Movie Review: Mirror Mirror
Length: 106 minutes
Release Date: March 30, 2012
Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Genre: Comedy, Action, Drama, Adventure
Stars: 3 out of 5
Nearly everyone knows the story of Snow White, but director Tarsem Singh turns everything upside down with his new movie "Mirror Mirror." Singh knows how to make movies look beautiful, and his past work includes "The Cell" and "The Immortals." With this movie, he wanted to bring an updated version of Snow White to the public, but he also wanted to create a movie that looked gorgeous too.
The first scene in "Mirror, Mirror" makes it clear that this is not the classic fairy tale version of Snow White. In the traditional story, the Evil Queen is a secondary character, but in this movie, Queen Clementianna (Julia Roberts, "Erin Brockovich," "Pretty Woman") starts the story. The Queen explains that she married the King (Sean Bean, "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings," "National Treasure") after his wife died. The King then disappears, and the Queen abuses Snow White (Lily Collins, "The Blind Side," "Abduction") because she knows that everyone loves her, and she doesn't like the competition.
Snow White learns that she should gain control over the kingdom when she turns 18, and she sneaks away from the palace. She quickly discovers that the Queen stole money from the town, and people are no longer happy. Snow White also meets Prince Andrew Alcott (Armie Hammer, "The Social Network," "J. Edgar"). The two share a connection, but the Prince leaves her behind and goes to the palace. The Queen decides to seduce the Prince and take all his money.
The movie gains momentum when the Queen sees the connection between Snow White and Prince Andrew. She sends Brighton (Nathan Lane, "The Birdcage," "The Producers") to kill the young girl. Brighton tells Snow White that he cannot do it, and he asks her to leave. She runs into the woods, where she meets a group of dwarfs. The dwarfs save her life, and they let her live with them. Snow White discovers that she must find a way back to the palace if she wants to win back her kingdom and the love of Prince Andrew.
"Mirror, Mirror" introduces a few elements that previous adaptations lacked, including a comedic slant. Nathan Lane is hilarious in his role as Brighton. Whether he is helping Snow White escape or listening to the Queen gloat about her victory, he steals the moment from the lead actors. Roberts and Collins struggle to keep up with him, but when Lane is on the screen, he takes center stage. Even when the Queen turns him into a cockroach, viewers can't keep their eyes off him.
The other big change introduced in this movie is equality. In most versions of the story, Snow White is a helpless girl who depends on the men in her life for help. Even in the Disney version, Snow White cooks and cleans for the dwarfs. The Snow White played by Collins is a completely different character; she agrees to live with the dwarfs, but she only stays there until she can earn back her kingdom. This is a Snow White who willingly picks up a sword, and a Snow White who goes after what she wants.
Those who watch the movie should keep an eye on the sets because the backgrounds and sets are gorgeous. Whether Snow White is running through the woods or standing in the palace, viewers will find themselves transported to another world. The clothing and costumes are equally glamorous. With the amazing gowns given to Roberts, no one should feel surprised if this one earns an Oscar nomination next year for costume design.
One of the highlights in the film is Roberts. Though she often takes dramatic roles, she has a comedic flare that comes across in many of her scenes. Watching her walk through the palace, she almost seems like an animated character brought to life. The actress seems perfectly happy portraying one of the most famous villains of all time, and she breathes new life into an otherwise tired character. Her experience as an actress becomes abundantly clear when she shares scenes with Collins. Though Collins tries her best, she just can't keep up with the award-winning Roberts.
"Mirror, Mirror" combines classic fairy tale elements with modern sensibilities. Some viewers might notice the new twists and turns that Singh added to the film, which give the classic tale more excitement. The story seems slow at times, primarily because the traditional stories are almost boring in this movie. Those who can stick through the boring parts will find a film that just keeps getting better until it reaches the happily ever after at the end.