Movie Date: Alice Through The Looking Glass (PG)
Though visually stunning with some fine performances, the film does not fulfil its potential.
STARRING: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen
DIRECTOR: James Bobin
THE SKINNY: Having lost her father's business and ship to creditors, a dispirited Alice (Wasikowska) chances upon a magical mirror and returns to Underland. She learns her dear friend Mad Hatter (Depp) is going even more bonkers. She must confront Time (Cohen) and save Hatter before it is too late.
There's never been a movie with more redheads than this.
In a flick overstuffed with weirdness, this struck me as the weirdest thing of all.
There's the Hatter and the Red Queen. Then there's the Hatter's large family and the villainous dork Hamish (Leo Bill).
Aside from the tresses, I enjoyed the look and vibe of this follow-up to Tim Burton's 2010 original.
Wasikowska has never looked less boring, thanks to her vivid, whimsical costumes.
The places - from Time's clockwork lair to the Queen's heart-shaped castle - show imagination.
It was also fun to watch Alice zoom through time with her Chronosphere.
Unfortunately, there's just too much CGI. You get no sense of solidity.
The beauty of the film is shallow. It could have been much improved with a greater use of real sets and practical effects.
There was a better balance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
As for the story, I was surprised by how many feels it gave me.
Maybe I'm just a sucker for Depp.
Though Alice Through The Looking Glass has so far bombed with audiences and critics, I'm glad I saw it.
There are bits of magic amid the ostentatious spectacle.
JASON JOHNSON, 3/5
This is definitely one flick that should not be judged by its cover.
It looks so wondrously beautiful, but if you pry away the aesthetics, the substance is sorely lacking.
There is a disconnect between the spectacular visuals and the plot.
Even if you throw out any thoughts that this has anything to do with Lewis Carroll's beloved tale, the story here is incoherent and superfluous at various parts.
Is this because Burton did not return as director?
He might be serving as producer, but Bobin does not inject that off-kilterness needed to go with Burton's wacky vision.
The sequel is just a waste of talent.
Bobin has solid actors to play up the flamboyant characters, but fails to do much with them.
Burton's fearsome threesome - Depp, Carter and Cohen - know how to deliver over-the-top performances that fit into this world.
Cohen's Time conveys mischief, and Carter's Red Queen is not only hilarious, she makes you want to root for her.
Depp also shows his Hatter has much depth underneath that crazy make-up.
Some of their moments may be exaggerated, but next to Wasikowska and Hathaway's bland acting, the trio are the only saving grace of this messy movie.
JOANNE SOH, 2/5
THE CONSENSUS: Though visually stunning with some fine performances, the film does not fulfil its potential.