Exit Tim Burton and enter James Bobin (The Muppets) as Disney looks to venture back to Wonderland with a new Alice sequel based on “Through the Looking-Glass” by Lewis Carroll. All the original cast returns including Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter to lead this second go around, but can this stellar cast keep this franchise afloat for another successful run down the rabbit hole?
Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) has taken to the high seas as a captain of her late father’s ship. The return from Wonderland has given young Alice the thirst for adventure and she refuses to spill one drop of it. After returning from China, Alice is faced with a difficult decision which will alter the course of her life. Determined to continue her adventures, Alice finds her self at a cross roads, but a visit from Absolem leads her to a magical looking glass and a return to Wonderland once more.
Alice discovers her friend the Hatter (Johnny Depp) has been consumed by guilty and sorrow from the loss of his family which has driven him to be madder than usual. Desperate to see her friend return to normal, Alice confronts Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen) in search of the answer on how to change the past and save the Hatter’s family. Alice, realizing she must take matters into her own hands, borrows the Chronosphere, a time traveling device that takes her to through the past to find answers to help save her friend, but a familiar foe, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) wants the Chronosphere for herself and will stop at nothing to get it.
James Bobin’s vision for Alice Through the Looking Glass is not far off from Burton’s original in spectacle and storytelling and allows the audience to immerse itself back into the visual awe of Wonderland with ease. All the familiar characters take their places for a fun filled romp for children to OD on with little more than a tiresome story and hit or miss performances. Johnny Depp continues to rule the Disney cinematic universe as the real reason why audiences will flock back to the theaters for this unnecessary sequel, but the actor seems to enjoy still playing the character, albeit no doubt for the hefty paycheck and not the storytelling. Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter continue their wonderful performances in this franchise as Alice and the Red Queen and each are marvelous. Sacha Baron Cohen is a wonderful addition to this film and brings a nice mixture of menace and comedy to his character Time.
Overall, Alice Through the Looking Glass is nothing more than a visual spectacle, which means your kids will love it. A fun summer popcorn movie, but don’t expect too much.
2 1/2 out of 5
After Credit Scene?