‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’: A visual extravaganza (IANS Movie Review, Rating: ***)

Film: “Alice Through The Looking Glass”; Director: James Bobin; Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway, Johnny Depp, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Lindsay Duncan and Leo Bill; Rating: ***

“Alice Through The Looking Glass” is a fantasy, adventure film written by Linda Woolverton, based on characters created by Lewis Carroll. It is a sequel to the 2010 released “Alice in Wonderland”, which was directed by Tim Burton.

The narration begins with Alice Kinsleigh (Mia Wasikowska), as Captain, astutely manoeuvring her ship from pirates who are pursuing it. Initially, the scene seems like a dream sequence with Alice employing some remarkable nautical strategies to evade her pursuers. And when asked how she achieved this feat, she casually remarks, “The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible”.

Soon she has a show-down with her ex-fiance, Hamish (Leo Bill) and while she is in his father’s chamber, she is summoned through a mirror to return to wonderland, where she reunites with her old friends Tweedledee and Tweeedledum (Matt Lucas), the White Rabbit (Voiced by Michael Sheen), the Cheshire Cat (Voiced by Stephen Fry) and Mirana and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway). They inform her that they are all worried about their friend Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp).

Alice visits Mad Hatter and realises that he is depressed as he feels his dead family is still alive. He hopes that Alice believes him and will help him track them, which she does by travelling back in time. She does this by confronting the all-powerful Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and by stealing the Chronosphere. She travels the past, present and future in Wonderland, where she learns about Hatter’s family and rescues them.

While the story meanders away from the original, some of Carroll’s distinctive dialogues creep in at places, especially relating to time and the perception of time. Also, the conversational lines are in verse, which sound musical and alluring.

On the performance front, Mia Wasikowska as Alice, is enthusiastic and energetic. She is courageous and you believe in her strength. She is endearingly and blissfully naive, but she looks jaded.

Anne Hathaway as Mirana hardly has anything to offer, Johnny Depp with a shock of orange hair and clownishly painted visage as Mad Hatter, is convincing. Sacha Baron Cohen as Time is amusing. But it is Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen who steals the show with her outlandish getup and fine performance.

Technically, the film is perfect. The period and the fantasy land is atmospherically captured. The costumes add nuances to the drama. Visually, the film is CGI heavy, but they mesh seamlessly with the live action.

Like its previous edition, “Alice Through The Looking Glass” too is packed with life lessons for its young audience. Directed by James Bobin, this live action animated film with 3D effects is colourful, chaotic and engaging.

Nevertheless, it has a worn-out and fatigued appearance. That’s primarily because of the tones in the look of the film and feel of the frames. The scenes too seem oft seen.

Overall, “Alice Through The Looking Glass” is a decent film that would appeal to those who are not too fussed about the original story about “Alice in Wonderland”.



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