Sunday, May 29, 2016

Movie Review: Alice Through the Looking Glass

A sequel six years later won't garner much attention at the box office, but Alice Through the Looking Glass is a fun, cute movie with colorful imagery and a goofy time travel tale. Mia Wasikowska reprises her role as the titular Alice and does a could job as the curious and friendly girl just hoping to save her fantasy world from the trappings of time. The recently troubled actor Johnny Depp dresses up in a custom that might be more fitting to take part in a horror movie than a children's fantasy film to return as the Mad Hatter. The story centers around the Mad Hatter's desire to reconnect with his family who were believed burnt up by the Jabberwocky, a dragon ordered around by the Red Queen.

Also returning, though next bringing her ex-husband to the director's chair, is Helen Bonham Carter as the big-headed Red Queen with a bad attitude and a pension for chopping off heads of those who displease her. Anne Hathaway is the White Queen and they all go by other names, but the world is too confusing to understand them beyond their iconic images. The cutest creature, and my favorite, is most definitely the Cheshire Cat, voiced by Stephen Fry.

Alice has to turn back time to discover the mystery of the Hatter's missing family and to do this she encounters the embodiment of Time itself, played with humor by Sacha Baron Cohen. Enduring plenty of puns, Cohen takes the partially computer graphics character and pursues Alice through a past that informs us of how all the characters of Wonderland came to be.

There are messages that some young women may find heartening but all of that gets lost in the color and special effects of Alice's imagination. The movie is fun and fast-paced like many sequels that had to be rushed to get made because the profit motive is the main driving factor for why these movies even exist. The pirate tale would have been more interesting as I read one critic mention as a suggestion for a better tale.

This movie spells the end of Alice in Wonderland and there was no effort to set it up as a sequel as if they knew the inferior product would drive a dagger through Lewis Carroll's fantasy tale showing up on screen. The resolution is a bit cheap but by this point, most kids were likely squirming in their seats to leave. Disney doesn't have to worry too much as one can see from the commercials that they have plenty of movies coming down the pipeline!

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