Alice through the looking glass (2016)
Genre : Fantasy
Country : USA
Johnny Depp : Hatter Tarrant Hightopp
Mia Wasikowska : Alice
Sacha Baron Cohen : Time
“I do not know who you are.
You’re not my Alice.
My Alice believes in me.”
I’ve never been a fan of the “Alice in Wonderland” fairy tale. It’s a rather bizarre story that took shape in the inventive mind of Lewis Carroll. Not that it lacked imagination, but I had the impression that the wizardry with literary tricks got the most attention. A story richly filled with roguish puns. When I started watching this movie, there was one thing in my disadvantage. My total ignorance about the character Alice. I didn’t even bother to watch the previous movie “Alice in Wonderland” from 2010. So that makes that a character like Hatter (Johnny Depp) a complete stranger to me.
The opening scene of the film actually is a reflection of the rest. A highly professional imaged pursuit at sea, with Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) skillfully maneuvering her boat over a reef while using a seemingly improbable sail trick. Why those Malaysian pirates were chasing her, was completely unclear to me and nowhere explained afterwards. And that’s also the overall image I have about this movie. Superbly imaged, but so unclear and very confusing. Of course my lack of knowledge about Alice is a leading factor. But the way Underland (where Alice returns by stepping through a magical mirror) is designed, is truly phenomenal. The beautiful colors splash right off the screen. A surreal world full of wondrous things and enchanting characters. It reminded me a bit of “Oz the Great and Powerful” where you also could admire a multicolored wonderland.
And not only the imaginative scenery are stunning. Also the wonderful characters look unreal and mega-fantastic at the same time. Alice sees her old friends again after a long time. And it’s a colourful group of fantasy figures. Absolem, Thackery and Cheshire Cat are wonderful, brisk animations. Tweedle dee and dum (Matt Lucas) look witty, yet scary in a way. Mirana, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) is rather …well … colorless. Iracebeth, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) is not only an annoying character, but also an interesting and at time sometimes madcap character. And in between whirls Alice. She isn’t surprised about this miraculous world, since it is not the first time she ends up there. And obviously you’ll meet Hatter Tarrant Hightopp, a crazy and carnivalesque hatter, whose health rapidly deteriorates. The only remedy is to find back his family. But seemingly, this isn’t so obvious. Apparently they’ve died in the past. The only way to succeed, is to travel back in time. And that ‘s exactly what Alice is going to ask Time (Sacha Baron Cohen). How can she go back in time and prevent Hatter’s family of being killed? And that’s when the majestic part of Cohen (aka Borat) begins. He’s the personification of time. And he plays it in a sublime and magnificent way.
Visually, the film is just phenomenally beautiful. Content wise it’s terribly chaotic. At certain moments I really couldn’t keep up with the story. It realy felt as if they tried to cram lots of facts, characters and storylines in one film. And those time travels weren’t making it simple either. Even the eccentric Depp couldn’t convince me. The whole story revolves around him in a way. As a result he’s in the picture lots of times. To be honest, his character started to irritate me a bit after a while. I’d rather would have seen those other characters in action a bit more often. Like Time for instance. Unprecedented the best part in this Alice in Wonderland chapter. A pedant, despotic figure who isn’t afraid to put you in an endless time loop. Assisted by his submissive employees (called minions) he controls time in this wonderland. And he carries out this painstaking work, while residing in his impressive “Palace of Time”. A visually striking building and imaginative creation. But eventually I came to the same conclusion. Alice in Wonderland is not “my cup of tea.”