Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

alice through the looking glass poster 2016 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Aspects of the time story, visuals, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter

Story is lacking, Johnny Depp

Movie Info

Movie Name: Alice Through the Looking Glass

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s):  May 10, 2016 (Premiere)/May 27, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG

alice through the looking glass mia wasikowska mirror

If the movie could live up to visuals like this…it might reach the “ok” mark

Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) has returned to London to discover that her ex-fiance Hamish Ascot (Leo Bill) has plans to take her ship in exchange for her family home.  When Alice is led back to Wonderland through a mirror in Hamish’s house, she discovers her good friend the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is in trouble.  He believes his family is alive and it is pushing him into a weakened state.  Alice finds she must get a device called the Chronosphere from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and voyage into Wonderland’s past to try to change the future…but the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) has her own plans for the Chronosphere.

Directed by James Bobin, Alice Through the Looking Glass is a family action-adventure movie.  Following Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland from 2010, the film is a name-only adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s second Alice book Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There from 1871.  The movie was met with negative reviews and nominated for Razzie Awards for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel, Worst Supporting Actor (Depp), and Worst Screen Combo (Johnny Depp and His Vomitously Vibrant Costume).

alice through the looking glass red queen time helena bonham carter sacha baron cohen

If you’re lost you can look and you will find me…time after time

I didn’t love Alice in Wonderland.  I thought it felt routine and almost a parody of classic Tim Burton films.  I didn’t have any desire to see the sequel.  When I got both for cheap, I thought I’d give Alice Through the Looking Glass a try.  It was like the dullness of Alice in Wonderland with shiny visuals.

The story goes on and on.  I actually am interested in time travel stories when they are approached in the way that this film approaches them, but the story (in general) isn’t very interesting.  Alice’s attempt to help the Mad Hatter has her trying to “fix” the Red Queen.  In her actions, Alice essentially damns her (which is kind of interesting in that Alice is her own worst enemy).  Alice realizes time has already happened and can’t be altered.  It turns out that this is all incidental and the Hatter’s family is alive regardless of Alice’s actions.

I do feel this is a strongly led female cast.  Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter do their best to make their characters three-dimensional.  Anne Hathaway’s White Queen doesn’t have as much screentime as the other two characters and lacks because of it.  Johnny Depp’s Hatter was one of the worst parts of the first Alice in Wonderland and here, he’s front and center…it hurts the movie.  Sacha Baron Cohen wasn’t bad as Time, but I wish he had been the true heavy or not involved at all.  The movie also has Matt Lucas, Stephen Fry, Michael Seen, Timothy Spall, Barbara Windsor, and Alan Rickman’s last credited role as Absolem (who has turned into a butterfly).

alice through the looking glass tweedledee tweedledum kids matt lucas

Wonderland Babies…it’s like Muppet Babies but lame

I will say that I think the visuals for this film are slightly better than the previous film.  Like the other film, the movie is all about the visuals, and the story lacks.  It doesn’t matter if you bring in good actors and coat the movie with effects that don’t really allow the story to develop.  If the story in this movie had been better, the visual effects would have worked effectively.

Alice Through the Looking Glass is a ho-hum sequel to a ho-hum movie.  It isn’t the worst thing I’ve seen but it lacks spirit and heart.  It feels like a sequel for sequel’s sake, and what potential the story has feels squandered.  The movie still was a moneymaker so I could see Alice venturing out again…maybe third time would be a charm?

Related Links:

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Alice in Wonderland (1966)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response