Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Release Date: Mar 30, 2012 (Wide)
Rating: (6.75 out of 10)
Review by: George Beremov
Once upon a time… ah, whatever! It was about time someone to put an ironic, comedic spin on one of the most popular stories of all time, without ruining the magic of it, and though that seems like a tricky thing to achieve, director Tarsem Singh does it with flair in “Mirror Mirror”.
In this version of “Snow White”, a ruthless queen takes control of a kingdom, after the king’s death, and an exiled princess join forces with seven brave rebel dwarfs, as she strives to reclaim her birthright and win the ‘stolen’ love of her prince back.
Even though Singh stays true to Grimm’s timeless fairy tale, he peppers the overly familiar story with enough wit, originality and visual creativity to make it his own, plus, he adds a few little twists here and there, in order to make sure his version stands out from all the rest. And it does.
Unlike the upcoming “Snow White and the Huntsman” which, judging by the trailers, has ‘grimness’ written all over it, the delightfully lighthearted “Mirror Mirror” never takes itself too seriously, and shows a whole new fun side of the classic story. Singh knows his movie is rather superficial, but he manages to make up for the lack of depth with an amusingly ironic script, full of cheeky slapstick humor, engaging characters, and last but not least, splendid visuals.
With his previous efforts “The Cell”, “The Fall” and his most recent swords-and-sandals epic, “Immortals”, Singh has proven himself as a true visionary director, and “Mirror Mirror” is yet another visual stunner from him. From the lavish, exuberant sets and gorgeous costumes to the eye-catching color palette and stylish cinematography, everything about this movie is executed to perfection, and pure eye-candy. The animated opening sequence deserves a special mention, as it’s truly unique in style, absolutely breathtaking to watch, and one of the film’s highlights.
Acting-wise, “Mirror Mirror” doesn’t disappoint either. Unsurprisingly, Julia Roberts steals the show as the wicked and manipulative, yet rather insecure ‘evil’ queen. It seems like she had lots of fun playing this hilarious villain, and that shows through her fantastic, lively performance. Lily Collins doesn’t impress with great acting skills or strong screen presence like Roberts does, but her looks are just perfect for the role of Snow White. She’s appealing and talented enough to make her characters likable and sympathetic, without being too corny. Armie Hammer appears a bit stiff at times, but overall, he gives a passable performance as the dashing prince, Alcott.Nathan Lanealso does a great job as the Queen’s “executive bootlicker”, but it’s the quirky seven dwarfs, presented as a group of rebellious, yet kind-hearted bandits, that contribute most to the story. All of them have colorful, bubbly personalities, and for that reason they become the center of attention every time they show up on the screen, and also deliver most of the laughs.
Bottom line: It lacks substance and it’s too forgettable to become a classic, but Tarsem Singh’s “Mirror Mirror” is still a witty, enjoyable and thoroughly refreshing rendition of “Snow White”, that fascinates with its vivid, sumptuous visuals and enchanting atmosphere.