Alas, Alice, your plot is too plodding
Sequel strips away nonsense, imposes too much order
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-