Alice Through the Looking Glass review
Through the rabbit hole lies Wonderland, a world where there is no logic and the most curious of characters are here to encounter a girl named Alice, who does her best to make sense of her environment. Rhyme and reason are deconstructed in favor of total madness. Lewis Carroll figured early on that any rhyme and reason shouldn’t play a role in his book Alice in Wonderland. Rather then a flowing story, we get a series of events, similar to a road trip story, simply about a young girl who runs into various creatures like the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, March Hare, The Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, and the Jabberwocky dragon.
The stories have been adapted many times, though my favorite is the animated Disney movie from 1951. That felt the closest to the random madness that the book was getting across. The biggest adaptation though is the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland, that was anything but a word for word retelling. It was an odd blockbuster that put a young adult Alice into a political war and another prophecy plot that we’ve seen too often. It was creative at best, but forgettable at worse. Time to return to the Underland in Alice Through the Looking Glass.
It has been about three years since Alice (played by Mia Wasikowska) took her journey and came back wanting to make a career through her fathers trading ship. She has now returned to London from China where she finds out that her ex-finance Hamish has taken over her fathers company and wants her ship in exchange for her family’s home. Distraught on the issue, she encounters a butterfly as the former caterpillar Absolem (played by Alan Rickman) who leads her to a mirror that allows her to enter. This transports her through another mirror where she finds herself in Wonderland again.
She eventually finds herself in the company of her old friends the White Rabbit (played by Michael Sheen), the Cheshire Cat (played by Stephen Fry), the Tweedles, the Dormouse, and the White Queen (played by Anne Hathaway). They tell her that the Mad Hatter has been acting more crazy then usual. Alice visits him, but the Hatter (played by Johnny Depp) asks her to leave. She finds out that the Hatter’s family is what’s been bothering him, so Alice finds the half man half clock Time (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) who has a machine that can allow her to time travel to find out what happened. Oh and the Red Queen (played by Helena Bonham Carter) is out for revenge.
Alice Through the Looking Glass is a prime example on why you should read the script before geenlighting the project. Like how the last one was a political war movie, Alice should not be a time travel story either. In a world that’s supposed to be illogical and nonsensical, time travel only sets more rules that make little sense. Not to mention that this movie is really lacking much of the madness that the animated movie has always gotten correctly.
Alice is still a bore to follow. I’ve seen Mia Wasikowska give a good performance, but the emotion is so non-existent, that you question whether is was intentional. Everyone tries, but in a strange move by storytelling rules, the majority of the characters are only there to cheer Alice along. The only one I liked was Sacha Baron Cohen as Time who did get a laugh or two out of me. I just wish his character and environment was not in an Alice in Wonderland movie.
The world of Wonderland is still creative and tries to throw a lot of visuals, but another problem is that the dilemma that Alice is trying to fix almost has no connection to her real world problem. In fact, the one time they go back to real world could have been cut out and nothing would have been missed!
I’ll give this two Tweedles out of five. Alice Through the Looking Glass was not worth the six year wait (a long time considering that the last movie was a monster hit) and barley justifies a third return. I think it’s time for Alice to get out of the Wonderland clouds and stay in the real world.