I went and saw the new Alice Through The Looking Glass film yesterday. It wasn’t a film I had purposely wanted to see nor had I seen the previous film. But it was the girlfriends turn to pick and she like the first film and had been anticipating the sequel. I went in with no expectations and a pretty good knowledge of the Wonderland world from having written some of the Zenescope mini-series involving Wonderland.
I found the opening scene to be confusing, which was a little surprising as it takes place in the normal world. Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is the captain of a ship, trying to out run pirates and performs some remarkable action moves that I assumed this was Wonderland. So when it was shown to be the real world, my suspension of disbelief was already blown.
The film moves quickly and expects you to be caught up on who everyone is and what happened in the first film. Very few names were given for anyone other than Hatter (Johnny Depp) and Alice… oh and Time, a new character played by Sacha Baron Cohen. The story focuses on Alice returning home to discover that her mother has sold her shares of the company and house and put up the Wonder, her father’s ship against the house. She then is drawn back into Wonderland by Absolem (voiced by the late Alan Rickman) and we learn that the Mad Hatter is not well. He believes his long dead family to still be alive, but when Alice tells him that impossible, he begins to wane…. that’s the best way I can think of describing it. This leads to a crazy plan to steal a Chronosphere from Time and travel back to save Hatter’s family.
The film is visually stunning. The choices of how the chronosphere travels through time and the vehicle Time uses to chase her are both fun and well conceived. But the film is very disjointed and jumps from plot point to plot point rather than flowing along and telling us a story. And somehow it all leads to an awkward redemption arc for Iracebeth (Helena Bonham Carter). I felt very disconnected to the two heroes, Alice coming across as very selfish and Hatter being just plan annoying while I found the antagonist, Time, to be a far more sympathetic and likeable character. He is a man with a job that he does with honor, he is being manipulated by Iracebeth, he has to go after Alice to save Wonderland (or the world, its not clear how far the danger spread) and he has not hard feelings at the end.
Maybe I’d like the movie more had I seen Alice In Wonderland, but with how off putting to two main characters are here, I can’t see how that might have helped.