Alice Through the Looking Glass, which was released last month – a full 6 years after Alice in Wonderland – follows Alice’s (Mia Wasikowska) return to Wonderland and her attempts to help the Mad Hatter (Jonny Depp) after his descent into madness. Although slightly darker than its prequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass is wholly an entertaining, engaging and child-friendly film which I very much enjoyed. Taking ideas from Lewis Carroll – but with a different plot – this remaking of the film provides a new take on this much loved story, without straying too far from the atmosphere of the original.
For the most part the acting in the film was flawless, providing the right balance of amusing and serious to both highlight the darker parts of the film and to prevent it dominating the plot. Sacha Baron Cohen’s portrayal of Time was brilliant, capturing the feeling of the character perfectly while Helena Bonham Carter was flawlessly hilarious as always. Although Wasikowska’s performance of Alice was mostly the right blend of innocent and feisty, but her performance at the beginning of the film felt rather forced. However, upon her entry to Wonderland this thankfully improved, as otherwise it could have dampened the enjoyment of the whole film. While the cast as a whole was brilliant, it was Jonny Depp’s portrayal of the Mad Hatter which dominated the film. Alice’s return to Wonderland is due to the Hatter’s descent into madness due to the belief that his family – who were killed before the start of the film – are still alive. Depp’s performance here is poignant, provoking sympathy from all the characters involved, before he slowly reverts back to his originally feisty and amusing character as the film progresses and really steals the show.
While the plot of the film does not relate to Carrol’s original, it works incredibly well when related back to the themes of the first film and Alice’s aim to discover herself. While it does mostly focus on Alice and her character development, the plot is a bit more open to the development of other characters, particularly the Red Queen and the White Queen, which is refreshing to see – although their reconciliation at the end feels slightly cliché. The plot constantly moves forward, and the pursuit of Alice by Time adds another layer of suspense, increasing the pace of the film which prevents it from becoming stagnant. The only part of the film which felt unnecessary perhaps was Alice’s return to reality halfway through. Although an extra dimension was added with her admission into a mental hospital, to really be successful this would have to have been expanded on, rather than her returning to Wonderland in the space of 2 minutes. Aside from this, the plot was constantly engaging, with more complex elements but remaining mostly simple and enjoyable.
One of the most impressive aspects of Alice Through the Looking Glass has to be the special effects used on the film – “wonderland” really is an accurate name. It is a place that seemingly has no limits, full of vibrant creatures that are almost unimaginable, while the end scene which portrays Wonderland being nearly completely destroyed by time is mesmerising. It is clear the amount of work which went into it, and it really paid off!
All in all, Alice Through the Looking Glass is one of the films I have enjoyed most this year, and I would 100% recommend it before it leaves the cinemas, as with the effects involved, it really is one to see on the big screen!