Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Films: Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Reviewer: Wally
Director: John Henderson
Released: 7th November 2011
Popcorns: 3/5

Alice Through the Looking Glass is a made for TV movie, which was premiered on Boxing Day in 1998.  It is most definitely a sit in front of the television and stuff your face with turkey sandwiches kind of film.  With an exceptional, all star cast, consisting of Kate Beckinsale, Ian Holm, Steve Coogan, Penelope Wilson and Geoffrey Palmer, to name but a few, I was most definitely looking forward to watching this DVD.

The movie begins with Alice (Beckinsale) reading a story to her little girl called “Through the Looking Glass”.  Much to the annoyance of the child, her mother keeps dozing off and messing up the storytelling.  She says there is a room behind the mirror in the bedroom and Alice imagines herself in the other room.  In a flash, she is on the other side of the mirror and into the ‘looking glass’ world.  It’s a very quick start to the story, but executed well enough not to bore any children with a big introduction.

When Alice gets into the other world, it gets extremely bizarre, but intentionally so and seems to follow Lewis Carol’s book quite closely.  It’s difficult to explain the story, but basically, she signs on to be one of the White Queen’s pawns on a huge chess set and when she gets to the eighth square, she will become a queen.  Alice doesn’t seem at all phased by this and heads off to work her way through the different squares; each of which has its on little microcosm.

There are some great supporting performances from the likes of Steve Coogan, who plays a Gnat, with some very imaginative ‘insects’ around him.  The Snap Dragon Fly has the body of a Cornish pasty, wings made of holly leaves and a head of a raisin, burning in brandy.
Gary Olsen and Marc Warren as Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum were brilliant and really captured the craziness of these two characters.  Ian Holm as the White Knight also adds a great depth to the story.  I absolutely loved the deadpan acting, with such silly themes and tones.
John Henderson took the reigns at directing and he is very adept at this kind of thing, as he has worked on many TV series and TV movies in the past. The screenplay was written by Nick Vivian, who has also had his hand in many other TV writing ventures and with a source material as sound as Lewis Carol’s, then it’d be a tough job to mess it up.  There are around six different adaptations of this story, but I really think this one stands out quite well.  The scenery is great and they have done a good job with such a small budget with the elaborate costumes and hair style changes.

More TV movies are becoming readily available on DVD and this is great news for people who have been waiting around for years to see them again.  It’s not a bad transfer to DVD, but there are no extras, which you would expect for a TV movie.

Alice through the Looking Glass is a leave your brain at the door family film and it’s so mad that I found myself really enjoying it and wondering what crazy world Alice will stumble into in the next square of the chess board.  It’s a little predictable in parts, but what TV movie isn’t? 
It is released on DVD by Second Sight Films on 7th November 2011 and would make a great family Christmas present.

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