Alice In Wonderland came out roughly six years ago, so my memory was definitely a little foggy when I saw the sequel. But with this sequel came a sense of nostalgia, even though the gap between the movies was big it still felt like it was just yesterday that I saw the first one. The characters look exactly the same but the direction of the story in Alice Through A Looking Glass might not be interesting enough to bring fans back if they enjoyed the first film.
Alice Through The Looking Glass starts with Alice (Mia Wasikowska) coming back from the voyage she took after she left her ex-fiance in the last film. She was a successful Captain, leading her crew and seeing the world. But when she came back, things were not asshe expected them to be. Her ex-fiance, Hamish, threatens to take back her ship (her father’s ship), and force her to work as a clerk in some office instead of sailing like she is meant to. And just when everything looks bleak for Alice, she sees her old friend Absolem and follows him into Wonderland.
But things in this magical world aren’t much better, her old friends telling her that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) has actually gone mad now. After he found a piece of his first hat on the ground he decided that his family wasn’t dead. If his hat somehow appeared after he thought he had lost it forever, then maybe his family would appear too. Alice doesn’t believe him, until she realizes that he is growing more and more ill. This sets off a chain reaction, with Alice approaching Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) for a way to go back and save the Mad Hatter’s family, only to find out a bit more about the past and herself.
Through The Looking Glass had its high points, but unfortunately they were not enough to outweigh the bad. This sequel wasn’t necessary; it didn’t change anything that we might have had questions about, and it didn’t introduce anything new that we couldn’t live without knowing. Alice does come to terms with some personal issues that she was still battling with after her father’s death, but they barely contributed to the story.
And the scenes we had that explained the Red and White Queen’s feud hardly kept my attention. In fact, at one point I ended up chanting that it’s just a cookie because their big falling out could all be traced to a cookie. It might have been more meaningful had we cared more about both Queens. But they continued to barely hold our attention, which could have made sense if we had the magical creatures to distract us. Sadly the animals we had grown to love in the first movie had little to no screen time, instead they would appear in the background as a reminder that they were still there but not needed for the plot.
Now, the introduction of Time and his helpers might have been the best part of the movie. I didn’t know that we would see so much of these new characters and was pleasantly surprised by them. They provided the usual comedic relief but it was also hard not to root for Time. He spent the entire movie trying to undo what Alice had created, and somehow we are meant to understand her point of view more. Even though she essentially created a big mess that then had to be undone, all of it would have been avoided if she had listened to Time. Many parts of the movie came to this, where we had a decision cause even more trouble when there were alternatives that could have probably worked better, but then we wouldn’t have a good story.
The most unorganized part of the film, though, had to be Alice’s real life issues. She was struggling to figure out what to do and I couldn’t empathize with anyone in that situation. Her mother took a drastic turn for caring, but too much time passed for us to bother caring about this. And then we had the mysterious random guy, probably meant as a subtle love interest to Alice, that didn’t reach its peak. He spent most of the time making faces in the back, which would have been entertaining, if in the end he actually had a purpose. Instead, he was there just to support Alice which wasn’t something that we needed. It’s like there wasn’t enough testosterone in the film, so they shoved a guy there that would remind us that it’s not just women who could have our focus in this movie.
Overall Alice Through The Looking Glass will appeal to kids just looking for a few laughs and children appropriate stories, and maybe people who enjoyed the visual appeal of the first movie. The part of this movie that stood out the most to me had to be the scenery and the colors that filled the background. This was aesthetically appealing and it reminded me why this other world is meant to be magical. The plot and the characters falling flat seems like less of an issue when you have something bright to look at while they do so.
Disclaimer: “Given the recent news and accusations against Johnny Depp, a star in this film, here is information on domestic abuse. If you need help for yourself or someone you love, visit the website for The National Domestic Violence Hotline (http://www.thehotline.org/) or call 1-800-799-7233.”