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Released in 2010, Disney's Alice In Wonderland made over $1 billion dollars globally. As such, it was only a matter of time (quite literally) before Lewis Carroll's 1871 sequel was also adapted for the big screen. Tim Burton hands over the directorial reigns to James Bobin (The Muppets) this time, while staying on to produce.
Since we last saw Alice (Mia Wasikowska), she's been sailing the seven seas in her Dad's ship. Faced with problems back at home, an enchanted looking glass soon brings the titular adventurer back to Underland.
The original cast all return, with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Matt Lucas as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hatherway as the Red and White Queens respectively. Lending their voices are Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat, Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit and the late Alan Rickman as Absolem the Caterpillar.
When something triggers a traumatic memory from his past, the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) turns into a sad Hatter. Alice decides to go on an impossible mission to cheer up her inconsolable friend. To do so, she must obtain the Chronosphere from the human manifestation of Time (played by Sacha Baron Cohen).
Visiting the iconic characters at various stages of their lives adds surprising depth and range. Bonham Carter's Red Queen is delightfully dastardly, stealing the show whenever she's on screen. Mia Wasikowska remains a strong lead and Sacha Baron Cohen delivers another memorable performance.
Depp's Hatter sometimes slips into his earlier performances (particularly Willy Wonka) but remains the heart of the movie. Anne Hatherway and Matt Lucas have comparatively little to do in their supporting roles.
Thanks to Tim Burton's continued involvement, the sequel is a sumptuous visual treat, best enjoyed in 3D. The opening naval battle is particularly impressive, along with Time's clockwork residence.
Lewis Carroll only wrote two books about Alice's adventures, but if there's any unused source material remaining, I'd happily return down the rabbit hole again.
Better than the original, Alice Through The Looking Glass is an ambitious, entertaining and joyfully eccentric fantasy adventure. Wonderful!
By Sarah O'Connell on 11th May 2016