June 5, 2016 -- This Mad Hatter adventure in Wonderland is a worthy follow up to the more successful 2010 film “Alice in Wonderland.” It features more adventures, and wordplay, in Wonderland, but also adventures in the real world.
Featuring the same principle cast as the 2010 film, it begins with Alice (Mia Wasikowska) as captain of a merchant ship being pursued by pirates. She gets away from the pirates with a daring maneuverer, but gets some bad news when she arrives home from her long voyage. Her mother (played by Lindsay Duncan of “About Time”) has agreed to sell the ship she inherited from her father in order to save their house.
Just then Alice gets a message from Wonderland that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) has fallen into a terrible funk and may die soon. Alice is the only one who can cheer him up. She goes back to Wonderland through the looking glass and finds the Hatter in bed looking very ill indeed.
The Hatter's problem has to do with a problem with his family. He was never able to reconcile with his family before they died. He asks for Alice's help, but she says there is nothing she can do, but it turns out there is something she can do, travel through time to find the Hatter's family.
This journey through time requires stealing a device called a chronosphere (a time travel device) from Time himself (played by Sacha Baron Cohen of “Borat”) which will put the entire universe in jeopardy, but the Hatter is worth it to his friends. So Alice steals the chronosphere and uses it to travel into the past to find the Hatter's family, with Time in hot pursuit. Time must recover the chronosphere soon, or the universe will come to an end.
Time tells Alice at the beginning that she cannot change the past, but she might learn something from it. During her travels through time, Alice does learn some things about the Hatter, his family, and how their fates are all connected to the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) her sister, Mirana (Anne Hathaway) and something that happened to them a long ago.
It is a rollicking adventure both in the real world, and in Wonderland, as Alice learns her lessons and uncovers the truth about the Hatter, his family and the Red Queen's family too. She becomes wiser and the truth sets them all free, in both worlds. There is also the clever word play and sly humor one expects from the source material.
As for the original stories by Lewis Carroll, I have no idea how closely the movie sticks to that, but I did enjoy the movie and found it to be a satisfying conclusion to the adventures of Alice in Wonderland. This film rates a B.
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