Life in the real world looks decidedly glum for Mia Wasikowska's Alice, so it’s no wonder that she’s keen to get back toWonderland – despite its thinly veiled sinister overtones – in this, a brandnew trailer for Alice Through the Looking Glass.
It’s perhaps a good thing that she has returned, as the inhabitants of what they call Underland are in some serious trouble. The Mad Hatter, played once again by Johnny Depp, has turned darker andis in need of some help. Time itself, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, a part-man,part-clock, character who has been manipulating time; forcing Alice to travel tovarious points in Underland’s history, meeting her friends at various points intheir lives, as she attempts to save her friends from this mess.
It’s been over six years since Tim Burton re-imagined Lewis Carroll’s classic story, Alice in Wonderland, which proved to be a massive box office hit. This time around, Burton has decided to hand over thedirecting duties to The Muppets helmer James Bobin. While aesthetically at least, Underland looks very much the same; the same gorgeous visuals, same similar vision.However, what has changed is an apparent tighter grip on tone – the dark
moments don’t overwhelm the lighter, more surreal moments and vice-versa the
surreal moments have a darkness hidden in the shadows.
Speaking of this new found cohesion Bobin told Slash Film: “I felt there was something I could bringto it. I’ve always loved Lewis Carroll, and I’ve always felt he was this kindof… my background is in comedy, as you all know, and I thought I could bringthat comedic element to it, because Lewis Carroll was a guy who was, sort of, asurrealist satirist.”
One thing that Bobin has changed is the reliance on CGI – while it’s safe to assume its prevalent throughout the film(it was established by Burton in the first movie) where possible, the MuppetsMost Wanted director has used practical sets.“One of the reasons I did the film isbecause the first two movies [I did] were so in-camera, that I really wanted todo something, as you generally do in life, that’s a challenge and it’sinteresting to you,” he said. “It is a complicated film to make, because
there’s live action and CG, so you’re basically making two sorts of movies:
you’re making a live-action feature, and then you’re making an animated feature
on top of it. You’re making the film all the time. Generally, you shoot, come
back and edit, do what you can, and this is one whereby you’re constantly
working, constantly filming, and constantly… I feel like my brain has never
stopped for three years [laughs], and it’s great. Only at the point in which
they say, ‘This shot cannot make the release date,’ you stop working. That’s
it. That’s really it. It’s an amazing thing, because it means you’re on all the
Speaking of time, Bobin was also keen to stress that the mechanics of time travel – where Alice passes through generations of her Underworld friends lives – were as simple as possible. “It’s a hard thing, really. On this one,it’s the idea you cannot change the past — because the past is the past, it iswhat it is. All you can do is probably learn from being there [in the past]. Inmost time travel movies, you change the past, and whatever you do then, it’ll
have an effect and there’s the butterfly effect, a common trope in movies. This
gave us license to do something different. Also, in terms of design in most
time travel movies, stuff around you changes, but for Underland, you can do
different stuff. In this world, time is a geographical expression: you
literally travel through time, the oceans of time. The past is a long way away.
Alice has to journey through time to get to the past — and I thought that was a
really cool idea.”
Of course that literal reading of ‘time travel’ extends to the character of Time himself: “The thing is, when I read the first draft, I liked it, but I really liked in the book, Alice in Wonderland, whenAlice first meets Mad Hatter, he says to her: ‘We are stuck at this tea party.I have been since last March, because last March time Time and I quarrelled. Ithought, Oh, so in Lewis Carroll’s mind, time is a person. That is a great ideafor any antagonist: time personified. Of course, the next thought is you don’twant him to be a straight up bad guy — and we already have the Red Queen, so we
don’t need one — so I thought it’d be interesting if he was this omnipotent
being but he’s also sort of a twit.”
Alice Through the Looking Glass opens in theatres May 27th.