Alice goes back to Underland to save the Hatter from his past.
2010’s Alice in Wonderland may have been a massive box office success but I thought it an utterly dullsome thing, full of awkward plotting, unlikeable characters and far too much Tim Burton-ness.
Six years on (where did that time go, eh?) and we’ve got a sequel with much of the same cast, a similar looking Underland and a new tale to tell.
The equation here is pretty simple. If you liked the first Alice film then this one will probably work just fine for you. The same eccentric visuals are available for your eyeballs and the same characters do many similar things.
On the other hand if the first film did nothing for you then this might still feel like a bit of an improvement. For my part, the story made a good deal more sense (in this case with a bit of an emotional hook) and the random nuttiness of the thing felt dialled back a tad.
That’s more than likely down to the presence of new director James Bobin. The English fella is best known for helming 2011’s revival of The Muppets but he’s been the steady hand on the tiller of televisual madness like Da Ali G Show and Flight of the Conchords in the past.
Bobin fails to bring much personality to the piece, which must be a real struggle in a $200 million sequel, but keeps things more or less in order, thanks partly to chum Sacha Baron Cohen in the part of Time himself.
It’s a good role, and the most interesting new addition to a film which is fairly light on action and, thanks to a time-travelling storyline, actually achieves very little in its 113 minute running time.
Depp is back, doing his Depp thing with a lisp and orange hair this time. Maybe some people still find this charming. Mia Wasikowska dives deep into an English accent and doesn’t do a whole lot else, Andrew Scott pops up presumably to make things feel hip and Helena Bonham Carter steals the show by screaming a lot.
It would be nice if a film of this scale took a moment to actually delve into its source material, or to interrogate the very real themes of mental illness it generally pushes past in pursuit of another 3D visual. Instead it’s an attractive but vapid wander through a postcard version of Wonderland, far from the multifaceted verve of Lewis Carroll’s original.