In the sequel to the 2010 Oscar-winning film Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass catches up with a more mature Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) as she returns from an adventurous trip overseas to China as a sea captain.
Faced with many stresses upon her homecoming, Alice makes the bold decision to escape through a magical mirror back to Wonderland. Learning that her dearest friend The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is ill, Alice must go back in time using a Chronosphere to save him. She meets Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), who warns her of the dangers of meddling with the past.
Encountering many familiar faces along the way, including the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), and Absolem the caterpillar (the late Alan Rickman in his final role), Alice embarks on a journey to save not only the Hatter, but others as well.
With the supreme success of the first live action Alice in Wonderland, I had high hopes for its sequel and I’m happy to say I thoroughly enjoyed Alice Through the Looking Glass. Visually, the film was just as stunning as the first, thanks to the amazing CGI, costume design and attention to detail. The backstories of the characters added depth to the film, and the incredible cast added the cherry on top of this tremendously delicious and enchanted cake.
The costumes were marvelous, colorful and detailed. One of my favorite pieces was the bright embroidered pant suit worn by Alice at the beginning of the film. There was a clear Asian influence in the piece thanks to her trip to China, but it remained true to Alice’s eccentric flare. As expected, each character’s costumes encompassed their individual traits, from the push-pin and thimble on the Mad Hatter’s hand, to the metal heart on the Red Queen’s dress, and the handmade pocket watch on Time’s glove. The attention to detail is what truly makes these costumes so spectacular. Don’t miss the behind-the-scenes look at what went into creating the costumes in the bonus features!
The CGI and special effects in the film were extraordinary, and there is one particular scene that stands out among the rest. As Alice traveled through time using the Chronosphere, she passed through an ocean-like portal that displayed specific moments in time in the waves. It was not only a unique take on the concept of what time looks like, but visually captivating and beautifully assembled. The various moments in time through which Alice traveled were meticulously crafted, taking viewers on a special journey through the unique histories of many of the characters.
With all the time travel in Through the Looking Glass, it was quite the treat to peek inside the childhood homes of the Mad Hatter and the Red and White Queen. I enjoyed the direction the film took by diving into the backstory of these characters to discover the circumstances that made them who they are. I can’t forget to mention the exciting and mysterious visit to the home of Time, one of the highlights of the film for me. As you’d expect, Time lives in an extravagant clock tower where he monitors the individual time of the people of Underland.
On top of the beautifully crafted costumes, special effects and creative CGI, the talented actors and actresses who brought the fantastical characters to life cannot be ignored. Sacha Baron Cohen brought his famous outlandish flare to the role of Time. I thoroughly enjoyed him in this movie, and that is not something I say often about Sacha. He really stretched his acting chops and pulled off something great.
Johnny Depp once again gave a stellar performance as the Mad Hatter, and Helena Bonham Carter captivated as the Red Queen. What was truly special about their performance this time around was the different side we got to see from these characters, with the Mad Hatter losing his “madness,” and the Red Queen displaying a softer, more vulnerable side. Doing this while also maintaining the traits that make the characters unique was likely a challenge, but Johnny and Helena pulled it off gracefully.
It’s difficult for a highly successful film to create a sequel that lives up to expectations. In many ways, Alice Through the Looking Glass did just that. It was a magical, vibrant and uplifting journey that is sure to tickle the adventurous bone in everybody.
You won’t want to miss the bonus features, including: Behind the Looking Glass, A Stitch in Time: Costuming Wonderland, Time On…, Characters of Underland, Scene Peelers, Music Video: “Just Like Fire” By Pink & Behind The Music Video, Audio Commentary and Deleted Scenes.
Alice Through the Looking Glass is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
If you have seen Alice Through the Looking Glass and would like to review it, click here. ~Emily Hatfield