Mirror Mirror – Review

Worth seeing: for fans of camp fairytales that lack the magical drama the genre requires to cross over
Director:Tarsem Singh
Featuring:Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Mare Winningham, Martin Klebba, Michael Lerner, Nathan Lane, Sean Bean
Length:106 minutes
Certificate:PG
Country:US
Released:2nd April 2012

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

The evil Queen (Julia Roberts) takes control of the kingdom when the widowed king (Sean Bean) fails to return home from a trip.

The Queen is a bit worried that her step-daughter, the rightful heir to the kingdom, Snow White (Lily Collins) is turning out to be a bit of a stunner. Determined to remain “the fairest of them all,” the Queen locks Snow White up where no-one can see her, but the resourceful teenager manages to escape to the village, where she sees the poverty that has been heaped on the residents by the Queen’s extravagance.

One such extravagance is a party – funded by tax rises for the people – to impress a passing prince (Armie Hammer); what better for a vain, paranoid Queen to do when her finances are dwindling than to hook a wealthy young prince?

With the help of a band of mini-bandits she finds in the woods, Snow White sets out to win back her kingdom from the evil Queen and restore wealth to the people. And perhaps find a bit of love in the bargain – with the same prince whose body, and money, the Queen has her eyes on.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

This is – of course – a retelling of the much-loved tale of Snow White and the seven dwarves – the first of two in a matter of months.

While Snow White & the Huntsman is a darker take on the Brothers Grimm, the man behind Immortals, Tarsem Singh, plays up the camp – the Joel Schumacher to Batman’s Christopher Nolan.

The story is simplistic and familiar but the mood is somewhat uneven. The seven dwarves are nasty thieves – some supposedly humorous, while others are genuinely antagonistic – yet a hapless Armie Hammer spends most of the film in his underwear or acting like a dog, while the Queen’s stooge Nathan Lane is camper than he was in The Birdcage.

Lane is, however, the most amusing thing in the film.

Julia Roberts comes across like a bitter old cow, as you can imagine she might be as she sees the next generation of Hollywood beauties following in her path, but she doesn’t feel truly ominous.

And Lily Collins – while sweet as a sugar-cube – is as blank a screen presence as her character’s name would suggest.

Apart from Nathan Lane’s japes, Mirror Mirror is rather dull and predictable, fails to make the most of the magic of the fairytale, and enjoyable only for the age-group of girls who might enjoy playing with princess dolls.