This week at the movies: Alice and the Mad Hatter return for another topsy-turvy adventure through Wonderland; and our X-Men mutant superheroes are also back for yet another action-filled installment.
Alice Through the Looking Glass
After slipping through a mirror, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) finds herself back in Underland with the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, Absolem the caterpillar-turned-butterfly (voiced by the late Alan Rickman), Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Her friends tell her that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is depressed over the death of his family. Hoping to save his loved ones, Alice steals the Chronosphere from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) to travel into the past. While there, she encounters the younger Hatter and the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).
Perfect for: Those who adore Johnny Depp and his very whimsical Mad Hatter character; those who enjoyed the first (very eccentric) Alice in Wonderland film (it was pretty trippy).
What the Critics Say: Like the first movie, Alice Through the Looking Glass is quite the crazy visual experience; there are a ton of absurd visual effects and nutty characters. The New York Times opines: “The best and maybe the only way to appreciate Alice Through the Looking Glass is to surrender to its mad digital excess and be whirled around through time and space in a world of grotesque overabundance.” Variety adds: “The computer effects are loud and occasionally obnoxious, yet skillfully designed; [the] costumes are lavish; and most of the performances (especially Hathaway’s dizzy White Queen) chew just the right amount of scenery.”
Our Take: With all its psychedelic eye candy, this film is definitely meant to be seen in 3-D on the big screen.
Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel's X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy), must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction. Also starring James McEvoy, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, Olivia Munn, and Sophie Turner.
Perfect for: Fans of the X-Men movie franchise.
What the Critics Say: Maybe not the best installment of the X-Men epic, but certainly a fine one. Although less emotionally complex than the other films, Variety still predicts the movie to be a box office hit: “While the best X-Men movies are defined by their keen intelligence, casual wit and deep reserves of emotion (with an affinity for social commentary bordering on Very Special Episode territory), Apocalypse serves those virtues up in minimal doses, settling for an extravagant display of visual effects…That should be enough to secure robust box office overseas, but domestic results could fall notably short of Future Past’s sterling $234 million gross.” Variety also compliments its actors and the overall production quality, calling the cast a “lineup [that] isn’t short on talent or charisma” and stating that the film “represents a high level of Hollywood craftsmanship.”
Our Take: We love X-Men, so we’ll have to see this one (which we think should also be experienced in 3-D, too).