The guiding principle of Lewis Carroll's Alice classics is that logic does not exist. You tumble down rabbit holes and into mirrors and you try to survive, feeling what you feel, having fun when you can -- oh, and try not to drown the animals in your Pool of Tears. So adapting Carroll for blockbuster -- read: formulaic -- movies is difficult. Alice Through the Looking Glass, the follow-up to Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland, is unfortunately more dramatic -- more logical -- than it is whimsical.
Mia Wasikowska returns as Alice. In the first five minutes, we're treated to a thrilling chase sequence, and the film briefly seizes the old, Imagineering Disney mojo. But the story squanders that with a rehash of Burton's film -- and by presenting Alice as selfish and annoyingly obstinate.
In the looking-glass world Underland, Mad Hatter (Depp) is all boo-hoo sad Hatter after finding a paper hat he made as a child. He's convinced himself that his family is still alive and not a long-gone breakfast snack for the now-dead firebreather Jabberwocky. Alice decides she'll go back in time to save his family. She steals something called a Chronosphere from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) -- who is both the embodiment of time and, like, a guy. Time issues serious warnings of the dangers of this, but Alice risks destroying an entire world because her friend is sad. And her idiot buddies -- Tweedledee/dum (Matt Lucas), Bayard (Timothy Spall), Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), etc. -- encourage her to do it.
They disappear pretty quickly, their screentime filled in with convoluted plot. Worst of all, this is Alan Rickman's last film, and his caterpillar/butterfly only has a few measly lines. That's worth a Pool of Tears.