Rated: PG for fantasy action/peril and some language. Reviewed by: Matt Release date: May 27, 2016 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures
Alice Through the Looking Glass is the much anticipated sequel to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. This time however directed by James Bobin. This time Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland and is tasked at helping the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) with saving his family, who was believe to have been killed long ago by the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). To do this she steals a time traveling devise from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and travels back to various times in Wonderland's history in order to prevent the Hatter's demise.
Once again, the visuals of Wonderland soars as James Bobin manages to keep the visual consistency from it's prequel. The world is extremely interesting and makes for an excellent setting. The movie focused primarily on Alice as she goes through history in order to help the Hatter. Throughout these adventures we learn much about the history of many of the previous films characters, especially the Red and White Queens. The introduction of Time was also a very compelling addition as he is portrayed as a villain at times as he chases down Alice in order to recover the time machine which is used to keep time in order. Time while given many cheesy lines ended up being very sympathetic as we see the longer the time machine is gone, the more sickly he gets as time beings to break down. All of this leading to a very satisfying climax where everyone is racing back to return the machine before time, and the world, is destroyed.
Unfortunately, outside of the main few characters, every character felt pointless and wasteful. All the minor characters from the previous film made an appearance or two throughout and every time they felt like there was no need for them. The just seemed to stand there and talk as a way to pass time. This wouldn't be a terrible problem except they show up all the time in the movie and constantly drag the film down because of it.
Another problem is the real world that Alice lives in. Much like the first film it didn't really feel necessary to anything other than creating the set up for the moral of the story. We essentially learn that Alice is a strong independent woman who is capable of taking care of herself and doesn't need to conform to the way the world believes she should behave. Which is the exact same message, with a few differences, as the first film. It's a message that felt almost forced that by the end you just don't want to see Alice's interactions in reality.
In the end Alice is a good movie filled with stunning visuals and a very compelling story to tell. Even most of the characters felt like filler and the message of the film is repetitive, it doesn't take enough away from the movie to avoid a recommendation to see it. Those who have seen the previous film will find it more enjoyable though than those who are jumping in now.
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