Film review: Alice Through the Looking Glass (3 out of 5)
What do you do if you're trying to create a movie about a book that doesn't really lend itself to the big screen?
Well, in this case you ignore the entire story and make it up yourself.
There is an Alice and there is a Looking Glass, but that’s pretty much where the similarity ends.
Instead, we have an amazing cavalcade of colour and a plot that’s bascially a vehicle for Johnny Depp.
He plays the Mad Hatter, now called Hatter Tarrant Hightopp.
Remarkably, much of the cast of 2010’s Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland are reinstalled in their original roles for this sequel (with Burton as a producer).
This means the late Alan Rickman has his final film role as the voice of the Blue Caterpillar.
Mia Wasikowska is back as Alice and, as the film starts, she’s a sea captain escaping on her ship from pirates.
If that doesn’t tell you to forget Lewis Carroll’s original source material then nothing will!
When she finally goes through the looking glass Alice discovers that to save her friend the Hatter from tumbling into despair she needs to go back in time and save his family from being killed by the Jaberwocky.
Enter time itself (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Alice’s nemesis the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).
There seems to be a fascination for creating back stories to fairy tale characters in recent years and so we learn all about the Hatter and the Red Queen’s past.
Hampshire born director James Bobin keeps the action tearing along and the special effects are truly remarkable.
Wasikowska’s Alice is a feisty individual and Depp’s Hatter is a wonder to behold.
The support cast reads like a who’s who of British talent - Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas, Richard Armitage, Andrew Scott, Timothy Spall, Geraldine James, Lindsay Duncan - to name just a few!
The magical world plot is fun enough but the ‘real-world’ story is particularly confusing and less believeable than the tale in Wonderland.
Overall it’s a fun and colourful adventure that will keep younger viewers amused.
But don’t expect the deep philosophical thoughts and ideas that were in the book.
Film details: Alice Through the Looking Glass (PG) 113mins
Director: James Bobin
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter
Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol