A follow-up to Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice In Wonderland, this adventure (which, Lewis Carroll fans, bears little relation to the book of the same name) set a few years later opens with Alice (Wasikowska) sailing the high seas as a ship’s captain (unlikely a woman would be doing something like this in the 19th century, but guess it is okay since this is a fantasy movie, after all) before returning home and stepping through a mirror to return to Wonderland.
Unfortunately, not everything in Wonderland is how she left it – the Mad Hatter (Depp) is wasting away with grief due to the loss of his family to the Jabberwocky. Without a thought to what chaos it may cause, Alice takes the advice of the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) and sets off to the gothic castle of Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) where she intends to steal a device that will allow her to go back in time and save the Hatters from their fiery fate.
Director James Bobin has kept everything in the quirky style of Tim Burton, and sets the adventure against a stunning visual backdrop – Time’s castle, set in a giant clock, is particularly jaw-dropping. He also gets great performances from his cast, especially Baron Cohen, and Bonham Carter as the Red Queen (and even Depp is less annoying and creepy than he was in the first film), but all the eye-wideningly spectacular special effects and fun turns can’t detract from the fact that the plot loses its way somewhere around the middle. Alice’s hopping back in time doesn’t always make sense or seem to have any consequences, and you do question quite why she is going to all this trouble since Hatter was never that nice in the first place.
Thanks to the frenetic pacing we’re not given too long to dwell on the movie’s flaws, and instead it’s best to sit back and enjoy a spectacle that will enchant kids and is definitely an improvement on the first movie.
Is Alice Through The Looking Glass suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Younger children (under 8s) may find Time scary. The scenes featuring Time take place in a dark gothic castle and involve clock parts coming to life which may also frighten very young viewers.
Sensitive viewers may be scared of the Red Queen.