Over the weekend, I was privelage to take part in a drive-in double screening of both Disney's Finding Dory and Alice Through The Looking Glass. Displeasure, in its usual form that comes with drive-ins (people with trucks and jeeps parking in direct line of your view, long waits in line for the restroom, yada yada), wasn't - to my surprise - the greatest of issues with this seriously unnecessary sequel.
The film's biggest issue, following suit of the original film, is the almost cringe-worthy dedication of the film's entire plotline to Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter. Although not nearly consuming as as the first film, Through The Looking Glass spent entirely too much time delving far too deeply into the PTSD backstory of the usual side character. I don't think I'm alone when I say, "enough is enough". The film is called Alice Through The Looking Glass, not Mad Hatter and the Girl Called Alice Who Just Happens to Pop in Every Now and Again. Throughout the movie, Depp's involvement - even in the slightest - becomes near insufferable as he bumbles around in his typical over-the-top parade of endless scene-chewing.
But, Depp wasn't the only cartoon pop-up that spent too much time occupying the screen. Burton's ex, Helena Bonham Carter, is also back for some reason. With all the limitless possibilites the world of Wonderland has to offer, bringing back the Queen of Hearts at this point just seems utterly lazy on the filmmakers part. Joining her, paining all viewers to no end, is Anne Hathaway in probably one of her worst and insufferable roles to date as The White Queen.
In all my grief, there are few things to adore about this obvious attempt to make everyone believe Dark Shadows didn't happen. I do, however, have to give credit to the visual effects department who did manage to dazzle and entrap me long enough to sit through what can only be described as a rotten tomato. The review website, in what I think is a gift of generousity, averaged a score for the film of 30%. And with a lackluster box office performance of around 240 million, it seems audiences agree wholeheartedly. Let me just remind you that, that take-in is roughly eight-hundred-million less than the original film managed to gross. Ouch. That's a lot. Even though it still outgrossed its budget, it wasn't enough for the film to escape the deadly title of Hollywood flop.
So, should you see the film? That's entirely up to you. I'm not currently in the business of spoiling a film's entire plot for no reason. All I do is offer a warning: Don't go in with high expecations of a total change from the original Burton film. You'll be sorely disappointed if you do.