Mirror Mirror - cracks galoreMarch 30, 2012 @ 12:25 pm (Updated: 1:57 pm - 3/30/12 )
Hollywood, in its infinite wisdom, is giving us two Snow White movies in the next couple of months. The first one, called "Mirror Mirror," stars Julia Roberts ... not as Snow White, of course, she's too old for that. No, she's the evil step-mother queen.
And her getting too old to be the fairest of them all is one of the things that drives her crazy about the just- turned-18 Snow White. Jealousy reaches a crescendo when Snow, as she's called in the movie, inadvertently becomes the Queen's rival for the romantic affections of a young prince. As in the fairytale, the Queen orders Snow's death but she escapes to a cottage of seven dwarfs.
Julia Roberts seems to relish playing the heavy in this lighter-than-air adaptation of Grimm's fairy tale but it may be more fun for her than for us. Overall, this is a mildly amusing and relatively inoffensive re-telling. And if that is damning with faint praise, so be it.
Channeling a "fractured-fairytale" sensibility, "Mirror Mirror" is full of cracks, jokes that break through the mythical setting with contemporary jargon: The castle guards "pinky swear," Snow White is "high maintenance," and the queen is "psycho-crazy." And when Snow White suggests it's time to let HER save herself instead of waiting for a prince to come along, the prince objects that the tried and true story line has already been "focus-grouped and it always works." The seven dwarfs make all sorts of anachronistic quips as well. Although occasionally laugh-worthy, most of these jokes are belabored enough to rate no more than a smile.
As for the rest of the cast, Lily Collins is a pleasant if bland Snow White. Armie Hammer, as the Prince, is allowed to have a little more personality, even a sense of humor, but again he plays it so broadly, it fails to make much of an impression.
Thanks to a couple of striking set-pieces and lots of over-the-top costumes, the film does have a certain visual flair (director Tarsem also did the flamboyant movie "The Cell.") Reminiscent of an early Tim Burton production, "Mirror Mirror" is all dressed up with no particularly interesting place to go.
It's a family-friendly, girl-power movie with plenty of "lessons" for kids, like "Believe in yourself" and "A weakness is only a weakness if YOU think it's a weakness" but not much else. In other words, Mirror Mirror is so-so.
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