Somehow, the original “Alice in Wonderland” grossed over a billion dollars. So, the producers had no choice but to create a sequel, which is better than the original; but other than the box office, the bar of “muchness” was set pretty low – curiouser and curiouser. Now, Alice (Mia Wasikowska, who shines) has matured from an innocent vulnerable little girl to a spirited warrior princess.
Linda Woolverton (“Beauty and the Beast”) returns with a script that once again tosses out the imaginative Lewis Carroll tale, but delivers a related story in a spirit faithful to the characters of the book. More important, Director Jame Bobin (replacing Tim Burton, who produces) honors Carroll’s creative imagination with outrageously colorful sets, flamboyant costumes and a psychedelic sensation of time travel.
This time, Alice finds “the Hatter’s the matter,” who’s even more depressed than Johnny Depp, who plays the peculiar chap. Alice can fix it if she can reverse time and get a do-over. Alice believes the best way to do the impossible is to believe it’s possible. To do so, she must convince a clock-like creature known as Time (Sacha Baron Cohen).
This film marks Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s ninth collaboration. It’s also Alan Rickman (his last film) and Helena Bonham Carter’s seventh together. Anne Hathaway presents a whimsical White Queen, but Bonham Carter, as the surreal Red Queen, steals every scene in a field of very fine performances.
“Alice Through the Looking Glass” is 113 minutes and rated PG for fantasy peril and language. The trailer featured a dreamlike cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” (1967), but it’s disappointedly not to be found in the movie. There are a lot of empty calories in this eye candy as the filmmakers display a wanton disregard for substance. Underland is a gorgeous spectacle, but apparently, Alice doesn’t live here anymore.