Director: James Bobin
Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sasha Baron Cohen
Release Date: 27 May 2016
The sequel to the popular Tim Burton live-action Alice in Wonderland is finally here (now that Mia Wasikowska has had 6-years to grow into the role) and it’s full to the brim with visual magic, even if the narrative is a little predictable.
Alice Through The Looking Glass sees Alice’s (Wasikowska) hectic return to the whimsical Underland, reuniting her with the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) and, unfortunately, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter.) With Tim Burton’s departure from the director’s chair (he exec produced the movie instead) the film is indeed curious; in that it pretty much deviates entirely from Lewis Carroll’s novel, instead focusing on the more linear story of Alice coming to the rescue of the Hatter in a mission to find his family.
The film opens with Alice deep into a career as a sea captain, having rejected her responsibilities at home; the dullness of a domestic and quiet life. Faced with the very real prospect of not being allowed to go back to sea as a captain, she finds her magical looking glass, and without hesitation once more leaps into the more exciting, magical world of Underland.
There Alice learns that her dear friend Hatter is wallowing in life-threatening depression (shown by greying hair, pale makeup and a loss of colour to his bright eyes) because he’s found an object that makes him believe his family is alive; the very first hat that he ever made. “Your family are dead,” says Alice, as she finds him on his sick bed. “It’s impossible.” If there’s anything these films bring to light- it’s that nothing is really impossible if you just look at things a little differently.
The narrative, entertaining as it is, is a little straightforward and plays it safe with what is essentially one of the most challenging and interesting pieces of children’s literature of all time. Being on the straight and narrow, it only allows for very fleeting bursts of nonsense and creativity outside of the story, which is a bit of a shame as it’s kind of the reason people love Carroll’s writing. Alice Through The Looking Glass is lacking in the truly ‘wonderful’ and the sense of the ‘unknown’ is lost, as the characters suddenly start sharing scientific reasons behind why things are the way they are. Put simply, Underland is just a lot less weird and wonderful. It’s an entertaining and visually-beautiful film, however, and holds up as a popcorn movie that the whole family can enjoy.
By Lauren Tina Brady