'Alice Through the Looking Glass', a curious sequel

( Agencies ) Updated: 2016-05-26 09:21:32

Alice decides to be a noble friend and take on Time to get to the bottom of what really happened on the day when the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) unleashed her Jabberwocky on their village. Time, you should know, is part clock, part man (Sacha Baron Cohen) and sounds a lot like Werner Herzog. His sequences, and his little steampunk companions are actually a high point. It's the one time Bobin can really get out from under Burton's suffocating precedent.

Time talks a big game and can also decide when someone's time is up, but his own command is dependent on a larger than life clock that's powered by another device which also functions as a time travel machine. That's what Alice steals to careen back through time to try to correct the original sins of Underland-a quest she continues even after she learns of the possibly catastrophic consequences of her actions.

While it may sound intriguing on paper, on the screen it's less than enchanting and the plot gets less and less compelling as it goes on.

There are some inspired visuals, like a landscape of glimmering pocket watches suspended in air. Alice must walk across the enormous hands of a ticking clock to gain entry to Time's headquarters. It's a great idea and looks wonderful, but it's just airless and void of suspense in execution.

Excitement and wonder are fairly hard to conjure up when your Mad Hatter is consumed with daddy issues, your protagonist is nonchalant about everything, and the oddities of this world are suddenly getting scientific explanations and back stories that really only show how awfully ordinary everything once was.

It's a shame, too, because the Alice stories could be so wonderful on the big screen. It may be time to scrap it all and try again.

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