Quick Money Grabs... WTF DID I JUST WATCH?
There are few things that rub me worse than those quick money grabbing sequels. You know the movies where we, as the viewers, feel an obligation to pretend we enjoyed the movie because we loved the first one so much. I am here to tell you, you do not have an obligation to enjoy any movie, certainly not a sequel. Most definitely not a sequel that completely deviates from the story line, making the character's names the only link between the sequel and the original. Until writing these blogs, I've never noticed just how passionate I am about these said sad sequels.
Here are my most notable quick money grabbing sequels that I could not get through a full hour of because my skin was crawling in utter disappointment. The two I am talking about today, both came out in 2016, and I quote Dumbledore, "When I think about it, it's not curious at all". Was 2016 the money grabbing year? I was so wrapped up wedding planning that year that I didn't know these movies came out until present day. Glad I didn't miss anything.
I want to reiterate that I never watched these movies in their entirety but I went into both of them completely excited for the sagas to continue. However, I was unable to make it past the first hour of both movies before throwing in the towel.
Let's start with Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. What, and I mean, WHAT THE F*CK did I just watch? While researching the movie in order to fully articulate my thoughts in this post, I see the words "spin off" and "prequel" to Harry Potter. Didn't we learn from the Joey spin off from Friends and The Cleveland Show spin off from Family Guy that spin offs just don't work. For starters, and this is my own personal gripe, there is something about Eddie Redmayne's frog sounding singing voice that I can't get out of my head since I saw the 2012 movie Les Misérables. Every single time this guy opens his mouth, that's all I hear. I am aware that others may not have seen Les Misérables and those who have seen it may not have noticed, cared or may have even enjoyed the throat singing. And while I STILL absolutely loved the 2012 Les Misérables, I am not one of those people however I am the writer of this blog and I must be honest if I am going to give a review. Now that I am done with what feels like a personal attack Eddie Redmayne, I can tell you, that brought me no joy. I feel horrible about it but obviously I needed to get that off my chest since I've been holding onto it since 2012. I also want to say that I asked one of my very good friends her opinion on the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and she had a RAVE review. Different strokes for different folks and this is why I always urge everyone to draw their own conclusions on everything.
Back to my movie review, or should I say a poorly executed low budget play where I can clearly see all the props and background settings not fully reaching the ceiling? I am so confused. What was the purpose of that scene? This felt like a movie that cared more about "trick photography" as I enjoy calling cheesy, overly done or completely unnecessary "special effects" or CGI. When I think of "Harry Potter" I think of character development, I think of a huge intriguing and well thought out story line. I think of characters I root for. I barely even notice the "special effects" or CGI in Harry Potter because they aren't forced, unnatural feeling and jammed in too often in an effort to make the movie something it's not. On the contrary, these "beasts" were far from "fantastic" and I certainly do not care to know where to find them. This movie did nothing for me. I was jumping out of my skin, wishing I were anywhere but watching this movie. In my opinion Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was worse than Die Hard 2 and worse than the worst Harry Potter movie, ya know, Goblet of Fire, the one where they focused more on getting that guy from Twilight into the Harry Potter movies instead of creating good content. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was missing the rebellious and misunderstood Sirius Black, Dumbledore's wisdom, the Wesley's love, friendships that spans over generations, the selflessness of Snape, the insight of Luna and the courage of the unassuming Longbottom. I'm not even specifically asking for Hermione, Ron or Harry, I'm not a bandwagoner, I just need a story line. I want to invest my time, not waste it. I don't need special effects that could have been done more tastefully by a CGI student. I also do not need to be distracted by scenes that look like they are from the local 6th grade school play production of Oliver Twist. I'm done.
Next on the chopping block, Alice Through the Looking Glass. From the opening scene I knew this movie was going nowhere fast. I am all about girl power, true, legitimate girl power. I think the 2010 Alice in Wonderland did a fantastic job portraying a strong willed, independent woman, which captured wonderfully what girl power means to me in the truest form. I have to admit I went into the 2010 Alice in Wonderland with some reservations because I love the 1985 Alice in Wonderland so much. I love it as much as I love Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I say that because it's always in the back of my mind what Johnny Depp did with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005. And so I was prepared for him to ruin this classic as well. In the 2010 Alice in Wonderland, Depp didn't "Johnny Depp it up" as bad as I thought he would have. However I wish they didn't make him look like a Raggedy Ann and Andy doll version of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. Wrong movie folks. Why was his face painted white and why did he have orange Willy Wonka hair as the Mad Hatter? I also wish they made him more of the sarcastic and truly hilarious Mad Hatter I am used to. Instead they made his character darker than I had hoped, which would have been perfect if this were the sequel to Tim Burton's Edward Scissor hands... another classic but again, wrong movie. Contrary to all my Hatter critiques, I think the 2010 Alice in Wonderland was still a great movie over all. So I went into Alice Through the Looking Glass with hope and promise of a fantastic story line and continued great character development. I learned right away that Alice Through the Looking Glass should have been called "The Woes of The Mad Hatter"... no I'm sorry it should have been called "The Woes of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter with That Borat Actor Who Is Way Over Rated And No Longer Relevant".
