Faced with a 12 hour plane journey sat by myself, I eagerly flicked through the in flight entertainment’s film section. I was pleased to find a good selection of films that are still in cinemas now and (foolishly) picked Alice Through The Looking Glass as my first choice. I thought the first Alice in Wonderland film was excellent; it was bright, colourful, full of adventure. Although I had serious doubts about whether the sequel would be any good, I went ahead and picked it anyway. Boy did I regret that decision.
Read on to find out why…
Alice Through The Looking Glass sees Alice re-enter the world of Underland and she must travel back in time to try and save The Mad Hatter (Depp). The Mad Hatter has lost his muchness, convinced that his dead family is actually still alive, and Alice is the only one who can bring the old Mad Hatter back. She embarks on a quest to steal the Chronosphere from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen), which will enable her to travel back in time and stop The Mad Hatter’s family from being killed. This is an incredibly dangerous mission as playing with the past can have disastrous consequences in the present. In the past she encounters many of her friends and enemies at various stages of their lives and races to save The Mad Hatter before it is too late.
The second instalment in the Alice in Wonderland film franchise is directed by James Bobin, not Tim Burton, and it shows. The magic of the previous film is completely lost in this film and instead of being enchanted I was thoroughly bored. What’s worse, the special effects were not spectacular and some scenes looked awfully fake. Alice in Wonderland stories rely heavily on the whimsical world that Lewis Caroll created and without the special effects to pull it off, there’s just no magic. The hair and makeup wasn’t whacky, it was just plain weird. Alice goes through this entire adventure dressed in a traditional ‘Chinese’ outfit. However, I think most Chinese people would agree with me when I say that her outfit was absolutely not a ‘traditional Chinese’ dress and was rather just an insult to my culture’s history.
I don’t think I would be that far off the mark if I compared this film to a really bad Pantomime. The characters were all dressed up in ridiculous outfits, the acting is atrocious and at the end of it you kind of want to smash your face into a brick wall. This film is riddled with stars from Helena Bonham Carter to Johnny Depp to Sasha Baron Cohen to Alan Rickman to Anne Hathaway – the list goes on. If a film with this many incredibly talented actors still manages to flop then you know that there is something seriously wrong with it.
Most of the actors looked thoroughly bored throughout their performances and I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters, least of all Alice. I have never been a huge fan of Mia Wasikowska and this film did nothing to change my opinion of her. I think she over-acted Alice, coming across as a very posh, young and confused young lady, and her character lacked realism. This version of Alice is one of those characters that desperately tries to do good but at the end of the day is just so irritating.
This film’s one redeeming feature is it’s slight nod to feminism at the very beginning of the tale. Alice has just returned from years at sea on her dad’s boat, the only female captain in an industry and time (it begins in 1875) that is very much dominated by men. Despite her mother’s protests, she insists that she is going to continue to explore the world and that there is much more out there for her than marriage and children. This was pretty much the only positive thing I found in this film and this happens in the first fifteen minutes.
I imagine young kids may still enjoy this film because of the wonderfully strange world that this story takes place in but I really do pity the parents who are dragged along to watch this. This film is just under two hours long and I found myself checking to see how much time there was left at regular intervals. All in all, save your money, save your time. Alice Through the Looking Glass is nothing but a disappointment.
Have you seen Alice Through the Looking Glass? What do you make of this film franchise? Let me know in the comments below!