Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Sasha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Rhys Ifans, Matt Lucas, Lindsay Duncan. Richard Armitage, Ed Speelers. Featuring The Voices Of: Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen
Directed By: James Bobin
Plot: Alice (Wasikowska) has to journey back to Wonderland one more time to help the Hatter (Depp) who has lost his mind… again.
What Works: There’s a sense of familiarity that works here, even though this is a largely unwarranted sequel. Still, it was nice seein Wasikowska doing her best to make this film good, and Carter is always great. There are some really imaginative production designs here that I appreciate, and the film itself has a strong core message about time, and also family.
What Doesn’t Work: Depp’s Hatter was a little grating this time around. We’re supposed to take him more seriously now? I missed the “mad” hatter, and having “moping” hatter just didn’t cut it for me. It’s like what they did with Cars 2, when Mater got catapulted to the main character role. While Alice is still the main character here, in terms of screentime, this whole film is ABOUT the Hatter. No longer is it directly about Alice learning an important life lesson. Yes, she does learn a life lesson, but it’s kinda weak. It feels more like an afterthought that they threw in. I’d say this is a solid example of why Disney shouldn’t make sequels to their hit live-action reboots, like The Jungle Book. These films have a great core story for the original, but when you try and go back to the well, it doesn’t work. This story is nowhere near as interesting as the original, and you can’t help but feel let down by its existence. It’s also a bit odd watching director James Bobin attempt to replicate that Tim Burton feel the whole movie. It never quite works. It always feels like an imitation, and lacks the unexpectedness of an actual Burton film.
Final Word: There’s a reason this was ignored in theatres. The majority of the cinemagoing population realized we didn’t need this sequel. Not that it’s terrible, or awful, and really neither was Cars 2. It’s just unnecessary, and isn’t that a reason enough to stay away?
Final Grade: C