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Alice Through The Looking Glass Review


Despite receiving mixed reviews, 2010’s Alice in Wonderland remake went onto to be a huge box office draw, banking over a billion dollars worldwide. You would have thought a sequel wouldn’t have taken six years to come our way, but here we are, with The Muppets director James Bobin taking the reins from Tim Burton, telling an original story involving Lewis Carroll’s beloved characters, one which inexplicably involves time travel, giving us the chance to glimpse the origins of  the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, and the rest of the crazy lot.

After years of following in her father’s footsteps and sailing the high seas, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Underland to find the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is not himself, adamant his family he thought were dead are still very much alive and growing ever more darker whenever anyone doesn’t believe. Apparently the only way to cure the Hatter is to go back in time and change history, which pits Alice against Time (Sacha Baron Cohen), the half man, half clock keeper of the past and present of Underland.

The original’s visual style was one it’s biggest selling points, and Bobin does a good job in this respect, though not quite delivering where the master of gothic visuals did. It’s a lot more bright and breezy this time round, even when it gets the chance to go Burton-esqe when visiting Time’s gothic castle, coming across as much more diluted than the original. It’s all stunning though, and Bobin litters the movie with fun little details, from Time’s tiny robotic minions, the Seconds, combining together to form the muscle bound Minutes, or the ocean of time been an actual ocean, but gorgeous visuals can only keep your attention for so long, and within no time, you’ll come to realise how trite and shallow the narrative is. The story basically just boils down to Alice bombing around different points in Underland’s past, giving answers to questions we never asked. Do we care what made the Hatter so mad? Or why the Red Queen is so evil and has a gigantic head?..........o.k., maybe that last one, but the answer is so stupid that it isn’t even worth knowing. Everything about this story is so childish that all the stakes carry no weight whatsoever, and when Bobin does try to go dark like Burton did, it falls incredibly flat, having zero conviction behind it, derailing the story that admittedly had started to gather steam.

The cast do their best, but can’t really overcome the bland storytelling, with everyone feeling just a bit deflated as opposed to the first time round. Wasikowska is fine lead, even if her Alice is really whiny, bordering on the unlikable. Depp once again wheels out his patented character shtick, and is fine for the most part, even if subdued for him comes off as bored. Same goes for Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham-Carter, who just rehash what came before as the White Queen and Red Queen. Baron-Chen is the only new comer, and he seems to be the only one having a good time. He makes for a fun addition from the very moment he emerges from a “me shaped corridor”, adopting a Werner Herzog impression for some reason, and does his best to relieve the boredom from the leaden plot. Even if you feel like tapping out from the sheer number of time puns he spits out.

The sumptuous visuals do go a long way, but they can’t save this movie from a flat and boring narrative that will have you checking your watch more times than watching the actual movie. Alice should have stayed on this side of the looking glass.


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The Movie Bit: Alice Through The Looking Glass Review
Alice Through The Looking Glass Review
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