‘Mirror Mirror’ Review
Not the fairest of them all
I was more interested in seeing Mirror Mirror than I was in seeing Snow White and the Huntsman, mainly because of Tarsem Singh. Singh seems like the obvious choice, after Guillermo Del Toro, to direct a fairy tale film. His visual style lends itself perfectly to such stories, as exemplified by his film ‘The Fall’. Sure, the tale has been adapted countless times, with the 1937 Disney adaptation still being way at the top of the heap, but it is a very compelling, and it would be interesting to see how different directors handle it.
The plot follow the same basic premise the original fairy tale and the Disney 1937 adaptation. Snow White lives with her evil Queen stepmother who is jealous of her beauty. The evil Queen sends an assassin to kill Snow White, but Snow White manages to escape deep in the forest, where she lives with the forest dwelling Seven Dwarves. There is also a prince somewhere.
Mirror isn’t any different than Singh’s previous films, with lush colours, otherworldly architecture, and wonderful set design. But, despite the great art direction, it is Julia Roberts who steals the show. This is probably the first time she’s played an outright villain, and surprisingly she shines in the role. She gives a funny and surprisingly, a relatively subtle performance, as the villainous queen, and is responsible for most of the film’s funny scenes. Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane also stands out, displaying some admirable comedic skills (a very common feat or Lane), with their scenes with the queen being the funniest in the film.
But Singh’s flaws are unfortunately trump his skills, and while his films usually look good, there’s always this problem with his films where they seem to take place in a very confined space. You never get the feel that the characters inhabit a world, but that they move from confined set to confined set. The problem was present with ‘Immortals’, and its present in this film.
As we also found out from ‘Immortals’, he really can’t tell a good story, or create decent characters. Filler plot are no stranger to Hollywood comedies, but one would expect something more from an adaptation of Snow White, but it is difficult to care about anything that happens on screen. With weak plot comes bad characterization. Snow White, the main protagonist, is so bland and two dimensional she makes Twilight’s Bella look like Travis Bickle. Lilly Collins is cute in the role, but she really doesn’t have much to work with. Furthermore, The seven dwarves, instead of being endearing as the protectors of Snow White, they come off as shallow dispensers of the film’s tired humor.
Unnecessary is the word that comes to mind when thinking about this film. There was really no need to attach the Snow White name to what amounts to a generic fantasy comedy. The film does have its laughs scattered here and there, but overall, it really doesn’t offer anything remotely interesting or new. Here’s hoping that ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ will be better.
Trivia: One of the dwarves in the film is named ‘Grimm’, a reference to the famous Brothers Grimm, who popularized many of today’s most famous fairy tales, including Snow White.