For a film with such incredible visuals and creative design, Alice Through The Looking Glass is surprisingly dull and empty. The story is lacklustre too and loses the charm that made Burton’s first film in 2010 so endearing. It all feels so unneccessary and despite a nice return for many of the characters including the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) it just feels like a heartless sequel void of emotion and enthusiasm.
The story follows Alice (Mia Wasikowska) as she once again finds herself back in Underland but this time, much like the film’s tone throughout, its void of emotion. The Mad Hatter is stuck in a deep state of depression and refuses to leave his house so Alice goes on a mission to save him. As she travels back through time to save Underland from the Red Queen and a formidable new foe called “Time”. There’s some good imagination here and some of the character designs are well thought out. The actual plot itself is messy at times and follows a basic story formula leaving little time for any of the characters to develop.
Although Depp does a pretty solid job of showing a more vulnerable side of the Mad Hatter, he quickly devolves into an annoying caricature of his usual traits in every film. The over-the-top hand flails and crazy eyes can only go so far and here it definitely feels exposed and out of place. Alice is still the same wondrous, oblivious protagonist as before and possibly her performance is the only other bit of praise to be mustered from this film but it all just feels so lifeless. Everything from the score to the plot all the way through to the ending feels like a cash in. Its a shame because visually the film is very impressive but in every other respect, the film fails to deliver a compelling narrative.
Alice Through The Looking Glass should be a good film. The visuals are there and with a more refined script maybe there could be something but it feels like a film made without love. Unlike the first film that oozed charm and wonder, Through The Looking Glass has none. The script is a mess, the characters lacklustre and every part of this film screams mediocrity. Aside from the visuals and Alice’s performance, there isn’t a whole lot to like here in this disappointing sequel.