Dec 12, 2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll's books, Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, are supposed to be nonsense.  Characters appear and disappear at random.  There is no plot, just a series of incidents.  There is no goal.  Things happen, and Alice wakes up.

There are three ways that you can adapt these books for movies or tv.

1. You can stay true to the original books, and have Alice faced with a random series of events that make no sense.
2. You can play on what would happen if Alice returned to England and insisted that she had actually been to Wonderland:  a grim story of a girl undergoing Victorian cures for insanity.
3. You can make Wonderland a real fantasy or science fiction universe, with internal consistency and logical plot developments (good luck!)

The 2016 Alice Through the Looking Glass did #3, with a little of #1 and #2.  The result varies tremendously in tone, and has about as much to do with the original book as The Lord of the Rings has to do with professional baseball.

Alice (whose last name is Kingsleigh, not Liddell), is grown-up, and who is played by 27-year old Mia Wasikowska, is a sea captain, with a domestic problem: her ex-suitor Hamish (Leo Bill) has bought her father's company (um..Alice's father was a college professor), and will throw her mother out unless she gives up her adventuring life and goes to work as a clerk in his firm.  When she refuses, her mother has her committed to an insane asylum under the evil Dr. Addison Bennett (Andrew Scott).

Got all that?  As turgid as a George Elliot novel.

Then Alice goes through the looking glass, gets involved briefly with some nonsense shenanigans involving chess pieces and Humpty Dumpty, then plummets into Wonderland (now called Underland), where she is given the task of curing the life-threatening depression of the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp).

He's depressed over his family being killed a jabberwock attack when he was a boy, so the White Queen (Mirana of Marmoreal) talks her into going back in time to try to prevent their deaths.

To do so, Alice has to steal something from the chronoscope from the God of Time (Sacha Baron Cohen).

Unfortunately, the exiled Red Queen (Iracebeth of Crims) is dating the God of Time.

She also gets involved with the feud between the White and Red Queens back when King Oleron (Richard Armitage) ruled Underland, and they were just princesses.

Got all that?

I don't.

But at least there's no hetero-romantic plotline.  The Mad Hatter does not express any romantic interest in Alice, or anyone else.  I expected Alice to fall for James Harcourt (Ed Speleers, top photo), the only Victorian who isn't shocked by her eccentricities, but she doesn't.

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