I loved the first one. It was simple, straightforward, and heroic. It communicated its themes without a heavy hand.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the sequel. Although it was penned by the same screenwriter, it was handled by a different director. The entire tone was different. Now, I haven’t read the book, but I heard that they took plenty of liberties.
This film is more clearly geared toward children. The plot appears poorly thought out. What I appreciated about the first film was the believability of Alice’s problems in the real world, and how she ends up facing them head on. But at the very beginning of this second film we see Alice as the captain of a merchant ship, miraculously escaping pirates through her heroic and less than believable seamanship. It was at that point that I realized what the rest of the movie would be about. The fact that a female apprentice became captain in three years wasn’t believable to me. I would rather have seen her work her way up through the ranks diligently. And of course the ship shenanigans told me they were trying to make this a “Pirates of the Caribbean” for children.
Now don’t get me wrong. There were some very enjoyable parts to the film. Sacha Baron Cohen was fantastic as Time. He carried a great deal of the movie on his own.
But I didn’t like the way they handled the Red Queen in this one either. First of all I thought it was a little dull that they brought her back. But then they tried to spin the whole story that all of her atrociously wicked acts (remember all those heads in the moat?) were due to the fact that her little sister lied once. They made it seem like it was all the White Queen’s fault, and I didn’t appreciate that. Yes, the White Queen made a mistake when she was like seven, but the Red Queen was responsible for her choices.
Finally, there were the odd scenes back in “reality.” The whole interlude where Alice is placed in a mental ward seemed confusing and unnecessary. First of all they talked about how she was under a table muttering strange things. When did that happen? I thought when she in Wonderland she was physically gone from the real world?
As I said, it may be enjoyable for kids, but I found it less than satisfying.