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Alice Through the Looking Glass

Coming Soon

I must begin by stating I really did not like the first Alice in Wonderland (2010) by Tim Burton. I appreciate the Disney cartoon and respect the Lewis Carroll novel but Burton’s film felt all over the place and not in a fun and zany way. Alice Through the Looking Glass however, directed by James Bobin (The Muppets (2011), Muppets Most Wanted (2014)), is much easier to follow even though it is quite different from the novel it’s based on. Quite different as in it is nothing like the novel and simply borrowed the title.
Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is back, this time she’s the captain of a ship called The Wonder, given to her by her father. When she comes back from her voyage, Alice discovers that for reasons outside of her control, she must give up The Wonder.
It is only after the stress and chaos of losing her ship that Alice discovers the looking glass, which transports her back to Wonderland. Upon Alice’s return, we are greeted by the same old gang from the first film, except this time they inform Alice that The Hatter (yes, the mad one played by Johnny Depp) is in utter distress. Once Alice investigates further, she discovers that The Hatter believes his long dead family to still be alive and needs Alice’s help in finding them, thus begins our next big adventure!
If you, like me, are not a fan of the somewhat tiresome portrayal of The Mad Hatter by Depp, don’t fret too much as he isn’t in each scene for an unbearable amount of time. Sometimes less is truly more.
Alice is acting independently for majority of the film and must plead with Time himself, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, in order to figure out what really happened to the Hatter family. One of the funnier parts of the film is when the tea party subjects Time to a barrage of puns about time, throwing themselves in to a fit of giggles as well as amusing the audience. I suppose many of the phrases spoken in our world like “Time is a friend to no man, having time on your hands, and it being a matter of time” are truly universal.
We also get some backstory as to the two queens portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway (a character I can really and truly do with less of).
The computer generated imagery was bright and inviting. It feels as though the James Bobin followed in the stylish footsteps of previous director, Tim Burton. I’m not all together convinced that 3D was necessary although I never am. Can you imagine filming a movie almost entirely in front of a green screen? I give props to the actors as they gave convincing performances despite being surrounded by almost entirely made up images. I do, however, think Alice Through the Looking Glass will be the last film with this cast. It’s not just because they’ve run out of books (although the plot of this film appears to have been almost entirely made up by the studio) but because in the end, Alice informs The Hatter that she fears this is the last time she will see him. I suppose this could mean the last time for these two characters but I am hoping this is the end of this Disney chapter.
Alice was not only independent in this film but she was confident. It was nice to see some character growth between the two films. This growth sets a good example for the children in the younger demographic the film is marketed towards. I personally found it much more cohesive and tolerable. Fans of the novel may not appreciate the way this movie is based so loosely on the novels, creative liberties taken and all of that jazz. Overall, Alice Through the Looking Glass gives the feeling of returning to summer camp and seeing old friends. With solid performances, a simple plot to follow, and fantastic imagery, Wonderland is just as wonderful and inviting as ever.

Alice Through the Looking Glass is streaming now on the following services:
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