[spoilers] Richard Armitage is regal in Through the Looking Glass
I was somewhat torn about whether to see this on opening night, not least because I’d rather not put one single unnecessary penny in Johnny Depp’s pockets after his behavior in Australia, but in the end I did go. About six people were in the theater for the first showing at 7 p.m. I opted against 3-D and don’t think you need it to appreciate the film, although it truly is effect-laden and it has all the fanciful touches one associates with a Tim Burton film. I still find that charming, but nowadays somewhat dated. Side benefit: Hearing Alan Rickman’s voice at the beginning of the film. Surprise: Armitage is billed in the credits after the film, which I wasn’t expecting. It was a slightly larger role than I’d been led to believe.
The film itself — well. I’d read the “Alice” books in the original when I was a teen and did not revisit them before seeing this film. This film has practically no relationship to the book it adapts anyway. I also felt no need to see the previous Burton “Alice” film, as I don’t enjoy the material, although I think my awareness of what was going on this one might have been enhanced by seeing the earlier one. It’s on the didactic side for a Disney film, I found, very fairy-talish, with acting to match. Sacha Baron Cohen was quite funny as Time, and I thought Leo Bill as Hamish was quite amusing as well. Helena Bonham Carter was playing yet another variation on a mean, weird character. Mia Wasikowska was good (she’s a favorite actor) but the material was not worthy of her talents, and Anne Hathaway played an insipid character insipidly. The ending of the film was more dependent on its use of effects than the script to make its point, and the script was at times truly annoying, particularly at the end.
Not annoying: Richard Armitage! It was neat to go to the theater and know he’d be there but not be nervous about it. He plays the father of the Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway characters, and we see him in two scenes — the fateful coronation of the Red Queen (where we see a lot more of him than we have in the previews) and then just a glimpse in a subsequent scene where he rushes in to scoop up his daughter (this is where he’s wearing the Shakespearean costume he tweeted a picture of himself in). He has a couple moments of just his face occupying the whole screen (sigh!) and he kings with a combination of majesty and sorrow for his tempestuous daughter. His voice is more in the John Proctor register than in the Thorin depths, but this was fine with me — more resonance this way, which makes him seem even more regal. The man just moves with a ton of gravitas and he looks with every watt in his eyes — you almost don’t know what he is saying.
the film was meh, Richard Armitage was wonderful and just the icing I needed on my evening. I’m not going to see it again in the theater, but I’m glad I did make the time to see his sensitive face (and those big forehead muscles!) on the huge screen. Swoon. Fairytale king, take me away!