by Marissa Hock
Alice: Through the Looking Glass picks up where the 2010 Alice in Wonderland left off. Alice, played by Mia Wasikowska, has now become the captain of her late father’s ship and has led her crew on explorations through China and the Far East. She becomes intertwined in Wonderland once again after crawling through a magical mirror. She soon discovers that her best friend, the Hatter (Johnny Depp), is depressed and in need of help after he finds a clue that leads him to believe his family is still alive.
Like the first movie, Through the Looking Glass contains some amazing visuals filled with bright colors, creative customs, unique characters and scenes that feel like they are part of some drug induced state. I was lucky enough to see this movie at the Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center which features the largest IMAX screen in Virginia, complete with 3D. At times, I really felt like I was in Wonderland.
In order to bring the Hatter happiness, Alice steals the Chronosphere from Time. Time turns out to be a sort of half robotic, half human man. He is accompanied by some adorable side-kicks of seconds, hours and minutes. The Chronosphere allows Alice to travel back through the years where she hopes she can find the right moment and save the Hatter’s family. Stealing the Chronosphere turns out to be a big no-no. Alice’s actions almost kills them all. The key word at least is “almost.” Through this journey, she makes several stops which further reveal the back stories of some characters such as how the Queen of Hearts (Helena Bonham Carter) came to have such a large head and why she become fascinated with relieving those who oppose her from their own heads.
I have not read the original book by Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, but in the movie, it seems to me that Alice is the most boring part of the story. It’s unusual for me to not care too much about the main character of a book or story, especially when she’s a strong female. But with Through the Looking Glass, the creatures Alice encounters and the unexpected and odd things that happen are the most interesting parts. Alice is mostly a device to take us to the magical Wonderland. This story line did have some female power moments between Alice and her mother, but that plot line was secondary to the stories that took place in Wonderland.
The best part of Through the Looking Glass were the performances by Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. I will admit that I’m prejudiced when these two are on screen, especially when they’re playing up the crazy. I could watch the two of them read a take-out menu and be perfectly content. To me, the sign of good acting is forgetting that the actor is playing a role and becoming swept up in the character. Depp definitely accomplished this with the Hatter. He was truly odd and insane but entirely lovable and unique. Mia Wasikowska and Anne Hathaway (playing the White Queen) also gave good performances but did not shine like Depp and Bonham Carter.
Through the Looking Glass was an overall enjoyable movie with some good visuals and a few even better performances.