Film Review: "Mirror Mirror" is merely a reflection of something compelling
Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 3:05pm
Released: 30 March 2012
Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Run Time: 106 min
"Mirror Mirror" is under no circumstances a film to watch for its originality or value as a story, but it is a decent family film. When I settled into my seat in the movie theater, the only other people in there were parents and their children under the age of ten, and that is, I think, largely representative of the target demographic of this film.
This film is a spin on the classic "Snow White" fairytale, and purports to be a "fresh and funny retelling." Played by Lily Collins, Snow White is an innocent young princess, and this is her coming-of-age story. Her father died when she was young, and her self-esteem and personality are kept in check by her manipulative and vain step-mother, who rules the kingdom in her dead husband's stead. Her propensity for lavish and elaborate parties is driving the kingdom into bankruptcy, and the destitute villagers are slowly starving as more and more taxes are required of them. When Snow White ventures outside the castle and sees what is going on, she takes a stand and enrages the queen.
Much of the time, the dialogue falls flat and witty one-liners often fail to be funny. At one point, the evil queen snaps that "it's not a wrinkle...it's a crinkle!": an example of the sub-par script that plagues the movie throughout.
The interactions between the band of dwarfs were often cringe-worthy, and the characters of the dwarfs themselves were more annoying than endearing. The seven of them are named Napoleon, Half-Pint, Grub, Grimm, Wolf, Butcher, and Chuckles, and they are forest bandits that rob travelers of their riches. Perhaps if the storyline had spent more time on their personalities as opposed to bringing them in only as Snow White's cheerleaders or as intended comic relief, they would have come across as more than seven juvenile little kids.
None of the characters were particularly well-crafted, but younger children likely won't notice or care. Julia Roberts as the evil queen is delightfully self-centered, but some of her scenes are eye-roll inducing. Prince Alcott is not as central to the story as he is in Disney's version of the Snow White fairytale, but he ends up being boring in this movie. Armie Hammer does what he can with what he's given, and it's hard to fault him for not quite being able to pull off the scenes where he has to--literally--act like a puppy dog.
One thing I did like in this movie was that Snow White (irritatingly perfect though her character was) didn't lie around in a glass coffin waiting for her prince to kiss her back to life. This Snow White wants to do her own fighting, and is more than capable of holding her own in a sword fight, even when her opponents chivalrously refuse to hit a girl. Although Snow White's independent streak could have been expanded on, it's great that in "Mirror Mirror," the princess saves herself.
The best part of this movie was the costumes. The dresses were elaborate and the colors were rich--it's hard to keep eyes off the screen when the characters are walking around in enchantingly bright shades of yellows, oranges, blues, and reds.
When it comes down to it, this film is a good choice for a family outing with younger siblings, but is likely not the best choice older moviegoers looking for an engaging and funny film.