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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016)

A sequel to Alice in Wonderland (2010), this latest Disney movie takes Alice Kingsleigh back to the Wonderland to her fantastical friends - the White Queen, the Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Twins.

The Plot

The opening scene is a feast to the eyes and has some amazing cinematography - Alice is seen manoeuvring  her father's ship on a dark night in the middle of a dangerous thunderstorm with a line of pirate ships chasing them with cannon balls. She and her crew succeed in getting the pirate ships capsized and come back to the safe shores of England, only to find that a newly turned lord is trying to steal their property and ship from her mother. Reason - she had previously refused her hand in marriage to this pompous and clearly obnoxious guy.

After a heated argument with this lord and her family, Alice leaves the party in a huff and finds herself teleported to Wonderland through a mirror in the study room of Hamish's palace. Back in the fantasy land, the White Queen informs her that the Mad Hatter is dying due to depression over his long lost family whom he believes to be still alive. To save the Mad Hatter, Alice must go back in time to that fateful day on which the Mad Hatter's family, the Hightopps were killed and the entire kingdom was destroyed by the Jabberwocky, a dragon-like creature controlled by the Red Queen.

The Great Clock at the Time Castle

In order to travel through time, Alice goes to the Time Castle to borrow the Chronosphere from the Time lord. There she discovers that the Red Queen is under the Time lord's care and wants the Chronosphere for herself so that she too can travel back in time and get revenge on her sister, Mirana, the White Queen. 

Alice learns the history of Iracebeth, the Red Queen - how Mirana had lied about eating cookies getting Iracebeth blamed for it. Feeling betrayed, Iracebeth had run out into the streets and ended up banging her head into a clock. This permanently enlarged her red head and gave her a lifetime of mockery and ridicule by the people, even depriving her of the queen's position.

Iracebeth, the Red Queen

Alice steals the Chronosphere and time travels to the day the Red Queen had banged her head, with the Time lord in furious pursuit. In the past, Alice meets the young Hatter and warns him of the future but Mad Hatter doesn't believes her.

To prevent the Red Queen's accident, Alice pushes the people carrying the clock out of the way, but the little girl falls anyway and hits her head on something else. Realising that the past cannot be changed, Alice time travels to the dragon attack day this time, only to discover that the Mad Hatter's family never died, they were locked away by the Red Queen.

Alice meets the Mad Hatter in the past

Along with the Mad Hatter and her other friends, Alice infiltrates the Red Queen's castle and finds the Hightopp family trapped in tiny forms inside an ant farm. However, the Red Queen and her men barges in right on time and captures everyone. She seizes the Chronosphere, kidnaps the White Queen and goes back to the day Mirana had lied about the cookies. However, since past can never be changed, little Mirana repeats her lie about the cookies. Angry at history repeating itself, the Red Queen rushes to confront it, making the past version of herself witness her future version - violating the very rule of time travel. This causes a major time warp and the Red Queen freezes in time rot. How Alice manages to save time from eternal freeze by getting the Chronosphere back to its rightful place forms the climax.

The Good

  • Alice Through the Looking Glass has a more interesting story line than its prequel Alice in Wonderland.
  • The special effects are very good and the scenes are colourful and grand throughout. The ship chase in the opening scene is awesome and gives a Pirate of the Caribbeans feel to it. The time travel sequences through the ocean of time are elements of cosmic beauty. The Time Castle itself and the Grand Clock are very beautiful.
  • Since the whole movie is action packed, you won't get as bored as the prequel.
  • Overall, it is fun and entertaining for fantasy lovers and kids.
  • The actors do a decent job, especially Iracebeth, Alice and the Time lord. Other characters do not really have much scope to perform.
The Time Lord

The Not So Great

  • The movie failed to give enough significance to the looking glass. I have not read the book but it is possible that the mirror must have more of a role to play than to merely appear twice and help Alice teleport into Wonderland.
  • There are some gaping plot-holes in Alice Through the Looking Glass, plot-holes that are ridiculous even for a fantasy movie:
    • Why does Alice travel all alone in the the Chronosphere?
    • Why doesn't the Mad Hatter join her, especially when the entire quest is to look for his family?
  • The White Queen is reduced to a feeble and insignificant role. All she does is have tea and snacks with her animal friends, and adds no substance to the story except to ruin Red Queen's life through a trivial childhood lie. Frankly, Iracebeth's character is more real than Mirana's character in this movie.
Alice and the White Queen
  • The romantic relationship between the Red Queen and the Time lord is given a comic angle and could have been treated in a more dignified manner.
  • The jokes made by various characters seem too cliche and seems like forced humour. There is nothing wrong in having a serious fantasy movie, without the necessity to impose comedy at regular intervals.
  • Overall, I would rate this movie 6.5 or 7 out of 10.

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