Alice Through the Looking Glass is directed by James Bobin and stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sasha Baron Cohen. The movie is the sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton and is about Alice (Wasikowska) coming back to Wonderland and having to travel back in time in order to save the Mad Hatter (Depp).
I was not a fan of Tim Burton’s re-imagining of Alice in 2010, but that movie did end up grossing a billion dollars, so I am not surprised that this sequel arrived, but that did not make me excited to see it. While Burton may not be on board anymore, this movie certainly still feels like he’s at the helm with wild visual effects and whacky characters that mostly work to the movie’s benefit. Wonderland has always been a place where sense is basically thrown out the window, so making the visual effects incredibly bright and exotic only makes sense.
I also grew to like Johnny Depp substantially more in this movie than in the 2010 film, and that is probably because he can’t be as weird as he was before, given the role in this movie. The more subdued, dramatic role with a hint of crazy is exactly what Depp does best, and this movie gets much closer to that than the film from six years ago.
I also thought the character of Time was a very interesting one, even if I didn’t care for Baron Cohen‘s performance. Time isn’t a hero or a villain, rather he is just trying to keep the world of Wonderland from falling apart completely, and I thought the idea was handled well.
The problems I had with this movie are very similar to the one’s I have with the 2010 film: weak storytelling and massive overacting. The plot, while having some semi-decent moments, is pretty stale for a movie about traveling through time. Alice just kind of goes to one place in time, does some stuff, goes back to another place in time, and repeats, and it starts to feel repetitive pretty quickly.
I didn’t like Mia Wasikowska as Alice in 2010, and I certainly don’t like her now. She just feels so lifeless and bland in a world full of potential whimsy, and she just drags the movie down with her.
On the opposite spectrum, Helena Bonham Carter is just the worst as the Red Queen for completely different reasons. Carter must think yelling is the root of all evil, because all she ever does is shout, and she gave me much more of a headache than anything else. Also, the fact that a pivotal scene in a movie involves who ate the pastry and who didn’t is not a story element that should be in any movie, let alone this one.
Overall, Alice Through the Looking Glass felt like more of the same from the billion-dollar film that came before it. While the world is neat to look at and there are some cool ideas, the movie is never as interesting as it would like to be, and it also suffers from having a weaker director than Tim Burton on hand. While I don’t think this is a sequel that is significantly worse than the original, that’s not saying much considering the film that came before it.
What did you think of Alice Through the Looking Glass? Comment below with what you think.