‘Mirror Mirror’ is a pleasant take on an old fairy tale

M 013 (Left to right.) Ju­lia Roberts and Lily Collins star in Re­lativ­ity Me­dia’s Mir­ror Mir­ror. Photo Cred­it: Jan Thijs. © 2012 Re­lativ­ity Me­dia. All Rights Re­served.


If the early bird gets the worm, Mir­ror Mir­ror hopes to be the vic­tor in the battle of Snow Whites. It’s the first of two new live-ac­tion ver­sions of the clas­sic fairy tale to be re­leased this year (the oth­er is Snow White and the Hunts­man, with Kristen Stew­art and Charl­ize Ther­on).

Some smart cast­ing de­cisions help make Mir­ror Mir­ror more fun than it may have oth­er­wise been. Lily Collins (daugh­ter of sing­er Phil) im­me­di­ately grabs you with her (dis­tract­ingly) dark, thick eye­brows, por­cel­ain skin and ruby red lips as she plays Snow White, the Fairest of Them All. While Ju­lia Roberts isn’t ex­actly my idea of a wicked queen, she seemed to have a good time play­ing the part. In­stead of be­ing hor­ribly evil, she’s more of a sar­cast­ic queen, es­pe­cially dur­ing the cheeky de­liv­ery of her open­ing mono­logue.

So as the story goes, the evil Queen hates her 18-year-old step­daugh­ter, Snow White, and goes to great lengths to keep her hid­den away. Snow’s dad, the King (Sean Bean), has long since van­ished without a trace, and the Queen’s for­tune is quickly di­min­ish­ing. In wanders a charm­ing prince (Armie Ham­mer) after an un­for­tu­nate run-in with some “gi­ants,” and the Queen makes it her goal to marry him.

Prince Charm­ing has already set his sights on the beau­ti­ful prin­cess Snow White, who has been ban­ished to the forest by the Queen and her faith­ful ser­vant Brighton (Nath­an Lane). Snow is taken in by a band of dwarves who help her see that she can save her coun­try from the Queen (Girl Power, any­one?). After some swash­buck­ling les­sons (in­sert stand­ard movie train­ing mont­age here), she’s ready to go to battle.

As the prince, Armie Ham­mer (The So­cial Net­work) is un­for­tu­nately rather wimpy. He needs to be res­cued by Snow White mul­tiple times (shouldn’t it be the oth­er way around?). At one point, he’s even un­der a spell that makes him be­have like a puppy dog (funny, but emas­cu­lat­ing).

The biggest change to the clas­sic fairy tale every­one knows is with the sev­en dwarves. Gone are the happy dwarves who whistle while they work in the mines. These dwarves not only have dif­fer­ent names, but a dif­fer­ent oc­cu­pa­tion. They are now stilt-wear­ing thieves who steal from the rich.

While I can rattle off “Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, Dopey, Sneezy, Bash­ful, Doc” in a single breath (I once won “Dis­ney On Ice” tick­ets for know­ing this bit of use­less trivia), I struggle to even re­mem­ber the names or any per­son­al­ity traits of the new guys in Mir­ror Mir­ror. They had some chuckle-worthy mo­ments, but ap­par­ently not enough for me.

Dir­ect­or Tarsem Singh (Im­mor­tals, The Cell) nicely keeps the movie visu­ally ap­peal­ing with bright col­ors, elab­or­ate sets and lovely, lav­ish cos­tumes. This gives the movie an up­beat feel­ing, even if it’s dif­fi­cult to stay com­pletely en­gaged in the plot.

Mir­ror Mir­ror is pleas­ant enough, with some clev­er mo­ments, but over­all it’s a mostly pre­dict­able tale with a few story re­vi­sions that aren’t par­tic­u­larly com­pel­ling or mem­or­able. It’s geared to­ward fam­il­ies, es­pe­cially ones with young­er girls, so I wouldn’t go ex­pect­ing some dark tale. ••

Movie Grade: B-


You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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