Movies – Mirror, Mirror

31 Mar

Mirror Mirror is the second of three recent revisions on the Snow White legend, sandwiched by the television version on Once Upon a Time and the upcoming Snow White-as-Joan of Arc Snow White and the Huntsman.  This version is a delightful, light adaptation of the familiar plot with the wicked queen as a preening narcissist, Snow White a captive in the castle, and the seven dwarfs a group of highway robbers.

The movie begins with an animated sequence setting up the story:  A princess is born to a king and his wife, but the wife soon dies.  The king raises the young girl on his own, in a joyful town full of singing and dancing.  After quite some time, the king remarries and soon after goes into the forest in search of a marauding monster, and is never seen again.

This is where the live action picks up, with Julia Roberts as the Queen and Lily Collins (The Blind Side) as Snow White, who the Queen keeps hostage in the castle, spreading the rumor that Snow is a frail shut-in.  On her eighteenth birthday, Snow White sneaks out of the castle to visit the town she grew up in, and is distressed to discover that it’s barren and destitute, the Queen having bled it dry to support her lavish lifestyle.  She also encounters Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), who’s traveling the land seeking adventure.  When the Queen also meets Alcott, she sets her sights on him and his fortune as a way to maintain herself in the manner she has been accustomed.

Mirror Mirroris by no means a great movie.  but it certainly is fun.  Collins is a charming Snow White and Hammer shows good comedy chops, especially once he’s given a magic potion which isn’t quite what the Queen expected.  Nathan Lane is in full mince as the queen’s loyal toady, Brighton, and Mare Winningham is solid as the castle’s baker, who takes care of Snow White.  Each of the dwarfs is imbued with a distinct personality, separate from those that most people are familiar with due to the ubiquity of the Disney version, though there is some overlap.  The movie is, of course, Julia Roberts’, from the opening narration to the closing, and she seems to be having particular fun playing comedy more broad than she’s usually associated with.

Mirror Mirror is not great art.  Some of the jokes fall flat, and others are repetitive.  The scenic design is well in keeping with a fairy tale brought to life, and it’s certainly appropriate for all but the youngest viewers; a couple of scenes of the Queen lusting after Alcott may go over their heads, but other than that there should be no issues.  A few of the touches are very nice, such as the way the dwarfs make themselves appear to be more formidable to the travelers they waylay and the way the magic mirror is handled.  There’s even a Bollywood-type musical number under the final credits.  Again, the movie doesn’t revolutionize film making.  But it’s an enjoyable enough evening at the theater.

 

My score:

 

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