Plot: Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Lindsay Duncan, Leo Bill, Alan Rickman
By Khaleel Herbert
Time is not on Alice’s side as she returns to Wonderland through a mirror in “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”
Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) returns to London after a year of captaining her father’s ship, the Wonder around the world. She returns to her mother Helen (Lindsay Duncan) who accompanies her to a soiree hosted by Hamish (Leo Bill).
Alice has a proposition for Hamish, now in high power, to go on more voyages and do business with other countries. Hamish, who seems a little sore at Alice because she refused his hand in marriage in Alice in Wonderland (2010), declines her proposition and asks that she sign over her bonds and the Wonder to him since her mother had set up the arrangement.
While storming off in anger, Alice notices old friend Absolem (voice of Alan Rickman) the smoking caterpillar turned butterfly from Wonderland (2010). She follows him into an old room filled with dusted antiques including a mirror sitting on the wall. With the door locked, Alice steps through the threshold of the mirror and enters Wonderland.
Most of her friends including the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the White Rabbit (voice of Michael Sheen), and the Cheshire Cat (voice of Stephen Fry) look glum. They say the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is not his jolly self. Alice goes to his house to talk to him. Hatter, happy to see her, believes his family is still alive although they were killed by the Red Queen’s Jabberwocky long ago.
Alice knows she can’t bring back the dead, but the White Queen says she can visit Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and ask him to help her travel back in time to save the Hatter’s family.
Like Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass is visually stunning in showing various parts of Wonderland, Time’s headquarters and London.
The story had great elements. When Alice travelled back in time, there were flashbacks and origins of how some of the characters grew up including the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). There was also good moments when Alice flaunted her independence like Superman flaunts his ‘S.’ She captained the Wonder well in tough times and refused to let men hold her down, similar to Wonderland.
The missing element was that we never saw Alice’s father. They could have included flashbacks with him and her playing together and that moment before he died and she never saw him again.
What might bother people about Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland is that Alice in Wonderland has been done multiple times with different versions. In this version, Alice goes to Wonderland as a woman with a different storyline from the classic Lewis Carroll story. To fans, that can hurt. But if you look past it, you’ll enjoy this movie. This version is different, but in a good way.
Alice Through the Looking Glass is a film that is visually mesmerizing and its famous line ticks on long after the credits: “You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it.”
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This column was printed in the June 12, 2016 - June 25, 2016 edition.