Walt Disney Pictures’ Alice Through the Looking Glass is the sequel to director Tim Burton’s live-action Alice in Wonderland, which released in theaters in 2010. Burton only produced the followup – having instead passed off helming duties to James Bobin (The Muppets (2011), Muppets Most Wanted) – but most of the main cast members from Burton’s Lewis Caroll novel adaptation/re-imagining came back for the second chapter, including Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp (who play Alice Kingsleigh and the Mad Hatter, respectively).
Alice Through the Looking Glass follows Alice as she’s called back to Wonderland/Underland and sets out on an adventure through time, in order to save the Mad Hatter from some as-yet unrevealed dark fate. Disney has unveiled the first full-length trailer for Looking Glass (following the release of several teasers for the trailer) – and as you can see by watching the preview for yourself, the sequel brings Alice face to face with many a familiar face, including friends (Anne Hathaway’s White Queen) and foes (Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen) alike.
The villain of Alice Through the Looking Glass is Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a character who is featured in the movie’s first trailer and officially described by Disney as “a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock.” Alice’s journey in the sequel also leads her to eventually cross paths with the Mad Hatter’s own wayward father, Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans) – though the latter character has been held back for a future Looking Glass trailer appearance.
Written by Linda Woolverton (who also penned both Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Maleficent), Alice Through the Looking Glass fits the same fantasy adventure mode as its predecessor – a film that puts a Chronicles of Narnia-inspired spin on Caroll’s more whimsical source material – with some Back to the Future style time-travel shenanigans thrown in for good measure. Visually, the sequel also appears to have carried over elements of its predecessor’s general aesthetic, but with fewer macabre touches than Burton brought to the table (see, for example, the lack of moats full of severed heads) – and a greater emphasis on practical sets, it seems, as Wasikowska has indicated in previous interviews would be the case here.
Burton’s Alice in Wonderland earned a mixed critical reception, but grossed over $1 billion at the global box office; meaning, Disney’s decision to move forward with the sequel was a no-brainer, from a studio investor’s perspective. However, the concern with Alice Through the Looking Glass is that the movie will be more of a shiny, yet hollow piece of branded entertainment than its predecessor for related reasons – a legitimate worry, seeing as Bobin’s Muppets Most Wanted (the sequel to his widely-acclaimed 2011 Muppets movie) was criticized for being just that, back when it released in 2014.
On the other hand, Bobin as a director posses more of a light-hearted, yet off-beat touch (see also his Flight of the Conchords work) that perhaps makes him a better fit for the kooky Wonderland/Underland setting than Burton. Bobin might bring a fresher perspective to Disney’s Alice in Wonderland franchise for that reason – though, even if he doesn’t, the strength of the Disney/Alice brand (plus Depp) should guarantee a pretty big worldwide box office turnout for Alice Through the Looking Glass all the same.
Alice Through the Looking Glass opens in U.S. theaters on May 27th, 2016.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures