Alice Through the Looking Glass: Film Review


My reaction to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland was distinctly average – it was ‘meh’, alright but forgettable – so I wasn’t massively looking forward to this sequel, which has taken a big six-year gap and switched directors from Tim Burton to James Bobin. The box office takings were huge, but this sequel still feels unwarranted.

We join Alice (Mia Wasikowska) as she returns to London following a few years sailing the high seas as captain of the Wonder. She meets now-butterfly Absolem (voiced by Alan Rickman) who leads her back to Underland through a looking glass so she can help the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), who is in grave danger. He has become convinced his family are still alive and is slowly going insane over it. Alice must travel back in time to find out what happened to the Hightopps on the day they died – but first she needs to steal the Chronosphere from Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen).

This is, once again, ‘meh’, fine, forgettable. The plot is pretty flimsy and feels kinda pointless when you reach the end. It also annoys me how boring Alice is. She is a strong female in that she bucked the trend of women at the time by doing what she wants but she’s given nothing interesting to say and all her dialogue serves other people. She is supposed to be the lead but she is bland – and that’s a shame because I think Wasikowska is a brilliant actress. The same can be said for Oscar winner Anne Hathaway – she plays this airy-fairy queen who just floats around holding her hands weird. She doesn’t DO anything! Helena Bonham Carter returns as the evil Red Queen, who is exactly the same as before – loud, brash and occasionally funny.


The star for me was Baron Cohen – the newest addition to the cast – who is only one who consistently provides laughs, something which are distinctly few and far between anyway. His costume is fantastic, he is given the most exciting things to do and say and he is just captivating to watch. I also loved his metal minions lead by Wilkins (voiced by Toby Jones). Depp is good as the Hatter, but the character doesn’t have much opportunity to shine this time around. The voice cast returning also include Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall and Stephen Fry.

It looks amazing and is a visual feast. The costumes, hair and make-up and sets are full of colour and wonder. It’s just a shame that everything is so obviously CGI. I do have an issue with this but the recent Jungle Book movie changed my mind because it was done so well. Here, they are aiming for fantastical, not realistic so you are aware that none of it is practically there. The effects are brilliant, and the locations are awesome, but I wish there had been some more practical elements!

This is supposed to be a fun fantasy adventure for kids but it doesn’t feel particularly exciting or funny. I didn’t really care of Alice achieved her mission! The stakes aren’t high because you know Hatter will be fine and while it looks amazing, the substance is simply not there.

In cinemas Friday 27th May 

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