Thursday, 26 May 2016

Alice Through The Looking Glass - Movie Review

Many of us have an enduring affinity with Alice in Wonderland in at least one of its many incarnations. I have fond memories of an obsession with my cassette tape copy of the original Disney film’s soundtrack. A Unbirthday Song was my cue to pick up the (toy) mic and subject my house to the gift of karaoke.

Later in life I was given the opportunity to study the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass through the excellent Annotated Alice, which explains literally everything you might ever want or need to know about the satire-dense texts.

Most film-goers now will be well aware of Disney’s 2010 Tim Burton-helmed reimagining of Alice in Wonderland. The lush backgrounds, elaborate wardrobes, extensive special effects, and expanded storyline have inspired a renewed interest in the classic cult film adaptation, and it was inevitable that a sequel would follow up on Mia Wasikowska’s plucky 1800s Alice.

Central to the film's heart are the themes of family bonds, forgiveness, regret, and as always with Alice themed works, the importance of personal fortitude. Alice (Mia Wasikowska) and the Hatter (Johnny Depp feat. oodles of make-up and special effects) find their pasts having a direct effect on their presents in both Underland and 1800s London. As always, the adventure is sparked by the both of them having discovering that something formerly concrete to their lives is not quite as it seems…

Expect another gorgeous wardrobe of gloriously vivid and textured outfits for every character, especially those of Alice and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway). Particularly of note are the numerous fantastic stylised naval uniforms, many of which I left the theatre coveting.

As Through the Looking Glass follows directly on from the first film you may want to take advantage of a rewatch of the first (the DVD is conveniently available from Auckland Libraries), as Through the Looking Glass is a complex story, traversing time and space…I won’t say much more so as not to spoil any plot points!

Very young children may find the fast paced and intricate plot difficult to follow, but the visual spectacle was more than enough entrance most watchers at my session. Much like Maleficent, Disney’s newest reimagining of a classic, is no rigid re-enactment of the original tale, and you can expect to enjoy an engrossing original story with much homage to elements of the books.

Our thanks to Disney for providing tickets to an advanced screening for our reviewer.

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