By Christian DiMartino
Johnny Depp is going through a bit of a rough patch right now, and Alice Through the Looking Glass isn’t helping any.
His career has been in a slump since… well, kind of starting with Alice in Wonderland. Not to mention the scandal involving his wife, Amber Heard. Oh yeah, and critics are dancing all over this film’s face. My verdict? Perhaps it’s because I set the bar very very low, but I didn’t hate it.
I found Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland deeply disappointing. Yes, it was visually gorgeous, but everything just fell short. It fell as hard as Alice fell down the hole. I didn’t hate it, but it was a missed opportunity. But contrary to my word, the film was a complete smash (and picked up two well deserved Oscars for Costume and Production Design), so now that brings us to this newest one. I’d say it’s just as good as its predecessor, in that it’s not that good.
So let’s get crackin’. Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now a sailor or something. I don’t know that storyline is irrelevant. Anyways, she comes across the blue butterfly (voiced by the late great Alan Rickman), and he leads her to the Looking Glass. She goes in it, falls down, ladi-dah. As soon as she enters Wonderland, she is immediately met with bad news.
The Hatter (Depp) has found the first hat he ever made, and finding this hat has led him to believe that his family (who was supposedly killed by that Jabberwocky thing) is still alive. He’s distraught, because nobody believes him. He’s also dying. So The White Queen (Anne Hathaway) tells Alice that she has to find some time travel thingy, and go back and find out what happened. In order to obtain said time travel thingy, she must steal it from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) himself.
It’s all a load of nonsense. I’m not sure why I didn’t hate this film, because I had a lot of problems with it. All Alice really has to do is travel to when The Hatter finds that hat, and steal it before he finds it. Boom. Movie’s over. But of course, they have to make it longer. Like all time travel films though, I will admit that I liked some of the ideas in Alice Through the Looking Glass. I also liked the over-the-top-ness of Cohen.
Which leads me to the rest of the performances. They’re all pretty subpar, considering the actors at hand. And I’ll say this (and it saddens me to say it), I only really sensed awfulness whenever Helena Bonham Carter was onscreen. She might’ve given the exact same performance in the previous film (it was forgettable so I have no clue), but every aspect of her character drove me… well, mad, for the lack of a better term. Why does she have these vegetable creatures? I don’t know. I didn’t know she had a terrible performance in her, but we found one.
But yet as a whole, I was entertained. It’s kind of like McDonald’s: What’s put in front of me might not be good for me, but I stuff my fat ass anyway. Like its predecessor, it’s a visual marvel. The visual effects splatter you in the face, and I didn’t even see it in 3-D. Also, Atwood’s costume design is once again a work of genius (as it was in another unnecessary sequel from earlier this year, The Huntsman: Winter’s War). She’s got some Oscar nominations coming.
So yeah, I’m easily amused. This is not a good film- in fact, it’s probably an awful one. But because I went in there with such a negative outlook, I left not happy, but not totally miserable either. It’s very strange. You’re definitely better off watching the animated Disney film from the 50s, or listening to Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit. There’s better, and there’s worse.
Really though, did we need this movie? I’ll tell ya: Go ask Alice.
I think she’ll know.