Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016)

Seven Years Bad Luck

Director: James Bobin
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Rhys Ifans, Matt Lucas, Lindsey Duncan

It's an understatement to say releasing live action adaptations of their popular animated films has proven profitable for Disney, but the recent releases of Cinderella and The Jungle Book have proven the films quality can match up to their box office. But if those pictures were one step forward for such adaptations, then the sequel to Tim Burton's 2010 misfire is two steps backwards.

After 3 years at sea, Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Underland. There she finds the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is ill, believing his family may actually be alive. In an effort to save him, Alice goes to a clock-like being named Time (Sacha Baron Cohen), to ask for his help in saving her friend.

Taking over the reins from Burton is Muppets: Most Wanted director James Bobin, and he manages to bring appealing visual scenery, which help to sell this world. There's also some nice ideas committed to the screen, particularly wherever Time and his realm are involved. Unfortunately, those ideas are relegated while viewers are stuck with a feeble attempt at a plot, leaving viewers stuck watching needless origins for the citizens of Wonderland Underland. One included sequence particularly feels forced, only existing to get the Time gags out there before critics could.

Once more, Mia Wasikowska puts a decent performance into an unengaging lead we're supposed to care for. It must be said she fares better than Johnny Depp, who gives the same bargain bin performance he delivered in the films predecessor, complete with fluctuating accent. Helena Bonham Carter remains irritating and over the top, which is a contrast from her onscreen sister, played blandly by Anne Hathaway. As for Sacha Baron Cohen, he remains just there, bizarre accent and all.

The most glaring problem lies in Alice's actions. Upon asking Time for help, he grants her a warning that it cannot be done. Thinking she knows better than the personification of Time itself, she steals a time-travelling MaGuffin and causes the films plot to put Underland and its citizens at risk, resulting in bad things happening all over the place. Is this really somebody we're supposed to root for? 

Alice Through The Looking Glass doesn't feel like an entrance to a maddening world populated by Lewis Carroll's creations. It feels more like Disney hoping audiences will return to generate another billion dollars for the company. The final line uttered by Sacha Baron Cohen are perfect for this franchise: "Don't come back".