Alice Through the Looking Glass

Even though I'm nearly a month late to the (tea) party, I finally saw Alice Through the Looking Glass a couple of weeks ago.

As a fan of both Alice in Wonderland and Tim Burton (though in this case, he was a producer, not the director), I'm always down for a romp through Underland. I haven't watched the first one in a while, but, while I know a lot of people considered it to be awful, I actually liked it. It was a fun escape and while it wasn't profound, the source material is mostly nonsense anyway (in the best way). The same is true for this sequel: apart from the fact that Alice (Mia Wasikowska) literally enters through a mirror, the story was completely different. 

My major problem with the movie was the emphasis on the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). Honestly, I find Depp to be pretty overrated (his earlier work is outstanding, but any of his characters from the past decade just seem like Johnny Depp being Johnny Depp-wearing-makeup), and I thought it was insulting that he had first billing (even Anne Hathaway was listed before Wasikowska which is just rude). There's a subplot that focuses on the White Queen (Hathaway) and the Red Queen (my queen, Helena Bonham Carter), which I thought was infinitely more interesting. If their story had been expanded, the movie could have given Frozen a run for its money with themes of sisterly love and forgiveness. As it is, there was a healthy dose of girl power (Alice is a sea captain!! In 1874!! And isn't in a rush to get married!!), but giving the sisters a little more screen time would have made it so much more powerful. 

Speaking of Time, the trailer makes it seem like Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) is a villain...it's true that he stands in Alice's way, but it's less antagonistic and more necessary for his life. I thought his way of controlling lives was ingenious (every Underlandian has a pocket watch which is snapped shut when their time is up). Visually, the movie is compelling; I've seen reviews complaining about the special effects, but I guess I just have lower standards, because I thought it was gorgeous plus it incorporates a lot of my favourite elements in it: tea and pocket watches and steampunk-y creations. And while, as I mentioned, the story could have used some work, the dialogue wasn't terrible...for someone who loves cheesy puns, anyway (I definitely laughed whenever a joke was made at Time's expense). 

Overall, it was a decent sequel: nothing groundbreaking, and a few storytelling tweaks would have made it a lot better, but it was an enjoyable nearly two hours that didn't require a lot of thought. I do wish the minor animal characters had had larger roles (the March Hare is just the greatest thing), though I loved hearing Alan Rickman in his final role (and almost cried when the film was dedicated to him)...and of course, I wish my obsession, Andrew Scott, had been in it for longer than a minute (but what a glorious minute it was!).