Laying off the Mad Hatter hate for a second, which pains me most because the Hatter is my favorite character from the 1985 movie... Can someone please explain to me how the Queen Of Hearts was able to effortlessly and seemingly regularly visit "Time" her apparent love interest? Last I checked, the 2010 Alice in Wonderland ended with her being banished into solitary confinement with not a friend in the world. While we're talking about that very strange scene inside the grandfather clock, why in the world did those random, I assume, rogue clock parts (insert too many question marks here) turn into the movie Transformers? I was waiting for Bumblebee to start playing sweet slow jams from his radio to really set the mood between "Time" and the Queen Of Hearts.
Since I didn't make it more than 45 minutes into this movie before turning it off to watch the animated Alice in Wonderland from 1951; I am left to wonder why I heard the word "impossible" said so many times within the first 45 minutes of Alice Through the Looking Glass. We get it, Alice, like her father, "believes in at least 6 impossible things before breakfast". That was THE quote of the 2010 Alice in Wonderland. I didn't need to hear it 10 more times within the first 45 minutes of this movie. When Dumbledore hits a home run with a truly moving and inspiring quote, does he repeat it in every movie? No. He doesn't need to connect the movies by over using the same quote every three minutes. He comes out with a better more moving and inspiring quote every movie. The movies are connected because the story line connects. Alice Through the Looking Glass needs a new word or quote to convey the "nothing is impossible" message to the audience. And certainly do not mean the completely ridiculous and out of place opening ship scene. The impossible is possible IN WONDERLAND. Not in 1800's in the midst of a navel war, during a storm in shallow water. Give me something to believe, I'm begging for it at this point. Or better yet, stop creating lame sequels for quick money grabs if you don't have a legitimate story for me to invest in. While talking about ships, are you actually kidding me with the time machine that is operated exactly how a ship does, STOP. That's where I said enough is enough. Don't try to connect the dots on things that don't connect and that don't NEED to connect. That is silly. And I don't mean Alice in Wonderland silly, I'll get down in that Wonderland all day. I mean, what do you take me for? I rolled my eyes as soon as she got into that time machine, I turned to my husband and said "it operates like a ship". My husband replied "Oceans of time". A few minutes later of Alice CLEARLY driving a time machine the same way she would a ship, over the "oceans of time" finally "let the audience know", by stating the already glaringly obvious, that the time machine is like a ship. Thanks, appreciate the clarity. I had to tap out at that. The beauty of life is that sometimes words are not needed. I cannot stand when the obvious is then stated through unnecessary dialogue. Feels like I'm watching a Star Wars movie produced after Disney bought Lucasfilm.
Back to the Mad Hatter, he was entirely too dark, his speech impediment got worse since 2010, making it much harder to understand his whispers. The bogus story line was based on the Hatter's entire deceased family, that we never heard of before, but saw in one single family photo. For the record, he wasn't upset in 2010 when the Jabberwocky apparently burnt his entire family to ashes and/or his family went missing. Wonderland characters, in the words of Voldemort, "I now speak directly to you"... Instead of trying to bring back Hatter's family, why don't you all start acting like friends? Let the Hatter mourn the loss of his loved ones, his own way and at his own pace. He wasn't hurting anyone. However if you do decide to take the dangerous approach and attempt to bring back his entire family to perpetuate the fragility of his mental state; why wouldn't you go back to where he found the blue fabric from the hat and remove his trigger? That seems so much safer and more practical. It also wouldn't have wasted so much of my time. I saw Alice, in the time machine, drive right past the moment when the Hatter found the piece of hat that triggered him. She could have just removed it before the Hatter saw it. Movie over, story line over, stop wasting my time because I'm over it. Weak story line no matter how that one played out. Over all it was too much Johnny Dep as Johnny Dep and too much extra cheesy "Disney" for me.