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Alice Through the Looking Glass (3D)

2016-05-27 11:52

What it's about:

Alice returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.

What we thought:

Alice in Wonderland has been an all-time favourite classic of mine, and although the movie sequel has little similarity to the book sequel despite a few references, Disney managed to capture that insanity and gleeful hilarity that make the books such a delight to read. Alice Through the Looking Glass might appear as absurd as its predecessor, but its story and message is more focused on tying up loose threads and introducing new intriguing characters to this bewildering universe.

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) has been sailing the China Sea for a year, and upon her return discovers she’ll be forced into an office job. As she ponders her future, she falls back into the Underworld through a mirror and finds the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) fading away into death. Desperate to save him, she travels back in time, to the dismay of Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) himself.

Although Tim Burton only returned as producer to the sequel, the new director James Bobin did a good job at keeping the joviality going, without the plot falling victim to a universe as mad as Underworld. Luckily the same writer Linda Woolverton stayed on board (a Disney veteran who wrote the screenplays for Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Maleficent). She a created a story very connected to the first one, and put more focus on the various characters origin stories, their motivations and introduced a new array of great creatures and weirdos. The best of them all however was Time, an amazing representation of such a difficult concept that humans universally hate.

Cohen continues to perplex when he pushes out such great performances compared to some of his other more vulgar films, and ironically Bobin was his director during his Ali G days. This familiarity with each other meant that Bobin knew exactly how to reel in Cohen’s overacting, and together they made Time come to life with great monologues and quirky behaviour. Wasikowska also delivered another great Alice, Depp was a little less melodramatic and Anne Hathaway nailed the airy weirdness of the White Queen. Helene Bonham Carter also returned with big head and all, but you manage to gain a deeper understanding of her actions by looking at the past. Sticking with Disney’s current trend, villains are not as evil as they used to be.

The first movie won two Oscars for both Art Direction and Costume Design, and this one will easily be another contender. Time’s outfit alone warrant a technical Oscar nomination, and the crazy beauty continue throughout the movie. They even managed to make vegetable men look pretty badass, and Hatter as a boy is the most adorable little cutie pie. Their imagination ran wild, and we are lucky to be allowed in on their wild ride.

Literary purists will not be so amped with a film that is based on a book it has no resemblance to, but if you are a fan of the Disney live-action franchise this one was a great fantastical ride on a runaway rollercoaster, and you should leave your rational senses at the cinema’s door if you want to enjoy it.

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