Review: ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ Is Boring And Visually Dull

Title: Alice Through The Looking Glass
Director: James Bobin
Summary: Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.

I’m a huge Tim Burton apologist but I do think he’s already made his best movie (it’s Big Fish). That being said even I couldn’t apologize for Alice In Wonderland. It was one of those movies I saw and was kind of lukewarm on, but as time went on I started to hate it more and more. Now, so many years after the fact, I can hardly find anything that I enjoy in that movie. When I saw that they were making a second one I was not excited at all. In fact Alice Through The Looking Glass is a movie that sits with Jason Bourne and Star Trek Beyond as ‘high profile movies I keep forgetting are coming out’. I had low expectations going in so I hoped maybe I would leave ambivalent, if nothing else.

Alice Through The Looking Glass commits the cardinal sin of a movie based on text that was written by someone abusing drugs; it’s boring but visually uninteresting.

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Ph: Peter Mountain

At this point most people know the history of Lewis Carroll who wrote the original Alice In Wonderland stories. The best way I’ve seen Carroll and his Alice books described is ‘long form love letters to underage girls written by a possibly drug abusing Oxford graduate’ which is pretty accurate. That is why one of the first things people keep asking me is “should I watch Alice Through The Looking Glass while under the influence of some sort of substance?” The truth is that there isn’t anything interesting enough going on to make the money you’ve spent on said substance worth it. There isn’t anything remotely interesting going on here that we haven’t seen better sixteen years ago in the video game American McGee’s Alice. This isn’t some wild and trippy movie that going to give you the giggles while you’re high; you’re going to eat your entire bucket of popcorn and fall asleep.

I can honestly say that I was bored by this movie ten minutes in. We open with a ship battle that looks like something out of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and it doesn’t become less convoluted from there. I’m more curious about why this movie is called Alice Through The Looking Glass when Alice (Mia Wasikowska) seems like a secondary character in this movie. In all of the promotional material it’s the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) that is front and center. The entire plot of the movie revolves around the Hatter. Alice doesn’t get pushed aside from the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) as much this time since Tim Burton is only a producer, but she still has a huge presence in this movie. Alice is the main character but she doesn’t seem to have any real motivation outside of “save the Mad Hatter” even after being warned that her actions could have real world dangers.

If it sounds like I hate this movie I don’t really. I only saw it less than two days ago and I can hardly remember a single thing that happened. The various CGI characters are completely underused, and if this is the last movie we get with the late great Alan Rickman it’s a shame he’s never given anything to do. The CGI characters wander around the movie a few moments while Mirana (Anne Hathaway) does her best fairy princess. The 3D doesn’t get too blurry but the movie is trying so hard to be wacky and out there that they try too hard. A movie that tries to make the 3D part of the experience instead of enhancing it usually ends up giving me a headache. It’s a two hour long movie that felt like it was never going to end.

Alice Through The Looking Glass is a movie that really only has one job, to be visually interesting, and it doesn’t even accomplish that. No one in the main cast is even trying and it feels like the only reason Disney greenlit this sequel is that the first one made a ton of money in merchandise. That being said, if no one else is willing to put forth the effort to made a halfway decent movie they shouldn’t expect you to waste your hard earned money seeing it; skip it.

Kaitlyn Booth
Kaitlyn Booth
Kaitlyn Booth is a writer, film critic, comic lover, and soccer fan based in Salt Lake City. She has covered such events as the Sundance Film Festival, San Diego Comic Con, and New York Comic Con and been a special guest and panelist at Salt Lake Comic Con and FanX. She has a deep fondness for female superheroes and independent film.