By: Felix Felicis (Two Beers) –
She’s blond, she’s bitchin’, and after a six year hiatus she’s back in action. Alice Kingsleigh is a pantaloon wearing, Jaberwocky slaying, Underland adventurer with a taste for time travel in this follow-up sequel to 2010’s sleeper hit, Alice In Wonderland. Escapist fantasy at its finest, both films feature a beleaguered heroine at her wits’ end of what to do with a Victorian England that keeps trying to hammer her anything-but-square soul into a round, properly feminine peg. Luckily for Alice, each time her life seems to be going tits up, she gets an all expenses paid vacay to the only place I’ve ever seen where I’m 95% certain CGI and LSD meet.
Alice Through The Looking Glass picks up three years after Alice’s last trip (both literally and figuratively) through Underland. Alice is now an intrepid sea captain (like her late father) who bucks conventions and braves seas far rougher than the times, and misogyny of the era, would normally allow through the support of beloved family friend and employer, Lord Ascot. Unfortunately for Alice, Lord Ascot up and dies while she’s away at sea, leaving her high and dry (again both literally and figuratively) until Underland comes, conveniently, calling again. The Mad Hatter is madder than ever and in danger of being depressed to death unless Alice can steal Time’s himself machine and road trip through Underland’s greatest hits to find the key to saving them all.
Okay, cards on the table. I went into Through The Looking Glass with the kind of severe underwhelmyness usually only seen when embarking on a blind date who put “yodeling” as their primary interest on OkCupid. Just kidding. I would never respond to that guy. But I did enter the theater this month less-than-enthused (I’d seen Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice In Wonderland and thought it was pretty okay)… And by the time the credits rolled I remembered why I love Sacha Baron Cohen and Co. Looking Glass is getting absolutely hammered in the critical arena and while I understand Carroll purists are gonna hate this thing with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns, just as many are going to get exactly what I did out of it: a cool, CGI, cotton candy treat of a film.
I don’t know how much of the fact that I enjoyed this so much more than the first flick had to do with the change in directors (Burton gave up the helm in favor of The Muppets’ James Bobin) or the addition of Sacha Baron Cohen, but the fact is, I did. I really, really did. Through The Looking Glass was a visual treat from beginning to end with threads of family, friendship, and redemption woven throughout. The Alice of this film is older and wiser and yet, still in need of the lessons Underland has to offer (just as much as Underland needs the kind of meddling only an attractive white woman in her 20’s is capable of getting away with).
Don’t look too hard at the plot or character motivations or get bogged down in the logistics because this rebootquel/sequel/kind of prequel explains as much as it doesn’t. Much like the Mad Hatter, you’re better off just enjoying the twinkle in Time’s eye and watching the band back together again for one last(?) hurrah.
Through The Looking Glass wasn’t perfect; the plot could’ve been fresher, the characters (and their motivations) a little deeper, and Johnny Depp could’ve been given a little more screen time with Alice, but damned if I didn’t have a hell of a time regardless.
Alice Through The Looking Glass is everything you’re looking for and more in a visual Summer stunner. You’d be Mad to miss this Hatter.
Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever someone takes a trip through time. Take Two: if it’s Time taking a trip through himself.
Do a Shot: for each pass through the looking glass.
Take a Sip: anytime you hear “Alice” or “Hatter” or “Time”.
Take a Drink: when seconds turn into minutes then hours. You’ll know when.
Pour a Little Out: for Original Gangster, Absalom, aka Alan Rickman.