Cary, NC – Alice Through the Looking Glass is an improvement over its predecessor in every way, thanks to director James Bobin and a surprisingly effective turn by Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) as Father Time.
Superior Sequel In Every Way
I really, really did not like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Filled with terrible effects, a nonsensical plot and a truly annoying performance from Johnny Depp, it’s safe to say that that film was just not my cup of tea.
But this go-around director James Bobin is in charge, who was so successful bringing back The Muppets in 2011 with Jason Segel and the wonderful HBO series Flight of the Conchords. Through the Looking Glass still has a similar manic quality about it – we are in Wonderland after all – but Bobin has a great hold on the madness, creating an enjoyable and imaginative ride.
Wasikowska A Courageous Alice
Mia Wasikowska returns as our titular hero and is once again an ideal heroine. Her Alice is strong and proactive, and even when she messes up, she is quick to recover. Disney has been doing a great job as of late with its leading female characters, with recent greats such as Rey from Star Wars, or Black Widow from Captain America, and Alice is a strong addition.
A lot of the supporting cast from the original pop up here as well. Anne Hathaway returns as the White Queen and Helena Bonham Carter as the evil Red Queen. I’ve found that Carter is a bit of an acquired taste as a performer for most people, but I’ve always found her to be fascinating and she proves to be quite amusing here.
Johnny Depp also returns as the Mad Hatter. His part is actually quite crucial this time around, but thankfully director Bobin has found a way to make the character much more likable. A truly epic feat.
Baron Steals The Show
But the standout for me was Sacha Baron Cohen. The actor, best known for outlandish and crude characters like Borat and Bruno, finds a surprising amount of heart in the character of Time. Cohen doesn’t play it as broad as one would suspect from him, and the choice really adds a great deal to the film. I’d be really curious to see Cohen bring the same kind of focus to a dramatic role one day, as I feel like he could genuinely knock it out of the park.
Overall, Alice Through the Looking Glass is a vast improvement over its predecessor, with better effects, better performances and a better overall story. It’s rare that you can say the sequel is better, but this time it’s actually true.