Alice (Mia Wasikowska) has been off sailing the high seas as a swashbuckling ship’s captain for a few years, but hits a few bumps when she gets back home to London.
After caterpillar turned butterfly Absolem (the late Alan Rickman) appears to lead her through the magical mirror she finds herself back in Underland and reunited with her friends White Queen Miriana (Anne Hathaway), the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Matt Lucas) from Alice In Wonderland.
After Miriana tells her that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is depressed over the death of his family, Alice is tasked with travelling back in to time to save his loved ones their fate. But first the adventurous ship’s captain must steal the Chronosphere from the human embodiment of Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) to travel back to the past.
During her time travels she encounters a younger (less crazy) Hatter and sees the origins of evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).
This time around the world previously created by director Tim Burton is ably handled by Muppets Most Wanted director James Bobin who creates a stunning production that easily equals Burton’s Oscar-winning production design, adding an inventive Grand Clock set and beautiful recreation of the Mad Hatter’s tea party that truly pays homage to Lewis Carroll’s enduring creation.
Bobin, who has previously worked with Baron Cohen on Da Ali G Show, injected a much-needed stream of comedy into the sequel. While Baron Cohen added a dodgy accent for comic laughs, his physical jokes were much more comical.
Despite being in the midst of such an experienced ensemble cast including serial scene stealer Helena Bonham Carter, Mia Wasikowska carries the responsibility for the movie easily, appearing in almost every scene. The swashbuckling girl power theme is refreshing and adds a modern slant to Lewis Carroll’s original tale, to which the film bears very little resemblance.
Johnny Depp, still buried beneath layers of make-up, gives a more muted performance this time round, and his origin story – and the introduction of a red-haired Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans) as his father – added some depth to the character who previously seemed one dimensional.
Alice is a visually stunning family movie, which like Lewis Carroll’s books, will be a delight to children for years to come.
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