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Muppets director in talks for Alice in Wonderland 2


He'll be going, “Maniacal laugh...maniacal laugh...” all the way to the bank...

'The Muppets' (2011) director James Bobin in talks for Alice in Wonderland 2 - Can even Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter cope with the Muppets' brand of lunacy?

James Bobin (Flight of the Conchords, The Muppets, the upcoming The Muppets...Again!) is in talks to direct the sequel to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010), provisionally titled Into the Looking Glass. It'll be a challenge for any director to match the sheer visual audacity and vibrancy that Tim Burton brought. (And if they don't, then the series will risk losing its muchness.) A few possible candidates with that kind of visual flair that come to mind, who've already made use of colour on that level, are Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Sam Raimi (Oz, The Great and Powerful, which arguably made the most integral use of 3D of any film other than Martin Scorsese's Hugo), Kurt Wimmer (Ultraviolet), the Wachowskis (Speed Racer), and Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers).

James Bobin may not have made a film as obviously visually stylish as those mentioned above with The Muppets, but it's nevertheless a film that looks good from a visual standpoint, albeit in a lighter way than the others. However, for some people who don't like visual overload (Why not?! It's awesome!), this may even be preferable. Also, in terms of tone, many sequels tend to be darker and heavier than the original, and while this can be effective, going lighter (if that means fun, rather than simply lightweight) can be a good way of keeping a franchise fresh. The Muppets (which rebooted an existing franchise) was terrific fun and didn't take itself too seriously, resulting in a true feel-good film. James Bobin balanced the combination of genuine heart and self-deprecating, self-aware humour very well indeed; something that could suit a quirky fantasy adventure series like Alice in Wonderland.

To bring up another recent visually stunning Tim Burton-directed book adaptation, maybe James Bobin could direct a sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Roald Dahl's book sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, is arguably not as good as the original, and a little weird and depressing in places, but an upbeat, whimsical director like James Bobin would be perfect for something like that, since he'd render anything potentially too bizarre into just pure fun.

Similarly, someone like James Bobin would be a good choice to direct an adaptation of Norman Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth, which is a little strange as a book, but its brand of inventiveness and verbal wit would lend itself perfectly to the knack for these things that James Bobin displayed in The Muppets.

Going back (to) Into the Looking Glass, maybe they could even include songs by Brett McKenzie, like setting Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky poem to music. It seems like the sort of thing that would be a natural fit for the Flight of the Conchords-style musical absurdity. And McKenzie deservedly won an Oscar for Best Song for “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets, so it's not like he can't pull it off. In fact, if they wanted to, they could even just transpose (or adapt) songs from The Muppets into Alice in Wonderland 2 ("Pictures in My Head" and "Life's a Happy Song" (or "Life's a Nonsense Poem"?), for instance, would seem to be obvious choices), though original songs would be cool.

And the title, Into the Looking Glass, calls to mind one of the most memorable moments from The Muppets, which is arguably the best cameo ever, and which I won't spoil for you here if you haven't seen it yet. (If not, why haven't you got round to it yet? Do you hate happiness? Are you Waldorf and/or Statler? :))

Maybe they could somehow incorporate Muppets-style puppets into the world of the Looking Glass. (Alice and the Muppets in Wonderland?) After all, putting puppets in a fantasy adventure world has worked before, in The Dark Crystal. Admittedly, it was a box office flop, but hey, it's a cult classic! And with Alice in Wonderland having grossed over $1 billion worldwide, it's not like the sequel will struggle to make its budget back at the box office, so they've got the freedom to make some fun, fresh creative choices.

Johnny Depp, who rocked a bizarre yet awesome Scottish accent as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, is expected to return. Most probably he was one of the key reasons for the first film's financial (as well as creative) success, along with director Tim Burton and the rest of the talented cast. One could also make a case for the film's marketing, and the fact that it was available in 3D, as additional contributing factors. (Though Tim Burton, as an auteur, and one with a distinctive visual style especially, was arguably the biggest creative factor, whereas Johnny Depp, brilliant though he is, and was in that film, is just an actor (and thus only one piece in the director's vision for the film); while Johnny Depp, due to his star power, was the biggest financial factor.)

See also:

Review: Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland IMAX 3D

10 reasons The Muppets was great

15 Essential Muppets Moments

Top ten movies that still beg for sequels


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