Tim Burton’s 2010 fantasy adventure film ‘Alice in Wonderland’ became a huge success. Based on the enduring Lewis Carroll tale, it added another fantastical feather to Burton’s directorial cap. He doesn’t return for the follow-up ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ but his visual presence is still seen. With his frequent collaborator Johnny Depp returning as the Mad Hatter, the stage is set for more colourfully weird shenanigans. That we certainly receive as the sense of enchantment crucial to Carroll’s story-telling flavour is keenly felt.
Returning to the world of Underland via a looking glass, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) seeks out her friends. Finding the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) in a bad way, she uncovers another plot from the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). Wanting to use a clock creature called Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) to wreak havoc on Underland, the wicked Queen stops at nothing to get what she wants. Alice and her friends unite to defeat her shameful scheming amidst the splendour of Underland’s rainbow-infused landscape.
Baron Cohen and Depp are often accused of performing in as outrageously over the top way as possible. ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ affords them free reign to infuse dynamic energy into their roles. Their renditions mirror the movie overall as it is full of the verve and colour it needs. Whilst some padding is seen and although its message of ‘making time for loved ones’ is a little preachy, it’s a generally fun film most should enjoy.
Key to its success is allowing each character to shine. Unlike its predecessor, ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ doesn’t turn into the ‘Johnny Depp Show’ and focuses more on Alice’s mission. This brings a better sense of urgency to the plot and a logically flowing narrative amongst Underland’s illogical characters. They are beautifully rendered with some great CGI matching the imagination which served Carroll so well decades ago.
‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ is a worthy follow-up filled with the right mix of adventure and humour. Having a charm many similar works lack, it encompasses what made Carroll’s words captivating and why it still endures in this so-called cynical age.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 7
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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