Review: Alice Through the Looking Glass

Reading Lewis Carroll’s story to her young daughter, a mother finds herself pulled through a mirror into Alice’s world…

Coming back to this 1998 Channel 4 TV production soon after watching the surreal start of Steven Moffat’s conclusion to this year’s series of Doctor Who is actually quite appropriate: Moffat mixed up styles together (Roman centurions and airships, for example), in something of the way that John Henderson approaches the visual style for this film. We’ve got everything from stop motion to CGI, grainy film stock and black and white characters, puppets that become people (not very convincingly, it has to be said) – and everyone is taking it so seriously.

There’s a wealth of British talent involved here – Kate Beckinsale is the lead, although there’s no  particularly good reason why a new young actress couldn’t have been found: the part did well enough for Deborah Watling and Sarah Sutton in the past! Steve Coogan, Ian Holm, Geoffrey Palmer, Penelope Wilton, Sian Phillips, Gary Olsen and Marc Warren all make their mark on the film.

Carroll’s work can be enjoyed by both young and adult audiences, but this version is perhaps a little too surreal for the youngest generation – and Caroll purists may object to some of the sequences that don’t make it from the book.

Verdict: An interesting take on the material.  6/10

Paul Simpson

Second Sight, out now


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