Alas, Alice, your plot is too plod­ding

Se­quel strips away non­sense, im­poses too much or­der

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - ARTS & LIFE -

IN all of English lit­er­a­ture, the last place you would look for co­he­sive, struc­tured sto­ry­telling is in the works of Lewis Car­roll. Let’s face it, Alice in Won­der­land and its se­quel, Through the Look­ing Glass, are, es­sen­tially, nuts — fever dreams of in­ci­dent, non­sense po­etry and crazy di­a­logue.

There was a time when film­maker Tim Bur­ton em­braced such nar­ra­tive an­ar­chy. Look no fur­ther than his first fea­ture film out of the gate, Pee-wee’s Big Ad­ven­ture, an episodic cav­al­cade of off-cen­tre gags and pri­mary-colour spec­ta­cle, all loosely hinged on the story of a man-child and his cross-coun­try search for his bike.

Oh, for a bit of that spirit in this la­bo­ri­ously plot­ted se­quel to Alice in Won­der­land. Bur­ton, who pro­duced, direc­tor James Bobin and screen­writer Linda Woolver­ton jet­ti­son the non­sense and im­pose un­seemly or­der on the chaos of Car­roll’s story, in the ser­vice of in­ter-gen­er­a­tional un­der­stand­ing and fe­male em­pow­er­ment.

There’s noth­ing in­her­ently wrong with that. But surely the story of a Vic­to­rian girl clev­erly nav­i­gat­ing her way through a se­ries of bizarre ad­ven­tures was in­trin­si­cally em­pow­er­ing with­out turn­ing Alice into, say, a sea cap­tain.

But as the film be­gins, Alice (Mia Wasikow-


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