[Warning. May Contain Spoilers]
That being said, how could anyone not be super jazzed to see Alice's latest adventures?! Check out the insane trailer below before reading on for my personal thoughts of the movie.
If you hadn't put two and two together, I have been a pretty big Wonderland fan for a long time - urmm...'Underland to Wonderland' anyone? I've been excited for Alice's next adventures in Underland since the sequel was announced (and I'm already looking forward to the next in the series which has been hinted at by producer Suzanne Todd) so we booked our tickets online as soon as they were available and headed down to Newcastle to see it on Saturday.
We took the opportunity to see in it 3D which was the right choice, despite the killer eye and headache that ensued, as there were many moments that really benefited from the extra effects.
When I originally heard that Tim Burton was not returning to direct (he did work on the movie as a producer however) after his masterpiece that was Alice in Wonderland in 2010, I was a little worried as to how Underland would now be perceived, but James Bobin not only managed to keep the darkly whimsical world alive, he also added his own stamp with the use of a lot more beautiful sets instead of relying on CGI as much. Reading all of the sadly negative professional reviews I am confused as to what these people were watching and whether they actually understand the whole concept of a Wonderland?
Personally, I was pleasantly surprised about the whole storyline. The trailers really didn't give too much away at all and I had wondered how the whole concept of 'Time' (the character, not the thing that goes too fast) would be included in the plot. I loved that although we didn't see as much of all of Alice's friends, the plot was focused around The Hatter and his family - the ever present Disney moral, this time being to always believe the impossible is possible.
Johnny Depp, although evidently a seasoned actor who has shown how diverse he is, also showed a different side to the Hatter's character. The depressed and vulnerable Hatter was emotional to witness, his family orientated storyline reminding us that we only get one and to cherish our time with them.
With it being a whole 6 years since we first met Mia Wasikowska as our Alice, she has gone from being just out of her teens to a stunning, 26 year old woman, Alice growing with her as an even more headstrong, eccentric lady successful in her crazy quests.
I can't not mention how lovely it was to hear Alan Rickman's voice as Absolem one last time, even if it was only a couple lines. That and the dedication to him at the end were two moments I soaked my tissue through haha.
As I touched upon earlier and you can see in the B-Roll below, there were a lot more real sets built for this movie, all of which had such wonderful character and detail limiting the need for as many effects. Reminiscent of Diagonal alley meets Burton's Willy Wonka, it's bright and kooky, just right for a wonderful Underland. On the other hand, where CGI was involved the quality was pretty much on par with that used in the recent Jungle Book release, especially the scenes of castle where Time lives. Yes, it is more fantastical than the realistic Jungle Book but the CGI is well done non the less.
In conclusion, Alice's literal race against time to travel to the past and help find out what happened to the Hatter's family is full of discoveries and life lessons. We see more of the characters backgrounds, why they are how they are and are introduced to different sides of them.
I love the sporadic return to reality (whatever reality may be...:P) with the mini adventure breaking up our intense time in Underland.
My main advice to anyone hoping to see this is to not take children. Yes, the rating may be PG but with a dark and serious tone, mild threat and a the odd curse word as well as a deep story, I think younger viewers would find it hard to follow or stay interested in. Even slightly scary. The brand 'Disney' seems to be getting more and more misconstrued as people automaticaly think of the animated classics, rather than other movies that are written and made for adults not kids.
Oh and don't listen to negative reviews. Always watch something and decide for yourself!
Have you seen Alice Through the Looking Glass yet? What were your thoughts on it? If not, will you be going to see it?