First Word: Alice Through the Looking Glass is a continuation of the Tim Burton directed Alice in Wonderland. Although Alice Through the Looking Glass managed to bring back most of the original cast from the first installment, Tim Burton did not return as director for this sequel. Some may say that’s a good thing, but regardless there is no doubt that Alice Through the Looking Glass failed to capture the odd but fantastic world that Tim Burton created in Alice in Wonderland.
Plot/Synopsis: Alice (played by Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland again where she is united with her friends like the Cheshire Cat, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), and others. But someone is missing from the group: the Mad Hatter. Alice’s friends inform her that the Hatter believes his family are still alive somewhere (even though they perished in a fire many years ago). After visiting with the Hatter she tries to talk reason with him, but the Hatter won’t have it. He insists that his family is alive because he found a hat he had made his father long ago. The Hatter shuts Alice out of his home, and Alice must now go back in time to save the Hightopp family. Alice cleverly steals the Chronosphere (a time traveling machine) from Time himself (played by Sacha Baron Cohen). As she travels through the history of Wonderland, Alice realizes that you can’t change the past but you can learn from it. Alice then races back to the present to return the Chronosphere to its home before the entire world ends. Along the way she is chased by Time and the Queen of Hearts (Helena Bonham Carter). 6.5/10
Characterization: Alice Through the Looking Glass struggles to give much depth to their characters. Alice is a strong independent female captain while the rest of the men in her universe are dim-witted and dull. I appreciate strong female leads but Alice should be showing the audience that she is strong not telling us. The Queen of Hearts and her sister, the White Queen, attempt to draw emotion from us toward the end with a touching apology scene. But it falls flat because the Queen of Hearts is still a murderer and a simple apology from her sister doesn’t excuse her behavior. 6/10
Cinematography: Alice through the Looking Glass is mostly based in the colorful and whimsical world of Wonderland, but the CGI doesn’t make Wonderland believable at all. Just to put this in perspective, Alice in Wonderland (directed by Tim Burton and released in 2010) was nominated for Best Achievement in Visual Effects and went on to win two other Oscars related to Costume Design and Art Direction. However, Alice through the Looking Glass (with a 170 million dollar budget six years later) wasn’t nominated for a single Oscar and personally I think it looks worse than the original. Most of the world and CGI characters are so gaudy and non-realistic it feels like the movie may have been released in the early 2000s. It’s hard to believe that the mediocre-looking Alice Through the Looking Glass came out alongside the Jungle Book which only had 5 million more dollars in its budget. 5.5/10
Conclusion: Alice Through the Looking Glass was not as successful as its predecessor. I believe children will find the film entertaining as the March Hare, Hatter, and other characters have some funny scenes. But for adults and teens this movie will drag on as we suffer through every “time” pun the writers could think of. Whenever the film starts to lag, be rest assured that either Time or the Queen of Hearts will show up and another chase scene will ensue. Now I know some may argue that this is a children’s film, but Disney has proved that they can make films that all ages can enjoy and Alice Through the Looking Glass unfortunately isn’t one of them.
Final Score: 6/10