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Alice Through the Looking Glass - Film Review

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by Jenny Prior (subscribe)
Writer, photographer, educator, explorer of places new, with a passion for adding fun back into life.
Published May 25th 2016
I Once Believed Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Visually breathtaking, Alice Through the Looking Glass draws you into its spell from the opening scenes.

Through the Looking Glass, Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass Walt Disney Pictures

'You've been gone too long Alice,' says the seductive voice of Alan Rickman in the role of Absolem, the Butterfly. 'And do mind your step.' We fall through the door with Alice into dazzling Wonder-filled worlds of water, sky and forest. The fast-paced dramatic CGI imagery lends itself perfectly to viewing in 3D.

Alice is lured back to Wonderland to help save her friend the Hatter. Believing 'six impossible things before breakfast' gives her the mindset to tackling the changes in time, body size, transport and the personality of old friends, that beset her. Alice as a girl was helped to find her way in a strange land. Then tables turn as the girl, now grown to a confident ship's captain, risks all to bring the Hatter back from being lost.

While Alice is being all grown up, the childhood of many Wonderland characters is revealed. Background memories of the Red Queen are woven into the narrative. Was she born with a large head or did something happen to create her unusual proportions? Why are the Red and White Queens enemies? We glimpse the Hatter as a young boy and see his first hat.

Can Alice be sent back through time with a stolen time machine to change the pain of the future? Time (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) is the newcomer to Wonderland. His piercing blue eyes and clockwork neck claim your attention when he is on the screen. Alice is not mesmerized and flees in his size-changing, time-travelling Chronosphere.

The World of Time Walt Disney Pictures

Trailing Alice to the Mad Hatter's tea party, Time is the butt of more jokes about time than you can hit with the swing of an invisible cat. With time in his control, Time leaves March Hare, Dormouse and Hatter cruelly suspended in the minute before the satisfaction of a sip of tea.

Time is the lynchpin in this sequel. Alice's Looking Glass adventure progresses forward in time from her two earlier adventures in Wonderland. Hatter and the estranged Queens depend on Alice's bravery to travel back in time. Much rests on Alice healing the rifts of the past.

One of my favourite thought-provoking scenes is Time's aerial graveyard, where you will be suspended when 'your time is up'.

Anchoring the continuity of Alice in Wonderland with its sequel is the happy return of all the major actors; Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter (sometimes called Tarrant Hightopp), Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, (also known as Iracebeth of Crims), Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, (also called Mirana of Marmoreal); who all retain their 'muchness'. The tones of Stephen Fry speak silkily through the smile of the Cheshire cat.

While the Looking Glass first acts as a gate to other worlds, in the end it serves a deeper purpose. You can reflect on the past to change your future. Alice is able to use her Wonderland experience to steer a hopeful future for both her Mother and herself.

The Soundtrack is short, with two songs by Pink, Just Like Fire and White Rabbit. Be sure and stay for the caricature cameos of actors at the end. They are reminiscent of Tenniel's original illustrations.
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*Jenny Prior was invited as a guest
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Why? Succomb to the lure of Wonderland
When: Screening from 26th May, 2016
Cost: See individual cinemas for ticket prices
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