Ever since Disney’s ‘Enchanted’ hit theaters in 2007, there has been a revival of fairy tales in Hollywood. We’ve had a ton of remakes, reimaginings, and retellings of pretty much any and every Grimm story in the book. So much so that this year, we’re even getting two very different versions of the classic tale of Snow White, the first of which, ‘Mirror Mirror’ from director Tarsem Singh, opens this weekend.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t go into this movie expecting much since the trailers made the movie out to be nonsense. A fairy tale can be nonsensical, and they should be, but this just didn’t look like it was for me. However, as I was sitting in the theater, I was enamored by the stunning visuals that Tarsem delivered throughout the film. The vibrant colors in everything from the scenery to the costumes to the skin tone of Snow White, wonderfully played by Lily Collins, were quite entrancing. And not in the weird, creepy, “What is even going on here?” Tim Burton way either. (Not that there’s anything wrong with the Burton style. I’m a fan.) I would be really surprised if ‘Mirror Mirror’ doesn’t get a few costume or technical nominations at the Oscars.
Beyond the beautiful look of the movie, the cast was pretty stellar as well. I was skeptical about Lily Collins at first, but she really grew on me as the film progressed. Armie Hammer showed off his comedic chops quite nicely. It’s quite the departure from his role in ‘The Social Network’, and he adapts well to the environment. Julia Roberts brought out a whole different side of the Evil Queen that we don’t get too much of in the Disney version. Roberts’ queen wasn’t so much evil really. She was more insecure, which lead to take some extreme measures. The audience will end up feeling bad for her instead of just wanting her vanquished, even though when she gets what’s coming to her, she definitely deserves it. The seven dwarves provided some great laughs, but most of my laughs came whenever veteran actor Nathan Lane appeared on screen. Something about the way that man says “cockroach” is hilarious to me. He has a small role, but he made the most of it.
The script was pretty standard for the genre. Prince and princess meet, vanquish a foe, and *Spoiler Alert* live happily ever after. However, these stories have lasted the test of time because of their simplicity. It’s nothing Best Adapted screenplay worthy, but the kids will enjoy it. And the adults who take them to see it will enjoy some little things too, like the self-aware dialogue. For example, when Snow White won’t allow Prince Andrew or the dwarves to help her fight the beast because she wants to break the mold of the stories she read as a child, the prince says that those stories work for a reason and that they’ve been “focus grouped”. Little throwaway lines like that are scattered throughout the film, and if you pick them up, they’re quite enjoyable. My theater that was mostly full off press let out a few chuckles here and there, so that’s something: If you watch a movie meant for kids with kid glasses, it can be a good time.
On my infamous five star scale, I’ll rate ‘Mirror Mirror’ a 3.5 because it was an overall pleasurable movie going experience that was amplified by the amazing cinematography and costumes. The Bollywood-style musical number during the credits didn’t hurt either.