Based on the acclaimed children’s novel by Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass finally arrives as the sequel to Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (2010). Even though this time it was not directed by Tim Burton, he was still involved as producer. This second film tells the story of Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska), who since the last movie has taken up the role of a powerful female captain in the nineteenth century. The young woman finds her way through a mirror and into Wonderland, where she travels through time in order to save her dear friend the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp).
In addition to Wasikowska and Depp, Anne Hathaway reprises her role as the White Queen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. Alan Rickman also reprised his voice role as Absolem, but sadly passed away before the film was released. Hence, the film has been heartfeltly dedicated to him. Furthermore, the movie introduces Sacha Baron Cohen as Time, on whom one can always count to make the audience laugh.
When it comes to the quality of the film, some its aspects were more positive than others. The outfits, for instance, were very creative and extravagant. The rest of the presentation was also very appealing to the eye. The special effects and visuals were quite pleasing and effective when it came to creating a fantasy-infused atmosphere for the story to take place in. The plot, on the other hand, was close to being disastrous. Making a film based on a book allows for artistic license, which is why it is no excuse to blame the lack of success on the original story, one that was not as successful as it predecessor in the first place. It is unfortunate to say that Alice Through the Looking Glass failed to deliver on certain fronts, having focused a little too much on the looks and too little on the story, therefore lacking excitement and action.
Nonetheless, a positive aspect of the movie is that it also tackles feminist themes. The viewers see Alice being constantly patronised for being a young woman and is even strapped to a bed in an insane asylum being diagnosed by a male doctor (played by Andrew Scott): “Let me see. Excitable, prone to fantasy: textbook case of female hysteria.” Despite the oppressive nature of the people around her, Alice proves to be a strong character. She captains a ship, sails the world and is the hero to the story. From this perspective, the movie is empowering and inspiring for female viewers of all ages while at the same time commenting on the role of women in the nineteenth century.
Although it cannot be said that this was the film-of-the-year, Alice Through the Looking Glass is nonetheless funny, charming and worth a watch. The movie was able to transfer the messages from the original story to the screen in a magnificent manner, teaching the viewers a valuable lesson, that “you cannot change the past, but you can learn from it”. Magical and timeless as it has always been, Wonderland is sure to captivate and encourage the imagination of all audiences.
-Femke and Catalina