More Mad, Less Hatter
I really disliked Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Nothing really grabbed me about from the story to the characters I just thought it was a bit bland, forgettable and pointless. That is of course, with the exception of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter who I just wanted to shut up and fuck off throughout. Six years later we are given the sequel that literally no-one was asking for.
Through the Looking Glass has all the familiar trappings of the original film but weirdly I actually quite it. Let me explain why.
I still found most of the characters to be rather shallow archetypes. For example; Mirana (Anne Hathaway) is the good queen – beautiful, dainty, white and literally floats around the screen. Iracebeth (Helena Bonham Carter) is the bad queen – ugly, quick to temper, red and up to no good.
You can take almost any of the characters and somehow they come across as generic with well trodden motivations underpinning them; especially given that there is very little character development from the first film.
It’s not like the story hooked me in either which is surprising given that the screenplay was written by Linda Wolverton who had a hand in the Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and more recently Maleficent.
By the end of the film you’ll be left with one question: Huh?! It turns out that most of the events in the film are pointless and irrelevant. The very reason for Alice setting off on her quest (the Hatter is a bit poorly) is hard to empathise with, especially when he was the very thing I disliked about the original.
If you take a look at the architecural style of Tokyo you will see areas that smash new and old, high and low rise together yet it all comes together to look like, well… Tokyo. This is how I feel about Through the Looking Glass. It’s easy to have contempt for a lot of the individual pieces of this film but it’s precisely because of this confusing narrative and the try-hard characters that I enjoyed the film.
I think the best way to describe it is unhinged. By taking delight from insanity it is only natural for it to be whimsical yet unnerving and bordering on threatening.
If you look at most fairy tales they are often quite gruesome or at the very least based on something rather awful so I loved the fact that the film dares to indulge in the darker side of fairy tales.
Even you this doesn’t spark an interest in your warped mind like it does in mine the film also features some excellent use of special effects. This is mainly towards the end of the film and forms one of the darker aspects of the storyline which also manages to weave in the events of the original rather seamlessly whilst reducing screen time for Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter which in my opinion is a good thing.
To me, this film represents the duality of human nature: I fully recognise that it’s actually not a very good film but there is something about it that is both unbridled fun and unsettling that I really enjoyed. Perhaps that says more about me than the film!?
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Less Mad Hatter
+ Excellent CGI
+ Weaves in the previous film
– Convoluted story line
– Too casual for some
– Archetypal characters