I did not hate Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland from 2010, a film that made a surprising billion (yes, with a b) dollars worldwide. When a film reaches the billion dollar level, a sequel is unavoidable. Now, a lot of people dislike the last film, but, looking back, I gave it 3 stars (which is a fresh review, but at the lower end). Alice Through the Looking Glass is not as good as Burton’s film, but it is not as bad as many people are making it out to be.
Johnny Depp returns at the Mad Hatter, but this time, he has become depressed. So depressed that his friends believe that he was dying. In a hope to help him, Absolem (voiced by the late Alan Rickman) leads Alice, who had just returned from sea as a captain of her father’s old ship, The Wonder, back through the looking glass. Alice is shocked at seeing what had happened to The Hatter, but she dismisses his story connected to his family.
This plot point was questionable. Why would The Hatter’s family being alive be impossible to Alice? She did just move from one plane of existence to another through a mirror. She had talked to a purple moth and a smiling, disappearing cat. Why is it impossible for Alice to believe that The Hatter’s family may be alive? The reason was that the script needed her to believe that to continue the downward spiral of The Hatter.
In a desperate attempt to save him, Alice comes up with a cockamamie plan to steal a device from Time (Sasha Baron Cohen) and go back in time to save Hatter’s family from death at the hands (or fire breath) of the Jabberwocky. Sasha Baron Cohen, who was in one of the worst films of the year a few months ago, is perfect in this role, and his Time is one of the absolute highlights of Alice Through the Looking Glass. Time warns Alice that her attempts are for naught, but the girl ignores his warnings and steals the device anyway.
Time then chases Alice back through time to try and return the device to its rightful place before it caused the destruction of time. Alice was shown as a very inconsiderate and dangerous individual, tossing aside apocalyptic warnings from Time all for her own personal reasons. One could say that she was no different than Iracebeth, the Queen of Hearts (Helena Bonham Carter) with her selfishness. Did this make Alice the villain of this story?
There was a ton of CGI, and, although the colors were fun to look at and entertaining, much of it felt fake, almost cartoony. Maybe that was what the producers were going for, but the CGI was distracting at times.
There was also an inane story showing the origin of Iracebeth and why she became such an evil, head-chopping off villainess. And it had to do with eating tarts. Yes, you read that right. Her sister Mirana (Anne Hathaway) had a deep dark secret she was hiding. She lied about something as a child and Iracebeth was blamed, leading to her falling and hitting her head, causing it to swell up. Apparently concussions are an even worse thing in Wonderland. This whole origin story was ridiculous and drew away from the parts of the story that did work.
Johnny Depp was decent as the Hatter, but he really did not have a lot to do. They tried to make the emotional center of the movie the loss of Hatter’s family, but there was not enough interactions with the family to really make the connection with the audience.
Alice Through the Looking Glass is sitting at 28% on Rotten Tomatoes, and, while I think that is too low for this movie, I do understand why some people have found this film rotten. Technically, my review would be a rotten review as well, but I did not hate the film. It was a little over long, and it lacked a real emotional story, but there were enough parts that I enjoyed to say that I did not waste my time.