Rating: 2/5 Stars
Cast: Mia Wasikowska (Alice Kingsleigh), Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter), Helena Bonham Carter (Red Queen), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Sacha Baron Cohen (Time), Rhys Ifans (Zanik Hightopp, the Mad Hatter’s father), Matt Lucas (Tweedledum and Tweedledee), Alan Rickman (Caterpillar)
Director: James Bobin
Synopsis: Through a mirror, Alice returns to Underland where she was welcomed by the Underlanders who were concerned for the Mad Hatter’s wellbeing. Hatter had fallen ill and wants to learn the truth about his family. To do this, Alice must go on a journey back in time to discover what really happened and set things right.
As a sequel for the 2010 top-grossing film, high expectations has been set by fans and critics alike, which, unfortunately, Alice Through the Looking Glass did not meet, as it trails behind its well-received predecessor.
Alice Kingsleigh has been sailing the high seas for the past three years in his father’s ship, Wonder. Upon returning from China, she discovers her family home may be taken from her and her mother, unless she gives up Wonder.
Before Alice can fix their current situation, she sees a familiar butterfly, Absolem, whom she follows back to the Underland where she is welcomed by the White Queen, the White Rabbit, the Tweedles, the Dormouse, the March Hare, Bayard and the Cheshire Cat. Alice quickly learns that the Mad Hatter is acting madder than usual, all because he believes that his family is still alive.
Alice is determined to stop Hatter’s worsening health so she seeks out Time and pleads him for help. Time, however, refuses to help her save Hatter’s family in the past so Alice is forced to do the next best thing she could: Steal the Chronosphere.
Because of the Chronosphere, Alice was able to go back in time, traveling to different events to find Hatter’s family. Along the way, she also learns the secrets of the queen sisters, Iracebeth and Mirana. Before long, she finally discovers the whereabouts of Hatter’s family who were indeed alive and needs their help.
There were several reasons why the film disappoints but the biggest one is the story, or rather, the lack thereof. Time’s reasons for stopping Alice were vague yet he continued to make her journey through time difficult. Also, even though Alice is the star of the movie (now franchise), that was not an excuse to waste the rest of the cast’s talents. Alan Rickman’s 5-minute exposure contradicted with the fact that the film was a tribute for him.
Although the character build-up was still problematic, scriptwriter Linda Woolverton’s injection of humour through one-liners made the film remarkably more enjoyable, considering she had little to work with in terms of plot.
Meanwhile, the brighter colour palette made the film brighter, miles apart from the bleak Tim Burton creation, which is also a double-edged sword. The newer, more vivid version of Underland, coupled with all the CGI effects, made every scene busy and overwhelming.
The film should have been successful, not only in terms of gross, but also in leaving fans and critics satisfied. The finished product did not justify the production cost and length.
Sure, if you saw the first movie and just really want to watch Alice Through the Looking Glass for the sake of completing the series, then be our guest. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.