Alice Through the Looking Glass
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG // $39.99 // October 18, 2016
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted November 16, 2016
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Alice Through the Looking Glass Blu-ray Review

Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass is a family fantasy-adventure sequel to Tim Burton's live-action adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. The film stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, and features the voices of Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, and more. The film is from producer Tim Burton (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) and executive producer John G. Scotti (The Muppets).

In Alice Through the Looking Glass, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) journeys back to Underland for a brand new and exciting adventure. Alice again explores the magical Underland, filled with an assortment of talking cats, rabbits, mice, and extraordinary creatures and otherworldly things. Alice take's a hero's journey in this exciting trip back through the magical world of Underland.  

Alice discovers that the fantastical world she once knew is facing great threat from Iracebeth, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and the personification of time, Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) himself. The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) has gone off-kilter and it's up to Alice to set things right again as she travels through time itself to save Underland. Along the way, the story explores the sibling relationship between Red Queen and sister Mirana, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway).

The cinematography by Stuart Dryburgh (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Bridget Jones's Diary) is one of the most impressive things about the production. This is a visually stunning film with exquisite colors and lighting throughout. The film looks absolutely beautiful and Dryburgh's cinematography helps to bring the magical Underland to life triumphantly.

The production design by Dan Hennah (The Hobbit Trilogy) certainly impresses as well. This is a grand production design with so much detail and effort. The film has some terrific practical production designs which are exquisitely implemented with the cutting-edge special effects.

The film has exquisite art direction by a splendid team of art directors and art supervisors, involving the likes of Alex Cameron (Skyfall), Todd Cherniawsky (Avatar), Nick Gottschalk (Pride & Prejudice), Niall Moroney (Hanna), Hannah Moseley (Les Miserables), and Richard Selway (Stardust). The result is a film that looks beautiful throughout. There is no doubt that in terms of production-quality, Alice Through the Looking Glass is a first-rate production.

One of the most impressive things about the film is the costumes designed by Colleen Atwood (Into the Woods, Big Fish, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children). The cast of characters are all given uniquely distinctive looks which are perfectly suited for the story and characters. Of great note is the Asian inspired costume for Alice (which is immaculately detailed) and the rather bizarre but extraordinarily fun costume designed for Time.

The music score was composed by Danny Elfman (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman). The film has an energetic and breezy score which helps inject the film with more fun and charm. Elfman, Burton's longtime collaborator, has delivered another entertaining score for the film. It's a delightfully quirky score and it fits the film well.

The screenplay was written by Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King) as based upon the books written by Lewis Carroll. Woolverton had already implemented some elements of Alice Through the Looking Glass into the first Alice in Wonderland production. Because of this, some elements were changed for the sequel, including the way Time became personified as a fully-fledged character in the storyline. The film has a good, entertaining story with a fast pace and enough character moments to keep things interesting.

Directed  by James Bobin (The Muppets, Flight of the Conchords), Alice Through the Looking Glass is as entertaining as Tim Burton's film adaptation was. It wisely decides to stick to the same overall framework and style Burton employed, which helps to create a cohesive vision between the two different productions. Alice Through the Looking Glass is well-paced, entertaining, and creative. Bobin helped to bring forth some excellent work from his collaborators and the cast does excellent work. It's a solid family-fantasy adventure.

The Blu-ray:


Video:

Alice Through the Looking Glass arrives on Blu-ray with a technically impressive 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 185:1 widescreen. This is a beautiful looking presentation of the film. The colors, clarity, and depth are all superb. The film looks crystal clear and dynamic throughout. The colors are rich and bold. Fans of the film will not be disappointed by the quality of this presentation.

The only downside is that Disney decided to not release a 3D Blu-ray in North America. Fans of the film who enjoy 3D presentations at home will want to import a region-free 3D edition (such as the United Kingdom's 3D Blu-ray release). Aside from this disappointing decision, the 2D presentation included on this North America release is stunning and is as good as fans could hope to expect for the film on the Blu-ray format.

Audio:

Alice Through the Looking Glass is presented with a lossless quality DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround sound. This is a dynamic and immersive audio experience which is sure to satisfy audio enthusiasts. The sound effects are robust and exciting. The music score by Danny Elfman is well presented across the soundstage. Dialogue is easy to understand. This is an altogether crisp and effective high-definition audio experience.

Optional English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing), Spanish, and French subtitles are provided.


Extras:

Please Note:

This release is a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Combo Pack. The release also includes Disney Movie Rewards. The release is packaged with an impressive o-card (slipcover).

On disc supplements include:

Audio Commentary with Director James Bobin

Deleted Scenes (9 min.) cut from the final film. Optional commentary with director James Bobin is provided.

Behind the Looking Glass (9 min.) is a behind the scenes featurette on the production of Alice Through the Looking Glass, featuring interviews with director James Bobin, screenwriter Linda Woolverton, stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, and Sacha Baron Cohen, and others involved with the production.

A Stitch in Time: Costuming Wonderland (4 min.) is a behind the scenes look at the work done on the costumes for the film with designer Colleen Atwood describing her approach to these costumes.

Characters of Underland (5 min.) explores some of the character's from the film with interviews with director Bobin and screenwriter Woolverton discussing their approach to telling the story.

Time On... (2 min.) features an in-character Sacha Baron Cohen performing as Time. Time describes his thoughts on the film.

Alice Goes Through the Looking Glass: A Scene Peeler (2 min.) provides scene-comparison between unfinished raw footage of the scene and the finished version with special effects.

Alice Goes Through Time's Castle: A Scene Peeler (2 min.) is another comparison showcasing raw footage and finished footage from a sequence.

Just Like Fire Music Video (4 min.) by Pink

Behind the Music Video (3 min.) explores the making of the music video.

Final Thoughts:

Fans of Burton's Alice in Wonderland will find this to be an equally delightful and entertaining fantasy-adventure which is great fun for the entire family. Alice Through the Looking Glass features an excellent performance by lead Mia Wasikowska, incredible special effects (that should be considered amongst the best of the year), remarkable production designs, and an enjoyable story which explores Underland in a new and exciting way.

Alice Through the Looking Glass is great family entertainment and a must-see for fans of the Burton version.

Recommended.



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