Alice, now a successful sea captain, returns home and quickly finds herself in a difficult position thanks to the man whose proposal she once turned down. Seeking an answer to her problems leads her back to Wonderland where the Mad Hatter has become convinced that his family, who he believed were dead, are actually still alive which has led him to lose his marbles even further. Alice discovers that in order to save her friend, she must travel through time to discover what actually happened to his family.

Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016) – Director: James Bobin

Is Alice Through The Looking Glass appropriate for kids

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Rating: PG

Running Length: 113 mins

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter

Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy

REVIEW

The sequel to 2010’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and, of course, based upon the novel by Lewis Carroll, ‘Through the Looking Glass’ sees Alice once again find herself in Wonderland. Unfortunately, now the film suffers from ‘protagonist eyes’, in that because Alice is used to the fantastical world (and because the audience sees it through her eyes), the ‘Wonder’ no longer seems as impressive; her lack of amazement is at odds with the colourful, amazing things that the audience is seeing. While it is understandable that she wouldn’t be as wide-eyed in wonderment at everything like before, some surprise and awe at some of the new things that she is seeing would help the audience to engage with Wonderland more.

While the characters are all fun and unusual, the plot itself is too disjointed to warm to. Some of the plot threads could do with a little extra explanation or more time for the audience to get used to a particular aspect but it moves on too quickly to get a grip of what’s going on. The Mad Hatter’s obsession with discovering the truth of is family’s fate adds a good level of depth to an otherwise superficially silly character. However, when he pleads for Alice’s help in finding them, her five-minutes-previous insistence that ‘the impossible is possible’ is thrown out the window when, with no evidence whatsoever, she tells her desperate friend that its impossible for his family to still be alive.

While ‘Through the Looking Glass’ isn’t a bad film, it never help the audience to feel part of the world that is being laid out in front of them which in turn makes he whole thing fall a little flat. Spectacle alone does not a good film make, and Through The Looking Glass fails to provide engaging enough characters to draw us into its gaudy world. The brightly coloured and eccentric characters are bound to be a hit with kids but adult viewers are unlikely to fall in love with Alice and her adventures this time around.

IS ‘ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

When Alice first arrives in Wonderland, she is warned that the Mad Hatter isn’t well and is even more ‘mad’ than before. When she visits him, he initially seems his normal self but, when she is unable to help him, his eyes change to be darker and more deranged and his voice becomes sinister. This only lasts a few seconds and should not be overly distressing but kids who are sensitive to this sort of sudden change, could be scared by Hatter’s transformation, especially as mental illness is a factor.

Alice walks into a dark room, a large pendulum swings slowly close-by and she is left alone when the door to the room closes behind her. This could be a little spooky for younger kids but she is only in this room for a few seconds.

While on her journey, Alice walks around an area which is dark and a little spooky. Little creatures watch her every step and, when she turns to look at them, they quickly hide but she is aware that they are following her. One of these creatures suddenly appears in front of her and screeches loudly before running away. A large man then appears and walks towards her. He is bathed in shadow and seems to be an ominous presence but after around ten seconds, he becomes a more comedic character who is much less frightening.

The character of Time appears human but parts of him are clockwork. During the movie, his energy begins to fade, causing his bright blue eyes to flicker on and off. During a particularly intense scene, he becomes extremely angry and his flickering eyes appear to be flashing with his anger.

A large, dragon-like creature flies above a village and uses its fire-breath to set the village alight. People run around screaming and crying in terror; no explicit deaths are shown but it is likely that numerous people are killed during this assault. A family is focused on, they cover their faces and cower in fear as the dragon prepares to kill them but the camera cuts away before their deaths are shown.

Several characters are turned to a red stone substance, some of these characters have their faces and heads turned to stone before the rest of the bodies which is shown in close-up and is quite graphic.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ doesn’t seem to know which part of its audience it wants to appeal to the most. It is too overly childish for adults but too grown up in many parts for kids to fully appreciate. The main draw for kids is the Mad Hatter but his almost complete absence until the final third is likely to put a lot of kids off, especially as Alice isn’t the most charismatic of characters. Due to some scary moments, we feel this movie is appropriate for kids aged 7 and over.

  • Violence:  2/5 (a character is given a present of a clockwork execution, a small man kneels down while another has an axe which ‘chops’ of the kneeling man’s head, a funeral march plays to accompany the morbid scene but this isn’t gory)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (a young boy makes something he thinks will make a parent proud, however the parent is dismissive, breaks the item and throws it away. The boy is heartbroken and runs out of the room in tears. The Hatter’s emotional rollercoaster of hope and despair could be upsetting)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (a character finds themself in a mental institution, whenever the door to their room is opened, distressed screams can be heard outside)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5       
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (some mild cursing)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (the Queen of Hearts speaks about sewing mouths shut, chopping off heads, cutting tongues out, etc)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of revenge, helping a friend in need, taking a big risk to complete your goal, standing up for yourself, putting others before yourself, not following convention or tradition and taking responsibility for your actions.

Words by Laura Record

Alice Through The Looking Glass [Blu-ray 3D]


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