Alice Through The Looking Glass Review: This Visual Wonder Is Spectacularly Bland

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If you didn’t enjoy 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, then you’re better off not wasting your time with its follow up ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. Although it’s a visual spectacle of fantastical characters, Victorian flair, and Johnny Depp’s creepy interpretation of Hatter, the film flounders and flails as it struggles to be entertaining.

Taking the reins from Tim Burton (who still serves as ) is James Bobin, known for comedies like Flight of the Conchords and Da Ali G Show (which likely explains the casting of Sacha Baron Cohen). The movie re-introduces us to Alice (Mia Wasikowska), who is now a respected captain of her father’s ship, The Wonder. After three years of worldly travels, she returns home to find out that a lot has changed. She’s in danger of losing her ship, her house, and most of all, her integrity as a strong, independent “you go girl!” woman of the 19th century.

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While at a party, Alice dismisses a bunch of old men who say “a woman has no place being a captain of a ship” and proceeds to follow Absolem (voiced by the late, great Alan Rickman), now a blue butterfly, into a mirror — or in this case, a “looking glass” — which takes her back to Underland. She is immediately welcomed back by familiar faces: the Tweedles (Matt Lucas), the dormouse (Barbara Windsor), the March Hare (Paul Whitehouse), the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) — all of who just happen to be chilling out in the same place at the same time because they probably don’t have anything else better to do in their acid trip of a universe.

When they tell her that the Mad Hatter hasn’t been acting like himself lately. The White Queen believes that if Alice goes back into time to save the Hatter’s family from death, it will lift his spirits. She is put on a quest to visit Time (Cohen) so that she can travel back in something called a Chronosphere and save Hatter’s family and bring back happiness to him and to Underland.

What starts off as a colorful quest gradually becomes so unruly and messy that sitting through the 113-minute runtime becomes a formidable challenge.

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The Hatter storyline essentially makes this Depp’s movie (no surprise there), but in addition to that, screenwriter Linda Woolverton tacks on another story that explores the relationship between the White Queen and her sister, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) as well as Alice’s own first-world problems in her reality. Then they add on the introduction of the character of Time and whatever it is he’s dealing with. Through all of this, we are constantly being hit over the head with themes of “family” and “time.” We get it. Family is important. Time is precious. Spending time with family is important and precious.

Through the Looking Glass does provide an impressive CG landscape to gawk at — but even that ends up being a nothing more than a candy-coated shell for a movie that bit off way more than it could chew.

Score:  2 out of 5

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watches too much , enjoys reality singing competitions and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.

Twitter: @dinoray

Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer
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