The art direction of Tim Burton’s Alice Through The Looking Glass is superb, beating that of its predecessor Alice In Wonderland by being based on substance over style, not that it lacks style. The entire film is tied together around the concept of time travel, and this is conveyed throughout the film with the use of excellent visual metaphors. Time in the film is represented as an object, place and a person; when Alice enters a grandfather clock she is transported to a world on the clock’s face, with a giant tower representing the central mechanism full of gears and cogs, inside of that tower is a man called Time, who in turn has that very clock face in his chest.
The film uses visual metaphors to represent the passing of time as a concept while also reflecting the inner workings of a clock; Time is shown to have an army of small robots, seconds and minutes, the seconds piling on top of each other to form minutes, larger robots which pull the gears forward, turning the grand clock. When Alice steals the chronosphere, a magical item that gives the owner control of the clock, and thus the ability to turn back time, time travel is represented with a visual metaphor of two oceans, one the right way up and the other upside-down, which seem to curve around each other; Alice surfs on these oceans in the chronosphere, seeing a number of visions of the past in the waves, before finding one to enter. This seems to representing the gears in the centre of a clock capable of turning the hands to change the time. I am a huge fan of the art direction of Alice Through The Looking Glass, particularly of the central time concept, as they are visually stunning, have direct relevance to the plot, and provide a very interesting perspective of seeing a familiar object, a clock, from the inside, providing a personified, but seemingly accurate, portrayal of the inner mechanisms of a clock.
Andrew Sheller is a Media Production student at Coventry University. You can see more content from Andrew at their Facebook page through this link.