Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Movie – Mirror Mirror (2012)

Mirror Mirror is one of two Snow White movies that were released in 2012.  The other – Snow White and the Huntsman – took an ultra-serious approach to the story and didn’t succeed.  Mirror Mirror took a more family friendly, tongue in cheek approach.  While it also fell short in some areas it does have enough fun moments in it for me to recommend it.  It also received a 2013 Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design, which was unsurprising given director Tarsem Singh’s reputation for opulent outfits and sets.

The story is quite familiar to most people.  Snow White (Lily Collins) had a loving father (cameo by Sean Bean) who re-married an evil woman (Julia Roberts).  The King soon disappears.  The new Queen is concerned with her beauty and power, to the extent that when she finds out from her magic mirror that Snow White will eventually surpass her in beauty, she decides to keep Snow White out of sight.

Meanwhile a Prince (Armie Hammer) is attacked in the woods nearby.  He and his aide are left hanging upside down after being robbed by dwarves.  Snow White decides to sneak out of the castle and ends up encountering the strung up Prince.  He and Snow White immediately have an attraction for each other, but the Prince continues on to the castle.  The Queen likes what she sees and decides she wants the Prince for herself.  She has her assistant (Nathan Lane) whisk Snow White away from the castle for good.

Eventually Snow runs into the seven dwarves who attacked the Prince.  Unlike Snow White and the Huntsmen, which used full-sized actors and later shrunk them down digitally, Mirror Mirror used real “little people”.  Among them you may recognize Jordan Prentice (In Bruges), Danny Woodburn (Watchmen, Seinfeld), and Martin Klebba (Pirates of the Caribbean).  Things eventually come to a head among Snow White, the Prince, and the Queen.

Julia Roberts chews the scenery in her role as the evil Queen.  She gets a lot of great lines.  Her performance is intentionally over the top, unlike Charlize Theron’s in Snow White and the Huntsman, which was unintentionally funny.  Lily Collins is appropriately beautiful as Snow White and Armie Hammer looks every inch the heroic Prince.  The two have some chemistry between them, although with this being a PG-rated family friendly film nothing gets too out of hand.

As I mentioned at the top, this film was Oscar nominated for its costumes.  Roberts seems to wear a steady succession of enormous gowns.  I read that they were so heavy that she actually pulled a muscle while moving in one of them.  Collins also gets to wear some interesting outfits, especially one at a ball.  As he always does, Tarsem injects little bits of India into this film, in this case the song I Believe in Love, which he wrote.

This Snow White tale is one you can take your family to.  While there are some parts that will likely make adults roll their eyes, younger kids will probably laugh quite a bit.  An example is when the evil Queen gives the Prince a love spell, but it turns out to be a puppy love spell so all he does is lick her face like an excited dog.  Nathan Lane also humorously makes the most of his screen time as the very put upon aide to the Queen.

The 1937 animated film remains the gold standard when it comes to Snow White movies, so if your kids have never seen it, watch that with them first.  On the other hand, if they have seen it (or you’ve seen it more times than you care to remember) then I recommend you give Mirror Mirror a try.  It’s made in a way that either you, your kids, or both, will get some entertainment from it.

Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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  1. Good review Chip. It's a good-looking movie, but not much else when you get beneath all of that glitz and glamour. Hammer is the only one who I felt like worked and actually tried to make me laugh. Everybody else was just there.

    1. Thanks. It's interesting, because I almost wrote that Hammer was the only one in the film that seemed to be going through the motions to me. I'm always fascinated by how different people can get different experiences from the same films.