This sequel to Alice in Wonderland has been met with unflattering reviews, the common ones being it’s lack of narrative and emotional depth. Essentially, more form i.e. the CGI effects than substance. My kids and I loved it regardless.
Some of the themes I picked up from the story:
- The challenges of being a woman in a man’s world circa 1850s. A wealthy man uses his power to undermine a capable woman. This based on personal vindication i.e. after having been rejected by the woman. Mia’s character is quick to recognize this as she accuses her former suitor, “this isn’t about China…”;
- Childhood traumas e.g. parental rejection and sibling betrayal play a critical role in shaping the characters’ future selves. As adults, the desire and yearning for a resolution unconsciously color decisions and actions. In the case of the Red Queen the resolution she had been waiting for was simply an apology from her younger sister the White Queen. When the White Queen finally did and the Red Queen accepted it, the moment is a revelation of the truth: to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you;
- Pride and it’s terrible and far-reaching consequences. The characters – Red Queen, Mad Hatter – have a falling out with their families and since then have thought the worse of them. They discovered much later this is misplaced. But not without first becoming a bit of monsters to others;
- Loyalty and sacrifice in friendship. How a true friend will go all the way for a friend in need.
Toward the close of the movie, Mia’s character, parting with Mad Hatter who she says she might never see again, reaffirms that “every day is a gift, every hour, every minute, every second.” Indeed.