Alice: Through the Looking Glass 2016

alice-through-the-looking-glass-poster-aliceArt for art’s sake is definitely the reason to see this movie. Any of the clips or special effects by itself is a magnificent example of computer graphic work, blending actors and effects as one.

But, if you ever intend on making a successful and emotionally rewarding movie consider this:

They say if you don’t have a good script then all the eye candy in the world won’t save you. This movie also is a case in point.

PLOT: – A good effort to continue the theme as a developing sequel. However, if the intent was to “Save the Mad Hatter” then more understanding of the times of when the story was first written would have helped the current scriptwriter to produce a more endearing story.

As a historical writer I can tell you from 2 seconds of research that The mad hatter of the 1800s is a tragic figure. Children worked just as hard as their parents without safeguards. Hatters were often saturated in toxic chemicals, effecting their brains to the point of insanity, a story in itself. A shop keeper would no doubt put his best foot forward for sales and stay clean dressed in a fine suit. Meanwhile Jr. would be in the back, making hats, while breathing in mercury vapors. Mercuric Nitrate was required for the felting process. This exposure produced Mad Hatter’s Disease.

At least Depp and the makeup department got it right when they did both Depp’s eye and hand makeup coupled with his character’s psychosis. Johnny Depp returns as the Mad Hatter in the long-awaited followup to 2010's "Alice in Wonderland." This 2016 release is called "<strong>Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass</strong>."

The other unfortunate aspect of the script was that so much had to be communicated with subplots of Alice/Madhatter/Red Queen/and Time, that there was no TIME to get to know any of the fine actor/characters such as Anne Hathaway or cameos of Vernessa Redgrave and voice over of the late Allan Rickman. What a waste – why pay for top notch actors and actresses only to use them as cardboard cutouts or star power on a billboard?

When you have such masterful computer generated artwork, you sometimes want to hold a shot and give the viewer pause to admire your work. Perhaps I should say that again and use an underline. When you have such masterful computer generated artwork, you sometimes want to hold a shot and give the viewer pause to admire your work.

Alice Through The Looking Glass

For example the scene pictured above had all the potential character charm, like the ‘Porceline Doll’ from the movie OZ.

Instead the scenes were edited like a 30 second commercial on a time viewing budget.

Editing director Andrew Wiesblum and head director James Boden created viewer whiplash by cookie cutting equal time for hundreds of shots all with the same time spacing of like 0.66 seconds. What happened? … Too much sugar in their coffee or did they just stop after filming and say, “Oh shit, we got just 3 hours left to edit and put it in the can!”?

An alternative would be an animation style shot where you build anticipation first. E.G. instead of instantly showing Alice’s highly detailed outfit all at once, pan up from the feet to her and her mothers face and then pull the camera back to show the whole ensemble. But that is not why we are here.

What we are truly here for is the CG propective of the film.

Which brings us to Computer Graphics:
Every cloud has a silver lining and for Alice its the Art Department. In this movie it’s the computer generated characters and compositing that are the heros. Cudos for Art Direction by:

Alex Cameron, Todd Cherniawsky, … supervising art director Nick Gottschalk, Niall Moroney, … supervising art director Hannah Moseley and Richard Selway for exhibiting a total display of art styles ranging from quaint bw sketches on the control panel of the chronosphere to distorted heads and hair raising hares. Other people to keep an eye on for creativity are

Production Design by

Dan Hennah

Set Decoration by
Anna Lynch-Robinson
Ra Vincent

Costume Design by
Colleen Atwood

and the entire Makeup Department.

3D viewing vs. 2d takes us back to editing. Lisa and I watched it in 3D and enjoyed it. Yet again, many of the shots where medium/closeups of the actors/actresses providing limited 3D effect and additional discord when moving from shot to shot. Most complaints from critics were that scenes were overwelming. I would attribute this to placement of colorful but irrelavant background characters such as the vegetable lady on the left, a reluctance to use depth of field for on the camera or opposing background colors which would have made the characters more of the primary focus. Otherwise with all these cool things to see our eyes need more time to take it all in. Thus the whiplash effect as the clips dart our view.

Mia Wasikowska as Alice returns to the fantastical realm of Underland in “Alice Through The Looking Glass.”

In conclusion, while reviewers, like Rolling Stone gave it a 40% with comments such as,

Everything is too much, making the movie look like Willy Wonka threw up all over his chocolate factory. – Peter Travers

and mixed reviews from viewers,

the CG work is actually an encyclopedia of effects and art design.

See for yourself.

Posted in Animation, Blog, Compositing and Special VFX, Concepts-Scripts,-Storyboards Tagged with: , , ,

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