Director: James Bobin
Cast: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman (Voiceover)
There's a thing about adaptations, either you stay true to the basics or you pick up segments from the basic to built something new altogether. 'Alice Through The Looking Glass' falls into the latter category. Based on the works of renowned English writer Lewis Caroll, the film is a sequel of 2010 gothic adaptation of children's favourite 'Alice In Wonderland'.
James Bobin-directed feature is everything a fantasy fiction lover would like it to be; colorful, majestic and full of wonder. However, that's all you get from the film. Inspired from the works of one of the best writers of 19th century, the film carries nothing more than the title. The depth and bewilderment of a child is missing.
In Bobin's world, Alice is now a ship's captain fighting the odds and defying the society by being a woman of her own choices. She remembers her last trip to the Wonderland and enter that world again only to find Mad-Hatter in a sick state. This time Alice has to race against time, save Hatter's family from the past and reunite them to save him from his sickness. The plot completely diverts itself from the book where Alice is still naive, the story is all about chess levels, Red King, Dreams and Reality. However in the end a more comprehensibly line of Carroll's "Life, what is it but a dream?" puts a fitting end to Alice's journey in the wonderland.
Tim Burton's 'Alice In Wonderland' was gothic, dark and over the top. It drifted you away with its story and overall an enjoyable experience. The sequel matches its predecessor in terms of excellent graphics and raises hopes with the adventure, but there is something missing beneath all the floss - an in-depth story.
Talking about the characters and the actors, everybody seem to justify their parts well. Mia Wasikowska as Alice is strong-willed and optimistic but her naive nature and innocence is lost. Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter has brought a new vulnerability with him this time , Anna Hathaway as White Queen is still the same, absent minded and soft. Helena Bonham Carter as Red Queen overshadows everyone (including Alice). Sacha Baron Cohen as Time is wise, self-indulgent and new to Alice's 'nothing is impossible' optimism.
Yes, the imagery and the characters want you to stay in the movie forever, escaping the realities of life but the symbolism of story is missing. The essence of Carroll's work is the symbolism of sufferings which the makers have replaced with morals like staying true to yourself, honouring family and being loyal to friends.
So where does this sequel stands? Well, surely this adaptation is not meant for fans who live in Carroll's world of symbolism and alternate reality. The film is frost with justifiable roles by all and a treat for graphic lovers. The story is flat with little ups and downs and its preachy nature makes it a film for children.
Go for it if you love Burton style flamboyancy and for Alice's brave nature. The film will disappoint the fans of original work but will definitely make you escape from your 'reality'. It is dreamy but gets torn between the concept and execution.
Enjoy this subtle, feel good film just as a lighter sequel of a heavy film and not as a classic literature adaptation.
Concluding the film's theme in one line, as Hatter puts it, "If Dreams are not reality? Who's to say which is which?"