Alice Through the Looking Glass, 2016
Directed by: James Bobin
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen
Alice Through the Looking Glass is a prime example of a sequel made just to make another buck. Sadly, it hardly did that.
The Hatter (Depp) is going mad – and not in a good way. Convinced his family, the Hightops, are still alive and in need of his rescue, he seeks help from his friends but no one will believe him, not even Alice (Wasikowska). Thus, his vibrancy and goodness begin to fade.
In an attempt to save her friend, Alice travels through time with help from the chronosphere – a time-traveling device at the heart of Time himself, Tick Tock (Cohen) – to change history.
Our expected comic relief, Hatter, loses his luster parallel to the script losing its wittiness. Even with the endless list of puns.
Depp makes up for his lack of words with overly expressive eyes that suit The Hatter, and Sacha Baron Cohen’s play up on Tick Tock’s mental state sparks the embers of interest, but the flames never develop. The rest of the characters, however, are merely devices to move the forced story along.
Thankfully, Alice Through the Looking Glass had one aspect going for it: the visuals. The art department and cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh use color smartly from the contrast between the vivid Wonderland and the darker England to Alice’s psychedelic, Chinese-inspired outfit.
Designer Colleen Atwood drew inspiration from the illustrations in Lewis Carrol’s original editions, and the Chinese flare didn’t hurt in setting Alice a part from the crowd in England. Or having her appear to be the asylum admittee her family and friends believe her to be.
There’s a sea of time so real you’re positive if you reach out your hand you can graze the wave tunnel and a broken past spreading an infectious rust throughout the past, present and future that makes you forget it’s all fantasy. Believable as it may be though, the eye orgasm is better in 3D.
Alice Through the Looking Glass may triumph visually, but a successful movie also needs to appeal to the ears. Even with Wonderland right in front of me, I couldn’t help but daydream.