faithful adaptation, you will probably be disappointed which is probably good that I didn't expect it to be. The last movie was hardly faithful either. So, fans of the book shouldn't set their expectations of it resembling the book in the slightest and just think of it as its own story.
I can't say it is the "best" Wonderland-themed media out there, but I did enjoy the movie. I would still recommend fans to watch it. It is visually pretty even if the story is a bit uncertain about itself at times whether to make sense or not. Whether to be faithful to the feel of the book or the first movie.
|Alice in Wonderland|
Royal Ballet Poster
It wasn't 100% faithful. They made Alice older and they made their own love story subplot. Carroll is portrayed here to be much more charming than he was and was also the White Rabbit of the story. Actually, Carroll was a quiet scholar and his self-insert had been the Dodo, which he got from how he tries to pronounce his real name. His name is Dodgson and he has a stutter when he talks..
I also recommend Alice in Wonderland from 1986. In terms of being an adaptation, it isn't very accurate either. They still portray Carroll as a Charming gentleman, Alice is again made much older. The technology hasn't kept up yet to the story, but for the time though it was fine. However, in terms of tone and pacing, it is how I pictured Alice in Wonderland to be and it is probably why I enjoy it so much. It is a musical though so it is a little strange at times.
In the end, I am just glad I can get to see Wonderland again in a different spin. So far, it hasn't really disappointed me in any version I have seen. I even love 1903 version of it. There is always something to love, whether it is the makeup, acting, tone or the cinematography.
What about you? What's your favorite Wonderland?