Having been a big fan of Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, which I didn’t see until it came out on video, I wanted to rectify that mistake with the sequel. You see, the original Alice is such a gorgeous looking film; it’s got boundless scenes of true eye candy that I had always wished I had seen this in its original 3D format, which it was released in. And so when Alice Through The Looking Glass, the sequel, was released, I promptly saw it in the theater, hoping to enjoy a visual feast at least on the big screen. But there was a little problem.
Alice Through The Looking Glass really blows, hard.
Although he co-produced it, Tim Burton didn’t direct this one. The director here was James Bobin. The one thing that you could always count on with a Tim Burton-directed film is that it will always be visually interesting, even if the story isn’t very strong, which was why I thought the first film was so entertaining to watch: the visuals created by Burton were scrumptious, especially when watching them on Blu-Ray. But lacking the visual flair of the original, the sequel looks and feels more mundane–which, for a fantasy movie about Wonderland, is not a good thing.
Alice (Mia Wasikowska), now working these days on the rollicking high seas as a ship’s captain, gets called back to Wonderland to help the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) who has been stricken by a disease that can only be cured by having Alice go back in time. In order to do that, she must “borrow” a time machine from Time (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) himself. Portrayed as a half human, half mechanism, Time chases after Alice while she chases after a way of curing the Mad Hatter in the past before he becomes sick.
The whole movie feels like a tired retread, with endless exposition scenes that have the characters merely stand around and talk at each other for far too long. Even the return of Helena Bonham Carter as the former Red Queen (who was so much fun in the first film) feels flat and lifeless, as if the filmmakers were trying to restore a little bit of the former glory. But the boring and tedious Alice Through The Looking Glass, coming six years too late after its far better predecessor, winds up being an overly long waste of time. –SF