This impressive sequel has a great story, but is Wonderland in title only.
Upon Alice’s return to London, she comes across a magical looking glass and returns to the fantastical realm of Underland. However, the Hatter has lost his Muchness, so Mirana sends Alice on a quest to borrow the Chronosphere, which powers all time. Returning to the past, she comes across friends - and enemies - at different points in their lives, and embarks on a perilous race to save the Hatter before time runs out.
This film, outside its characters has no relevance to Lewis Carroll’s iconic novels - the story is completely new, quite dark and doesn’t have the magical tone present in the first film. However, if you look at this as an individual entity, outside the world of Wonderland this is a really solid, original, interesting film. The concept of time travel and its consequences are hardly new, but Mia Wasikowska’s Alice is a defiant character and her interactions with Time are interesting. Johnny Depp’s performance as the Hatter is variable, the comic scenes are more suited to him and he looks out of place in the dramatic elements. The voice cast, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall are all superb. Yet live action actress Anne Hathaway is useless and 2 dimensional. Sacha Baron Cohen’s Time is a very misunderstood character and he plays the empathetic, comedic and menacing scenes extraordinarily well.
The script is strong and the CGI and direction are remarkable, I would, however give the 3D options a miss - it adds nothing of value.
Overall, not really an Alice in Wonderland story, but a good film nonetheless.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Walt Disney Entertainment