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'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!).