“Hatter is my truest friend. If he’s in need, I will help him.”
The movie places you right in the middle of an action sequence at sea as Alice (Mia Wasikowska), now the captain of her father’s ship The Wonder, attempts a daring maneuver in an attempt to escape pirates. The excitement cools down as soon as Alice and her crew return to port and she finds that things have changed since her departure. Her mother Helen (Lindsay Duncan), is still grieving over the passing of her husband; Alice’s father, and has had to make some difficult decisions during Alice’s absence. Thanks to Alice’s one time suitor, Hamish (Leo Bill), one of those difficult decisions is the choice between selling their home or The Wonder.
Wonderland then calls to Alice in the form of Absolem. My eyes widened at the sight of the blue butterfly that fluttered its way across the screen. I had forgotten that the late, great Alan Rickman had provided the voice of Absolem for the previous film and I had a slight panic attack as I wondered if the butterfly would speak. Then it did, or rather… he did, and my heart swelled at the sound. His passing was one felt the world over so when his voice came rumbling through the theater speakers, I couldn’t help but shed a tear.
The caterpillar turned butterfly attempts to coax Alice back to Wonderland and it doesn’t take much effort once she hears about the reason for her needed return. She is the final hope of resolving a certain matter regarding the Mad Matter (Johnny Depp) who has fallen ill. The only remedy that’ll cure the Hatter involves stealing a time machine from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) himself. Time tries to warn Alice about the consequences of her actions stating that “one can not change time, but one can hope to learn from it.” Alice being Alice though is so headstrong in her decision to help her friend that she takes off without listening to the warnings. Thus begins the real meat of the story as we rollercoaster ride through an ocean of time to help the Hatter.
“Alice: Through the Looking Glass” is a CGI heavy yet enjoyable and colorful movie. It’s definitely brighter than the first one though I’m not thoroughly convinced that it is better film. The pace really slows down on occasion and no amount of eye candy can hide it when it does. There are a lot of little moments that help to ease the viewer through though, one of which being a humorous interaction with Humpty Dumpty and a chess set.
All of the main players from the first movie, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the Tweedles (Matt Lucas), the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), etc… return with Helena Bonham Carter reprising her role as the Red Queen. She’s still upset with Alice for what our hero did to the Jabberwocky in the previous film. Bonham Carter and Depp are no strangers to the setting and it shows. Wasikowska’s Alice seems much more confident this time around which makes sense for the character, but I believe that the standout performance should go to Sacha Baron Cohen. When you first meet his character, you’re not quite sure of what to make of him but as the movie progresses, so does your viewpoint of him and by the end of the film, you come to respect Time’s role in Wonderland. The movie wraps up neatly with Alice learning a lesson or two and returning from Wonderland all the wiser.