How Educational is Disney’s ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’?

Disney’s new movie, Alice Through the Looking Glass, is based on Lewis Carroll‘s sequel to Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandThrough the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There which was published in 1871. The story tells of Alice’s return to the whimsical world of Underland, and her journey to travel back in time to help the Mad Hatter.

Movie Details:

Opens: Friday, May 27, 2016

Directors:  James Bobin

Producer: Walt Disney Pictures and Tim Burton Productions

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathway, Sacha Baron Cohen

Rating: PG

Run time: 1 hour 53 minutes

Alice Through the Looking Glass is based on characters and events from the prequel, Alice in Wonderland, that premiered in 2010. James Bobin also directed multiple Muppet movies, and producer, Tim Burton, is known for The Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie, and James and the Giant Peach.   

Like other Disney and Tim Burton movies, Alice Through the Looking Glass has a PG rating and is geared toward an older teen/tween audience. Unfortunately, critics have said that the movie is “just as visually impressive as its predecessor, but that isn’t enough to cover for an underwhelming story that fails to live up to its classic characters.”

Is Alice Through the Looking Glass educational?

On the surface, Alice Through the Looking Glass seems like a dreamland fairy tale for children, however, if you look closer, you will realize that the fantasy world of Underland translates into much more. The most important metaphor in the story is one of time. Not only is Alice physically in a race against time to save the Mad Hatter and reconnect him with his family, but we also see how time can have an emotional toll on a person’s wellbeing.

Alice also knows that others are dependent on her, and she learns the importance of courage. Her conversation with the Blue Caterpillar, White Queen, and the Cheshire Cat is a prime example:

Blue Caterpillar: “You’ve been gone too long, Alice. There are matters which might benefit from your attention. Friends cannot be neglected. Hurry.”

White Queen: “Hatter’s counting on you.”

Cheshire Cat: “We all are.”

This may be a children’s story at heart, but we can learn a great deal from a young girl who continues to show the curiosity and confidence to become the person she aspires to be, and who her friends depend on her to be.

Is Alice Through the Looking Glass OK for Younger Kids?

Alice Through the Looking Glass won’t cause much concern for parents, but please be aware that there is one comical death (someone’s time is literally up), and there are certainly moments of danger and violence— including instances when key characters seem on the verge of death. Overall, the sequel is actually less scary/violent than its predecessor.

For coloring sheets, puzzles, and more, take a look at Disney’s Family Press Kit.

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Images © Disney

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