Alice Through The Looking Glass Review

The Plot

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp).

The Good

It’s been 6 long years since Tim Burton first gave us his re imagined version of Alice In Wonderland and while he doesn’t return to the directors seat for this belated sequel, the look he set out still shines through. Set after the dark and dismal reign of Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen, Iracebeth, the world of Underland shines a bit brighter this time under new director James Bobin.

Actually, to say that Through The Looking Glass is set entirely after the events of its predecessor isn’t strictly true. After rediscovering the world of Underland on the other side of a mirror, Alice soon goes on a journey through time as she tries to find the Mad Hatter’s parents in order to save his life. To do this, Alice must meet Time himself, here portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen in a fantastically pantomime-esque villainous role.

This time travelling element is the main part of what makes Through The Looking Glass a success. While Burton managed to set the world up in the beautifully dark way only he could do, the only task left for Bobin is to pick up where Burton left off and expand the world out a bit more. With the time travel element, the back stories of the Red and White Queens (Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway respectively) and the Mad Hatter are fleshed out. Exploring their origins in a way which ties in nicely with the story it tells.

Pulling off time travel is always a difficult thing to do but Linda Woolverton’s script respects the laws of the genre. At no point does the idea become too big for its boots or trail off in any way. As Time himself says, you can’t change the past, but you can learn from it…

The Bad

There really isn’t too much to be disappointed with in this sequel which is refreshing. However it has to be said that 6 years is too long a wait between Alice movies for any real care for the characters to stick around. Especially after the first film in the unlikely franchise was more entertaining for it’s special effects than for it’s characters or story. While Through The Looking Glass is much more interesting, it is somewhat of a struggle to gain interest for characters who had already failed to gain our interest 6 years earlier.

The Ugly Truth

James Bobin brings a colourful and interesting story to the screen with the return of the first installment’s cast as well as the introduction of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Time. Ironically, time is the main issue and perhaps had this been released sooner after Tim Burton’s 2010 adaptation the interest in the characters could have gained a bit more momentum. In a way, the six year gap diminishes what is otherwise an entertaining and ultimately better sequel.

Review by Johnny Ellis

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