Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Directed by: James Bobin
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway
Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was an odd pseudo-sequel to the cartoon, picking up on an older Alice who has forgotten her childhood trip to Wonderland but is destined to save it from the Red Queen once again. Alice Through the Looking Glass picks up three years later, with Alice struggling to hold onto her adventurous lifestyle in the real world. She is pulled back into Wonderland to help the Mad Hatter by going back in time and saving his family. This will require acquiring the Chromosphere from Time, a psychical manifestation of time itself.The time travel aspects of the film serve little purpose, offering little in the way of exciting revelations and taking up much of the running time. The story focusing on the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and her relationship with her younger sister is particularly dull, hinging on a lame secret kept by Anne Hathaway’s Mirana. The time travel ends up having no real relation to the Mad Hatter’s quest to find his family, simply setting up the finale that sees the Red Queen abusing the Chronosphere.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s Time is actually one of the strongest parts of the film, though sadly his characterisation is incredibly inconsistent. He seems to be in control of time, its protector and also somehow time itself. He’s also a highly ineffective villain, at no real point posing a threat to Alice’s quest. However, the character is fun for the most part, with Cohen clearly enjoying the role.The real world set segments drag the film down; Alice isn’t a well enough established character to make the audience care about her desire to explore. Mia Wasikowska once again isn’t given much to do and it makes Alice seem a bland, lifeless character as a result. The finale tries to suggest Alice has learnt something from her adventure in the film, before undoing it entirely – setting up an implausible ending that wraps up her story too perfectly.
As a whole Alice Through the Looking Glass is a mess, somehow even more so than the last film. Hopefully Disney won’t milk a second sequel out of this franchise and will just let it die.