Alice Through the Looking Glass - Ravages of Time
| When the Bourne novel series was being adapted for the big screen the film makers decided that instead of a direct adaptation, they would take the general idea, modernize it, and create a new story. This worked as the new story details worked better in the modern context and despite the changes they remained true to the story. When Disney went to create a live action adaptation of Lewis Carol's famous novels, they also decided to take the basic premise and create something new to it. However they didn't seem to have any rational for not using Carol's story and they veered from his vision enough that it barely resembled the source and missed the spirit of it entirely.
I had some hope that when Disney returned to this world, they would right the ship back on a course familiar to fans of the books. They chose not to. Again, they took the most basic of elements from Through the Looking Glass tossed everything else, and, like in the first film, told the most mundane, uninteresting tale they could come up with. Alice's live action big screen adventures are, dare I say it, boring. They appear to be an exercise in 2 things; giving Johnny Depp a vehicle to be as bizarre as he wants to be, and giving the special effects department carte blanch to just do whatever they hell they want. While I think Depp being Depp can be completely enjoyable, and seeing the artists visions come to life in 3D Imax could be amazing, when there isn't a story to support that amazingness, it loses its ability to actually be amazing. Alice Through the Looking Glass is even less amazing, less fantastic, less interesting than its disappointing predecessor.
While making alterations when adapting literature to the screen is something I defend, it can also go horribly wrong and here is the perfect example. Disney's first kick at this can, the animated version we are all familiar with, made its own changes, and generally works. It's not what I believe to be Disney animation's most successful film, but it captures a lot of magic and madness. The live action takes have been a complete misfire for me. I feel like Disney's live action cash ins have had varying degrees of artistic success and the Alice films have been a good example of how not to do them.
A sequel really should have a purpose beyond the fact that the first film made lots of money.