Alice Through The Looking Glass


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Alice Through The Looking Glass
"Anything can happen and nothing makes sense and reality is a word as plain as it is pointless"

As Part 2 of the Alice franchise, courtesy of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), The Looking Glass continues in the style of Tim Burton who directed the original (Alice In Wonderland). This time the man in the director's chair is James Bobin, known for a couple of Ali Gs and the odd Muppet movie. Will he rein in the wild inventions that upset the literary purists?

In fact - if facts have any purpose in this turvy top of a world - the imaginative breadth of The Looking Glass surpasses Burton's Wonderland. Same scriptwriter (Linda Woolverton). Same actors. Same same. Add a sprinkle of stardust, provided by the make up department and those magicians in special effects, and you have a 3-D fairy tale without boundaries.

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If you haven't seen Burton's film you won't make head nor tail feathers of this. It's about a young woman (Mia Wasikowska), captain of her father's sailing ship, in the late 18th century who is legally held to the fire by a stuffed shirt by the name of Lord Ascot who insists on swapping the ship for her mother's house, or rather buying the ship for the price of the house, or something of that nature, so that Mummy (Lindsay Duncan) won't be flung out into the street.

This is the preface to the real story, otherwise known as The Confusion, when a blue butterfly (voiced by Alan Rickman) invites Alice, the aforementioned mistress of the sailing ship, to walk through a mirror and become embroiled in a bizarre series of adventures involving the Mad Hatter's family, a horse faced administrative person (Sacha Baron Cohen) called Time, innumerable clocks that tock and block at separate speeds, a pale princess with a shameful secret (Anne Hathaway), a flame haired princess with an inflated head (Helena Bonham Carter), animals that talk, desperate for their tea, and a cat that floats in air like a grinning ghost.

This is Carroll Country where anything can happen and nothing makes sense and reality is a word as plain as it is pointless. At the heart of it all is the sad figure of Tarrant Hightop (The Mad Hatter), played with infinite delicacy by Johnny Depp and made up to perfection as a living doll. He has lost his family in a previous apocalypse and is dying of grief. Alice promises she will find a way to turn back time and change the past.

The film, which looks amazing, is stolen from under their eyes by Bonham Carter with a performance of sweet sneering wickedness that takes the bee out of itch to sting the hearts of happy children.

A roller coaster would be a poor analogy. A tsunami is better. You will be flooded by a rush of conflicting emotions, none of which can save you from The Confusion.

Perhaps it is better to give in, stop trying to understand and feel the walls of your mind implode.

Reviewed on: 26 May 2016
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Alice returns to Wonderland to save the Mad Hatter.
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Owen Van Spall **

Director: James Bobin

Writer: Linda Woolverton, based on the book by Lewis Carroll

Starring: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Rhys Ifans, Matt Lucas, Lindsay Duncan, Leo Bill, Geraldine James, voices of Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Paul Whitehouse, Stephen Fry, Barbara Windsor, Michael Sheen, Wally Wingert, Matt Vogel

Year: 2016

Runtime: 113 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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