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James Bobin
Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway
Writing Credits:
Linda Woolverton

Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to help the Mad Hatter.

Box Office:
$170 million.
Opening Weekend
$26,858,726 on 3763 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 113 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 10/18/2016

• Audio Commentary with Director James Bobin
• “Behind the Looking Glass” Featurette
• “A Stitch in Time” Featurette
• “Characters of Underland” Featurette
• “Time On…” Featurette
• “A Scene Peeler” Featurettes
• Music Video
• “Behind the Music Video” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Previews


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Alice Through the Looking Glass [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 1, 2019)

Six years after 2010’s live-action Alice In Wonderland became a hit, the semi-inevitable sequel arrived. From much of the same talent, 2016 produced Alice Through the Looking Glass.

For three years, Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) sailed the seas and visited China. Back in England, she learns that her former fiancé Hamish (Leo Bill) capitalized on her mother’s (Lindsay Duncan) financial issues, a circumstance that forces Alice to choose between her ship and the family home.

Unhappy with this, Alice seeks an escape to Underland, the magical realm she stumbled onto in younger days. However, not all seems idyllic, as the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) can’t find his family. This sets Alice on more adventures as she attempts to help the Hatter solve his problems – and her own as well.

As noted, the 2010 Wonderland sold a hunka-bunch of tickets. The movie made more than $1 billion worldwide and was the year’s second-biggest hit in the US.

Many sequels make less than their predecessors, but no one could’ve predicted the massive decline that came with Glass. While the first film made $334 million in the US, the second chapter generated a shockingly low $77 million.

Overseas receipts didn’t compensate, so Glass wound up with only $299 million total. Given its $170 million budget, it lost a boatload of money, and any hopes of a third Alice immediately evaporated.

Given that I didn’t much care for the first film, I didn’t see the second theatrically, so Disney can blame me for some of that discrepancy. I finally decided to give the movie a look on Blu-ray to figure out if Glass deserved such a miserable financial fate.

Yeah, pretty much, though I admit I can’t figure out why audiences loved the 2010 film and avoided the 2016 tale. Both offer triumphs of visual design over characters and storytelling, so I don’t really understand why one soared and the other flopped.

Whatever the case, Glass comes with all the flaws I found in the 2010 flick and nothing fresh to elevate it. Despite a different story and some new characters, the 2016 movie seems depressingly similar to its lifeless predecessor.

In terms of story, it seems like a stretch to make the Hatter’s family a core aspect of the narrative, though in truth, that element acts like a MacGuffin. The Hatter himself doesn’t show up on screen as much as one might expect, and the dilemma related to his clan feels more like an excuse to send Alice on a quest than an organic plot choice.

Who knew the Hatter had a family? Who cared?

No one, I suspect, and that creates a void. This leads to a movie that ambles from one action set piece to another without a lot of coherence, and nothing on display offers much excitement.

Despite the same cast as last time – and the addition of talents like Sacha Baron Cohen – the actors fail to add spice to the proceedings. Wasikowska remains bland and uninspiring as our lead, and no one else picks up the slack.

Really, it feels like all involved did the movie for paychecks. The returning actors don’t show charisma in their roles, and new performers like Cohen seem no more engaged.

Who can blame them? The actors seem like pawns for the wild, wacky world of Underland, just props amidst all the visual effects and production design.

Despite some iffy CG, the movie does tend to look good, as it creates a vivid visual universe. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seem to think lush sets and costumes compensate for an absence of compelling characters or story beats.

All of this leads to a tedious 113 minutes of fantasy. Glass could’ve given us a vivid adventure but it forgets to develop the basics.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Alice Through the Looking Glass appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This became an excellent presentation.

Overall sharpness worked well. Virtually no softness materialized, so the movie appeared accurate and concise.

I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.

The colors of Glass tended toward a mix of amber and teal, with occasional brighter hues such as the purple of Alice’s Chinese garb. Within stylistic choices, the tones seemed well-rendered..

Blacks seemed dark and right, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. Across the board, this became a terrific image.

Via the fantasy elements, the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix displayed lively elements. Action-ish moments fared best, as those showed movement and range.

Good stereo music and general ambience added to the package as well. This meant we got a nice sense of place with nice impact from the more dynamic sequences.

Audio quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy, with strong low-end during those “action” moments.

Speech appeared concise and crisp. All of this created an engaging mix that suited the film.

Despite the movie’s financial failure, the Blu-ray comes with a good mix of extras, and this start with an audio commentary from director James Bobin. He presents a running, screen-specific look at the source and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, costumes, effects, music and related domains.

Although I can’t find much to fault in Bobin’s commentary, I can’t discover a lot to excite me either. While the director touches on appropriate subjects and does so in a perfectly pleasant manner, he never elevates the track to become anything special. This is a good discussion that lacks the spark it needs to turn into something memorable.

Featurettes follow, and Behind the Looking Glass goes for eight minutes, 39 seconds. It includes notes from Bobin, screenwriter Linda Woolverton, executive producer John G. Scotti, producers Suzanne Todd and Tim Burton, production designer Dan Hennah, and actors Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Johnny Depp, and Mia Wasikowska.

“Behind” examines the Alice stories and their adaptation, plot and characters, cast and performances, sets and production design. “Behind” offers a glossy but moderately informative reel.

With A Stitch in Time, we find a four-minute, 24-second piece with costume designer Colleen Atwood. She tells us about her choices for the wardrobe in this useful clip.

Characters of Underland fills four minutes, 47 seconds with info from Bobin and Woolverton as they discuss the film’s CG-animated roles. A few minor nuggets emerge but this remains a thin chat.

Next comes Time On…, a one-minute, 46-second segment that gives us an interview with “Time”. This means Sacha Baron Cohen in character, and it’s a pretty amusing snippet.

Under A Scene Peeler, we get clips for two segments: “Alice Goes Through the Looking Glass” (2:27) and “Alice Goes Through Time’s Castle” (1:33). After intros from Bobin, we see raw footage and then the final clips with added effects. These bring us a decent view of the way effects changed the photography.

A music video for Pink’s “Just Like Fire” ensues. The video sends Pink to Underland and casts her as multiple characters along with a couple cameos from movie actors. It’s less entertaining than it sounds, but I appreciate its ambition.

We also find a featurette that goes Behind the Music Video. It runs three minutes, two seconds and offers notes from Pink and director Dave Meyers. They don’t tell us much of interest, but the shots from the production add value.

Five Deleted Scenes fill a total of eight minutes, 56 seconds. These tend toward fairly minor character beats and don’t seem especially interesting.

We can watch the clips with or without commentary from Bobin. He gives us basics about the segments as well as why he cut them. Bobin brings decent thoughts.

The disc opens with ads for Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Finding Dory. Sneak Peeks adds previews for Rogue One, Once Upon a Time and Shadow Hunters. No trailer for Glass shows up here.

A financial flop, Alice Through the Looking Glass killed a potential franchise dead. Audiences made the right choice to shun this dull, uninspired sequel. The Blu-ray boasts strong picture and audio along with a reasonable array of bonus features. Glass never gets off the ground.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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