In 2010, Tim Burton waved his peculiar wand over Alice In Wonderland. But in this sequel, six years later, not only has James Bobin replaced Burton, but the magic has gone as well. Lewis Carroll’s characters and fantastical world are brought to life with painful loyalty by screenwriter Linda Woolverton, and an overuse of colour and CGI by Bobin.

The film, in which Mia Wasikowska reprises her titular role, opens in the Strait of Malacca, circa 1874, with Alice skilfully commandeering and navigating a ship through stormy waters. She returns home to London the following year to find much has changed. Her individualism and headstrong nature are scorned and she’s faced with the prospect of becoming a salaried clerk, as her mother seems ready to sell their ship.

In the midst of this family financial crisis, she steps through a mirror into Wonderland, where her oddball friends, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Matt Lucas), White Rabbit (Michael Sheen) and the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), tell her that her friend the Hatter (Johnny Depp) has lost his humour and only she can save him. Alice sets off on a bizarre escapade, going back in time to find out what happened to the Hatter’s family at the hands of the evil Red Queen with the enormous head (Helena Bonham Carter).

Alice also meets Time (Sacha Baron Cohen), an encounter that opens the door for several time-related puns and jokes. The film misses Burton’s odd charm, is largely devoid of humour and, in spite of Hathaway, Depp and Bonham Carter, is mostly a waste of time.

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