Mirror Mirror Reviews
After the death of his wife during childbirth, The King (Sean Bean) takes to the job of raising his daughter Snow White (Lily Collins) in their glorious and genuinely cheerful kingdom. As his daughter grows, the king realizes there are some things only a mother can teach and finds a new bride in Queen Clementianna (Julia Roberts).
One night the king mysteriously disappears from the woods, apparently falling victim to a vicious beast who lives within and the Queen steals control of the kingdom. Running it into the ground financially and destroying its citizen's zest for life, the beauty-obsessed wicked queen proceeds to incarcerate her step-daughter and limit the chance of her opposition.
Snow White is loved and cared for by the original castle staff, which on her 18th birthday encourages her to leave the castle and visit the village capital to see for herself the bankrupt state of the crumbing kingdom.
Whilst returning through the woods, she has a brief but intriguing encounter with Prince of Valencia (Armie Hammer). By chance, the prince later arrives at the castle in a semi-dressed state, capturing the attention of the queen for both his looks and his wallet.
Throwing a ball in an attempt to woe the prince, the queen is angered as Snow White makes an unwelcome appearance and manages to steal the prince' affections first. Ordering her manservant, Brighton (Nathan Lane) to dispose of Snow White and eliminate her threat by taking her out into the woods and leaving her for the beast.
Soft at heart and petrified of the woods, Brighton runs back to the castle without doing the deed, leaving Snow White to fend for herself. The beautiful and generous girl is not alone long however, as a band of seven thieving dwarfs apprehensively offer her food, shelter and fighting training.
Quickly learning valuable life lessons from each other, Snow White and the Dwarfs agree that the kingdom cannot continue as is, and something must be done, but what exactly? And who will help them?
Funny and charming, with spectacular production design and stunning costumes, Mirror Mirror seems to have lost the idea of exactly who its target audience is. From the high gloss picture-castle, the dark mysterious woods and the unique secluded paradise location set beyond the shimmer of the magic mirror, this recreation of one of the most classic fairy tales seems a little too contrived and puppeteered.
Director Tarsem Singh has augmented the story trying to allow it to straddle the mystical world whilst meeting modern sensibilities and political correct restrictions. In some instances this is fun and interesting, like the Queen's wrinkle-free reflection in her mirror and the renegade Dwarfs appear as giants towering above people on black accordion like stilts however in others it is left lacking as to many original elements are missing and the bizarre final bollywood style musical number is completely out of place.
Roberts is wonderful in this role, embodying the domineering and shallow style character whilst bringing her own warmth. Collins is a little flat, merely a cardboard version of the character, whilst Hammer does goofy as well as could be expected. The standout characterizations here are the seven dwarfs, each with its own new name; all the actors manage to add a few layers of depth during their limited screen time.
The Verdict: The scripts cynical, tongue-in-cheek tone nicely counters the unsubtle sledge-hammer positive reinforcement themes of goodness and true love.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 06/04/2012