Alice Through the Looking Glass Review
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It’s been six years since Disney released Tim Burton’s vibrantly outlandish Alice in Wonderland—but the film’s box office success made it likely that a sequel would be forthcoming. So now the cast of quirky characters returns for a wild race through time in Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Alice Through the Looking Glass finds Mia Wasikowska’s Alice returning to London in 1875 after traveling around the world as a sea captain. She’s eager to set out on her next voyage until she discovers that she’s about to lose her father’s beloved ship. She’s about to fight back when she’s led through a mirror back to Wonderland, where her batty friend, the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), has gone madder than ever. And, in order to help him, Alice must travel back in time to save his family from their terrible fate.

Disney’s first live-action Alice movie was a bright and colorful and imaginative film, though everything about it felt not quite right. The sequel, then, is just as colorful and imaginative. From the vibrant costumes to the whimsical settings, it’s all visually delightful. Unfortunately, though, that’s where the delights end for this needless follow-up.

This time around, everything that seemed strange and awkward about the first film is amplified and inflated. Depp’s Hatter is even more bizarre than before—an odd, lisping creature who generally behaves like a deranged toddler. Helena Bonham Carter’s big-headed Red Queen shrieks and howls her way through every scene. And, as if those two characters weren’t already maddening enough, Sacha Baron Cohen joins the cast as Time, another madcap misfit whose job is to manage the life spans of those in Wonderland, while protecting the magical chronosphere that keeps time moving forward.

All three of these actors are capable of a wide comic range—from subtly silly to downright ridiculous. And, here, they’ve all been set loose, allowed (and perhaps coached) to be as absurd as possible—and it seems they’ve all taken it to extremes, competing to see which one can be the most irritating. And, really, it’s a toss-up; Depp’s overacting, Carter’s screaming, and Cohen’s strange Werner Herzog impersonation are all pretty irritating.

Meanwhile, even these over-the-top characters can’t make viewers overlook the fact that the story isn’t especially interesting. Alice’s adventures aren’t particularly gripping, and the time travel aspects once again prove to be problematic. And it all makes for a beautiful but muddled mess of a return trip to Wonderland.

Of course, if you loved the wackiness of Alice in Wonderland, you may still enjoy the continuing adventures of this headstrong dreamer and her quirky cohorts. But you could probably get the same effect from spending a Saturday afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese.

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