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Movie Review: ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ slips into a more curious and darker world

Courtney Stringfellow

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Fall into a darker world of Underland as the eccentric cast returns with Alice to take on her new adventure when she steps through the looking glass - in theaters May 27, 2016. The movie contains a few ups and downs that might drive you mad. Photo courtesy Disney.

Fall into a darker world of Underland as the eccentric cast returns with Alice to take on her new adventure when she steps through the looking glass – in theaters May 27, 2016. The movie contains a few ups and downs that might drive you mad. Photo courtesy Disney.

Audiences have gone bonkers for this sequel to “Alice in Wonderland”  as Alice and her cast of eccentric friends return to the big screen. This adventure calls for stealing the Chronosphere — a magic, spinning, scepter-like object that acts as the heart of Time — in order to travel into the past, save the Mad Hatter’s family and cure Hatter from the illness that possesses him.

Fans know the Mad Hatter, played by Johnny Depp, for being the most bonkers of all of the characters. Hatter’s character is darker and deeper than others, sinking him further into madness. Although he himself doesn’t ask for it, he desperately needs the help that only Alice Kinsleigh, Mia Wasikowska’s character, can provide. Her friends rely on her for her bravery and ability to make the impossible possible.

The White Rabbit (voiced by the late Alan Rickman) took audiences down the rabbit hole in “Alice in Wonderland.” In the sequel, Absolem (voiced by Michael Sheen) carries the urgent message to Alice and guides her back to the world of Underland through the looking glass.

The vibrant color and whimsical scenes from the topsy-turvy world of Underland in the first movie are gone, as this film is darker. It also reveals secrets that attempt to humanize the out-of-this-world characters. Alice tries to put together pieces that address many of the characters’ individual problems, not just Hatter’s, in her journey back in time.

Her journey unfolds mysteries surrounding the heavyweight characters who, aside from Hatter, includes the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) and the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). One attempt to show their humanity and reveal their vulnerable side is the constant use of the names that their loved ones address them by. The movie is driven by each character’s inner struggle and reaches out to make their characters more relatable.

The central focus of the sequel is a race from Time, who Sacha Baren Cohen personifies, as he follows Alice as she takes the steps she believes are necessary to save Hatter’s family, the Hightopps. Cohen depicts Time’s as an evil tall, dark and clock-like man, which simultaneously humanizes him.

Since Time walks and talks like a man, he obviously becomes the butt of “time” jokes. The jokes offer bits of humor here and there, but they don’t compensate for the movie’s lack of new and inspiring quotes that one would expect from a bold adventure.

Memorable lines like, “Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” that accompanied Alice’s journey in the first movie are merely repeated to encourage her as she races to complete her new challenge. Time’s quote, “You cannot change the past but you can learn from it,” is the only one that stood out to me. It becomes the lesson all the characters finally learn to accept and understand.

The Lord of England, Hamish Ascot, (played by Leo Bill), gets more screen time in this film. The purpose of his character made me cringe, but he becomes necessary to draw out a struggle facing Alice with her family in her world.

I appreciated the movie’s attempts to pull at my heartstrings as characters’ reveal their humanity, proving they are each the same inside. The basic desires of all people, no matter if you’re from Underland or our world, prove to be the drive that each character craves.

The one question in the back of my mind during the movie was, “Will we once again see Hatter dance the Futterwacken?” But the real question that is laid out on the table throughout the plot is, “Is it too late for some of them, or do they all get what they want?”

Audiences should not take this movie seriously; it took me on a whimsy adventure, minus the catchy visual appeal of the first one. If you’re a curious fan of Alice and her adventures, you should consider watching this movie. If not, save it for a rainy day when you’re looking to just pass time.

 

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Movie Review: ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ slips into a more curious and darker world