ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Review – The Hatter’s the Matter

Disney’s ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS takes us back to England and Underland, after a brief, but exciting, sail through the Straits of Malacca.  Tim Burton’s Alice has grown in the six years since we met her in ALICE IN WONDERLAND (all references to ALICE IN WONDERLAND will be to Tim Burton’s 2010 movie), but not changed much.  She still manages to accomplish the impossible at nearly every turn, which is immediately apparent from the very first scene.  ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS is wonderfully chaotic, moving back and forth in Time, with an intriguing mystery at the heart of it all.  Continue reading for our spoiler free ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS review.

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS is the origin story of several of the Underland characters, centered around the Mad Hatter.  It is a major departure from the book (as was ALICE IN WONDERLAND), though you will see many characters from the book, even if their story is different in the movie.  Linda Woolverton (Screenwriter) has crafted a sequel for ALICE IN WONDERLAND that is moving and, despite being so different from the book, feels like it fits it perfectly.  There are quite a few notable moments, but I think my favorite line is “Who’s to say which is which?” (You’ll have to watch the movie to see why).

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) and Absolem (the voice of Alan Rickman) © 2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Hatter is unwell and the Underlanders send Absolem (voiced by Alan Rickman, to whom the movie is dedicated) to England to bring Alice back to Underland to help him.  Hatter has found a relic from his past that convinces him that there is a way to bring back his family, killed by the Jabberwocky before he ever met Alice.  The Underlanders know of a way to help, but only Alice can make it happen.

The theme that runs through both ALICE movies is enduring and loyal friendship.  These characters are bonded in ways that time (Time?) and distance can’t impact.  When they meet, it is as if they have never been apart.  Alice hears that the Hatter is hurting and immediately sets out to help him.  Even before that, Absolem appears and, without him telling her anything, she drops everything and follows him through a looking glass to begin her next Underland adventure.  The Underlanders have no doubt that no only can Alice help, but she will.  Alice throws herself into the task, despite all warnings, and learns along the way what she needs to do to help. There is a strong feminist message here, too.  Alice is the strong and strong-willed character who is determined to lead her life in her own way, despite the protestations and limitations placed on her by men.

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) © 2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS introduces a wonderful new character, Time.  Time lives in a beautiful castle and is neither a villain nor a hero.  He is played to perfection by Sacha Baron Cohen and I had a little bit of a crush on Time by the end of the movie (#wincible).  All of the characters original to ALICE IN WONDERLAND are just as wonderful (pun intended) in ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS.  It truly is a star-studded cast and it’s impossible to imagine any other actors doing as well.  Danny Elfman’s music is, as always, the perfect accompaniment.  There is much to love about this movie, but there were a couple of loose threads that needed tying.  I hope there will be a longer cut on the Blu-ray, so I can find out how those moments played out.

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

Sacha Baron Cohen is Time © 2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS doesn’t feel so much like a Tim Burton movie as ALICE IN WONDERLAND did, but it is charming and whimsical.  Director James Bobin took the oddness of the subject matter in a different direction and so, in my opinion, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS didn’t achieve that Tim Burton otherworldly weirdness that is so fitting to the ALICE series.  It is a beautiful movie to watch and an intriguing storyline.  Young children will love the bright colors and the characters, but there are some moments that could be scary and the timeline (no pun intended) may be too complicated for young ones.  There are plenty of “time” jokes in the movie and, while there is no scene after the credits, there is one last special mention.  For the record, the audience in my screening laughed out loud at all the right moments and burst into applause at the end of the movie and there was a general sound of sadness when the dedication flashed onto the screen.

What My Thumb Looks Like After Screening a Movie for Review - Alice Through the Looking Glass

What My Thumb Looks Like After Screening a Movie for Review – Alice Through the Looking Glass

 

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About George Gensler

George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends. She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents. She grew up traveling the world, but her official residence was in Southern California and every visit home included a trip to Disneyland. She has also visited every Disney Park around the world and sailed on board two Disney cruises. She threw in a visit to the Disney Family museum in San Francisco for good measure, and has had the Premier Disney Park Pass since its inception.