Alice Through The Looking Glass (12A)

What’s the matter with Hatter? If Alice doesn’t figure it out, Wonderland will cease to exist.

Alice Through the Looking Glass reunites Mia Wasikowska’s Alice, Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter and the rest of Wonderland in this sequel to the 2010 Tim Burton film.

Three years have passed since Alice (Mia Wasikowska) set off on her first adventure. This time around Alice has grown up and become the captain of her father’s ship, The Wonder. She has travelled to the Orient and returns to London eager to set off on her next exploration.

However, Alice’s hapless mother has been tricked into parting with Alice’s ship by Hamish Ascot (Leo Bill) whose proposal she rudely rejected three years before.

The red-haired buffoon has taken over his father’s company and taken Alice’s shares. He will give
Alice back the bond to her mother’s house if she signs over her father’s ship. But that would mean giving up on her life’s ambition, all sense of fun and dealing with the mediocrity of everyday Victorian life.

Alice runs away in floods of tears and runs into Absolem (voiced by Alan Rickman – his final performance), who is now a blue butterfly. He informs Alice that she has been away for too long and the Mad Hatter needs her help, the whole of Wonderland is at stake. Absolem flies through a mirror and Alice follows, leaving her troubles behind.

The heroine travels to meet her friends but soon discovers that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is far from his usual self. He is convinced that his family didn’t perish on Horunvendush Day at the hands of the Jabberwocky like he had originally thought. But no one believes him and their lack of faith and the misery of it all is slowly killing him. So Alice vows to track them down.

Mirana (Anne Hathaway) tells Alice that to save the Hatter’s family, she must speak to Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and use the Chronosphere, a powerful device that travels through time, to discover if they are still alive.

But it won’t be an easy quest, Iracebeth The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) is desperate to get her hands on the Chronosphere so that she can rule Wonderland in the past and present. Plus Time is very much against Alice in her quest. To bend him is to destroy the very fabric of Wonderland.

Can Alice uncover the truth before the Mad Hatter and Wonderland perish?

So is this colourful sequel worth another trip down the rabbit hole? In short no. It’s all frosting and no cake. From the outside it looks beautiful but inside it lacks any real depth.

The sequel’s disconnect from Lewis Carroll’s source material can’t be saved by its saccharin sweet design and the talented Wasikowska. In 2010 Tim Burton gave us gothic magic, but James Bobin’s sequel is rather uninspired in comparison. Alice Through The Looking Glass is nothing more than a lack-lustre spectacle.

By Ruth Walker
★★★☆☆

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