After years of following in her father’s footsteps, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to her magical dream world in Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Alice is greeted by her friends – the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), Tweedles (Matt Lucas), White Queen (Anne Hathaway), Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), Bayard (Timothy Spall), and Dormouse (Barbara Windsor). Mysteriously missing from the group is Hatter (Johnny Depp). Alice visits Hatter and finds his health is rapidly declining. Hatter believes his family is still alive and survived the Attack of the Jabberwocky. The only way to for him to get well is for Alice to find his family.
In order to find them, Alice must travel through time. She has to steal a device known as the chronosphere. The device is a metal ball, that when rolled out, looks like H.G Wells’ Time Machine. It powers all the time in Wonderland is is kept by Time (Sacha Baron Cohen). Alice steals the chronosphere and sets out to find The Hightops and save Hatter.
Alice Through the Looking Glass is more of a colorful CGI fairy-tale than a worthy adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s novel of the same name. Alice’s sea captain story is a bit interesting then she’s immediately thrust into Wonderland with all her wacky friends. Most of the actors seem to be phoning in their performances, most notably Johnny Depp. It’s hard to separate his wacky Hatter routine from his performances as Mortdecai, Tonto, Barnabas Collins, or Jack Sparrow – different hair and makeup for those characters, same Johnny Depp shtick.
The story suffers from the usual illness that plague most sequels – the characters aren’t as interesting, the story is stereotyped, and it’s almost impossible to recapture the magic from the previous film. On top of that, the majority of the cast doesn’t look engaged. Even when the storyline meanders into a back story involving the White Queen and Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), none of it feels earned or the even a little compelling.
Director James Bobin does his best Tim Burton impersonation, but it’s not enough to make Alice Through the Looking Glass the fun trip down the rabbit hole it had the potential to be.