“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
by Lewis Carroll
By now you’ve likely seen the many, many reviews decrying “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (and of course one of its stars, but I’ll be putting those scandalous headlines aside for this review) for various reasons.
I won’t claim there aren’t many “curiouser and curiouser” moments (as Alice would say), although, I have to shake my head at the reviews that slighted the film both for straying from the book and for being too busy and frantic. While the movie strayed from its source material in many ways, its frantic, busyness is precisely what the original tales are.
Overall, I found the movie quite delightful, perhaps even more so than its predecessor, the slightly better received 2010 film “Alice in Wonderland.”
We find Alice (Mia Wasikowska) at the tale-end of a voyage around the world as captain of her father’s ship, achieving the impossible at high sea. Of course, upon returning home she’s confronted with reality in two-fold—her jilted almost-fiancé (Leo Bill) has all but left Alice’s mother (Lindsay Duncan) homeless and bankrupt and is insisting that the only way to avoid this fate is for Alice to sell him her father’s ship.
Although Alice has very little time to consider this before Absolem (Alan Rickman) aka the blue caterpillar/butterfly comes to fetch her back to Wonderland (or alternatively Underland) to help the Hatter (Johnny Depp), who has gone mad (even more-so).
Swiftly she’s sent off to retrieve the Chronosphere from Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), whose personification is quite delightful, not to mention the excellent word play it allows for throughout the film.
So, for those playing along at home, we’re at about 3 different plot lines right now, and believe it or not, there are more. But like I said, the tales of Wonderland are scattered by nature, so my mind is boggled by those who are holding that against this movie. The tales are all delightful and this cast (led by the perfectly cast Ms. Wasikowska) is incredible through and through.
As I continue to put scandal-ridden headlines aside, I also have to say, Johnny Depp is quite fantastic in his reprise of the Mad Hatter. In fact, I’d say I liked the character much more this g0-round. Although I’d give some of that credit to the story, which further explores the Hatter’s past and family, giving closure to some uncompleted thoughts from the previous film.
Then there’s the picture-perfect, time-warped, pure-magic world of Wonderland (and Victorian London too) that is absolutely picture-perfect. Even the sourpusses who panned every other part of this film complimented its visual appeal.
So, here’s my final say: If you didn’t like the first movie at all, use common sense. However, if you’re a sucker for an imaginative tale (with a strong female lead to boot) with colorful characters, and equally brilliant scenes, I highly recommend this magical movie. Just be sure to bring your inner-child.