alice-through-the-looking-glass-movie-posterALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016) 2 STARS (Out of 5)

One hundred and fifty-one years ago, “ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND” was published under the pen-name of Lewis Carroll. In 1871, Carroll published his sequel, “THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS AND WHAT ALICE FOUND THERE.”

Disney released the following: “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” is an all-new spectacular adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories, Alice returns to the whimsical world and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.

If only it was so. You could feel the screening audience’s excitement as the lights began to dim and the screen came visually alive with psychedelic color. I was so ready to disappear into this beloved story. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before I wished the movie would deliver what Disney had promised. It was not spectacular nor was it unforgettable. But, it should have been. So, what went wrong ?

All the visual digital special effects in the world cannot cover-up a poorly conceived, written and executed screenplay. The two stars in this review are reserved solely for the excessive psychedelic aspects of the make-up and costumes. And they are spectacular.

There is a very strong cast, some of our most popular actresses and actors. Helen Bonham Carter makes the evil Red Queen come alive. Anne Hathaway as the White Queen seems more like a disappearing ghost. Mia Wasikowska as Alice has spunk and a strong streak of being a feminist. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter had to love pushing the weirdness envelope. He is strange, but brilliant. And Sacha Baron Cohen as Time himself, almost steals the movie away from Mr. Depp. Unfortunately what should have been a glorious adventure in the end turns out to be a pretty muddy and somewhat confusing journey.

Thus far this year when it comes to converting an animated film into a live-action movie, Disney is 1 for 2. As disappointed as I am with this new film, last month’s THE JUNGLE BOOK remains one of the best pictures of the year.


For those of us who love the movies, we will never forget the song written by Cole Porter for the 1957 film, SILK STOCKINGS — starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. “Today to get the public to attend a motion picture show; if you want to get the crowds to come around — you gotta have — glorious technicolor, breathtaking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound.”

It doesn’t make a difference if the year was 1939 or 1957 or 2016. Every studio executive has always wanted their new movie project to sell a lot of movie tickets and popcorn — in order to have a financial success.
Once you have those auditorium seats filled, their movie has got to be great. Unfortunately, despite the director being brilliant and the actors and actresses bona fide movie stars — without a good screenplay, the movie can be a real stinker. Unfortunately, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016) in my opinion is a real stinker.

The movie studios were always looking for a way to monitor, judge and forecast just how successful a new film would be. But, how to do this ?
And who would do this ? Next week I am going to introduce you to Ed Mintz, the founder of the remarkable CinemaScore (note the similarity to the word CinemaScope). In an exclusive interview, you will be amazed with the simplicity in its creation. There is nothing quite like this marketing research firm based in LAS VEGAS. CinemaScore surveys film audiences around the country on opening night. The audience is asked to rate their viewing experience with letter grades. The report which comes out the next morning is surprisingly accurate and forecasts box office receipts based on the data.

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