May 31, 2016


REVIEW: Alice Through The Looking Glass

Alice travels to many lavish places, talks to many extraordinary beings, sees many cool things and yet it feels as if she really doesn’t do much at all. I mean, sure, she does things—it’s just that I don’t really care all that much.

“Alice Through The Looking Glass” is the sequel that brings back Mia Wasikowska as Alice, a captain of her father’s ship. She enters through a mirror into Wonderland where she learns that the Mad Hatter, reprized by Johnny Depp, is extra mad…

…as in more mad than normal. And why is that? Because his dead family may not be dead after all. As a result, he is sick, which makes little sense aside from removing him from the story so that Alice can save the day by herself. 

Plot: Alice decides to journey back through time to learn of The Mad Hatter’s family’s fate.

This sounds like a great concept. Time travel with Alice In Wonderland. How could this possibly go wrong? Well, when it turns into “Alice On The Conveyor Belt of Life”.

This movie felt like Alice was going from place to place… as in on the conveyor belt… moving along, not staying too long, just kind of gathering intel.

The most interesting place was when she met Time played by Sacha Baron Cohen, who was a fun character. There was some very amusingly clever pieces of dialogue here. And Time becomes a sort of antagonist though I don’t think he’s in the wrong. But that’s all right because Helena Bonham Carter’s Queen Of Heart’s Iracebeth enters and becomes the second and real antagonist.

The film tried to juggle quite a bit of stories. Normally, I don’t mind that too much—even if a movie feels dense or overstuffed. As long as there’s some meat to chew on and even if it takes a couple of viewings to get it all, I tend to not be too put out by it. But unfortunately, this story doesn’t know which story to focus on and ultimately chooses to not put much care into any of them, leaving a hollow feeling which transformed into boredom.

What are all these stories?

We have Alice’s pre-wonderland story, which is actually good. A woman who wants to maintain her life as a captain in a world ruled by men. But this story gets left behind when she walks through the mirror. They try and pick it back up at the end, but it’s too late to care. I’d actually prefer if this was the only plot of the story.

The Mad Hatter… he’s the focus or more his family is the focus. But he’s not in it enough to really care about his emotional state and ends up resembling a MacGuffin since he is what drives Alice to travel in this world.

Alice in wonderland… she’s on an egg hunt of sorts. There’s no emotional resonance here. Time… He needs to stop Alice and so he tries. The coolest character with a lot to lose, but doesn’t play a significant role aside from showing up when the plot needs him. 

Then there’s Iracebeth and her sister Mirana—acted oddly by Anne Hathaway with these over-the-top flighty hand gestures. This was an okay part of the wonderland side of the story as we examine their past relationship. And although I found the resolution to their sibling relationship somewhat satisfying—even if the whole thing is rather bizarre to begin with—I think the correlation between this and the conclusion of Alice’s mission felt so abrupt and unrealistic that it undermined everything. There should be consequences.


There were plenty of wonderful sets to enjoy as Alice moved throughout the story. I particularly liked the various clocks. Most of the CGI didn’t bother me, I thought it was well done. But there was a scene of Alice running where it looked like she was half-jogging on a treadmill with the background moving behind her. She didn’t even put much energy into that run. But as a whole, it was beautiful to look at.

In conclusion, “Alice Through The Looking Glass” had a great concept using time travel, but it falls short in story. The three characters with the most to gain or lose—Iracebeth, Time and The Mad Hatter—were more sideline characters, leaving Alice on a journey where the goal felt flat. There was very little tension and I never felt like the stakes were high enough.

But that’s what happens when Alice’s actual personal story is outside of Wonderland. That was the story that should have been written.

 Score: 4/10


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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