This past weekend, I had the incredible experience of seeing “Alice Through the Looking Glass” in 3D at the Real D headquarters. Having enjoyed the first movie, and being an avid lover of the Disney animated “Alice”, as well as the Lewis Carol books, I was both excited yet unsure of what to expect from this new film. It has attached to it a different director, and an all-new original story, yet the whimsical familiarities and stellar cast we have come to know and love. Now I’m here to share with you our official, spoiler-free review!
The 2010 “Alice in Wonderland” film was directed by Tim Burton, which meant “Alice Through the Looking Glass” director James Bobin had some very big shoes to fill! Bobin and the design team definitely stayed true to the iconic “Burton” look of the film, which I was very happy about. But what I really loved is that Bobin really made the film it’s own entity, it didn’t feel like he was trying to direct how Burton would direct, instead he kept the Burtonesque look of the film, yet the tone felt very different. A different tone definitely felt necessary for this film, as our characters are all 6 years more experienced, and have developed much over that time.
Not only did Bobin deliver in giving us very rich characters who have grown in wisdom and wonder (and in the Queen of Hearts case, head circumference), but every actor gave their all. It wasn’t just a casual re-visit to Alice, Hatter, or the White Queen. Instead, we learn more about their backstories, vulnerabilities, and their hearts.
Johnny Depp of course gave another wonderfully quirky performance as the Mad Hatter, but in this film audiences get to experience a more human side of him. Depp delivered a perfectly balanced performance of whimsy and reality.
Anne Hathaway (the White Queen) also got to explore the richness of her character in “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” I felt in this film her character had more dimensions, and seemed more relatable as opposed to being the perfect and beloved Queen.
Helena Bonham Carter gave us another stellar performance as the delightfully hotheaded Queen of Hearts. We also get to learn more about her childhood, and how she became a villain. For fans of the “Maleficent” movie, you will definitely love the focus of a villain origin story. In this film, we also got to see more sisterly interactions between the two queens.
New to “Alice Through the Looking Glass” is Sacha Baron Cohen’s character, Time. Time was one of my favorite parts of this film, and helped tie the film altogether. Not only through comedic moments, but by having moments of empathy for both the Queen of Hearts and Alice.
Mia Wasikowska (Alice) did an incredible job at playing an adult Alice. We always just see Alice in all adaptations as a child, so Wasikowska was placed with the task of figuring out how Alice would be as more of an adult, yet still believing the unpossible can happen. Her character was innocent and kind, yet brave and more sensible. It was incredible to see this character developed so much from the first film, and I couldn’t get enough of watching her portray a form of Alice that “Wonderland” fans have not yet seen before.
Aside from the stellar cast and amazing directing job, the film was of course visually stunning. There was so much focus on details in the sets, costumes, and props, which made every moment of “Alice Through the Looking Glass” a work of art. I would definitely recommend seeing the film in 3D, as I feel it enhanced the story and felt perfect in having the audience truly feel they are in Wonderland.
The film hits U.S. theaters May 27th.