Mirror Mirror

         
 

04 April 2012| 2 Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Terrific girl power movie done in a harmless youngster’s mentality way. Mirror Mirror is done with such visual extravagance however that adults will be pleased at the way it looks. Then there’s guys like me who have been a long-standing supporter of the Indian-born director Tarsem Singh (“The Cell,” “The Fall”). When it comes to sumptuous architecture and costume design, he seems influenced by Indian palaces and royalty as well as by old centuries Japanese lord and samurai art. Yet I can’t say that I loved this new revisionist Snow White update – it’s like Tarsem is now trying to hard to please the studio. Too many scenes run on for a few moments too long, extraneous “complexities” are thrown into the plot, and it labors too hard to “arc” the character of Snow White (Lily Collins). Plus, I’m not sure if Julia Roberts was the best idea as the Evil Queen. Still, despite my impatience, I often fell into delight from the production scenery.

Most audiences will be charmed by the fresh-skinned and dewy Collins as our 18-year old heroine who leaves the castle for the first time, befriends seven dwarves whom plunk around on stilts, and inspires a revolt against the Queen. This is a rather clean-cut film, in every sense of the word, and perhaps the naughtiest thing about it is Armie Hammer (as the Prince) shirtless in a couple of scenes. The Queen and Snow White are both smitten, yet the Prince loves Snow White. But the Queen has this trick up her sleeve: she has a magic love potion that induces literal puppy love. She can also turn her feckless assistant (Nathan Lane, spazzin’ out) into a cockroach and then back again.

When the Queen doesn’t have the capital funds to throw a lavish wedding party for herself and the Prince (she has killed most, if not all, of her past husbands), she taxes the poor down below the kingdom. The Seven Dwarves (with updated cute names) train Princess Snow White to become a warrior, while Snow White teaches them some civil manners. It’s just in time to interrupt the wedding party, with an opening reception on an icefield with servants on ice skates (this idea by Tarsem is borrowed from the 1993 film “Orlando”), and a kiss is of course needed to awaken one from a spell. Until then, the noble Hammer (last seen in “J. Edgar”) has a giddy time playing up his puppyish tics.

This is not faithful to Grimm fairy tales or Walt Disney from a seventy-plus years ago. The Queen has some modernized ticks that’s at least funny in a hissy-fit way. Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Chicago”) might have been a more alluringly uppity Queen for the role, but at least Roberts has clenched this part with her teeth (she was awful in last year’s “Larry Crowne”). Collins becomes a counterpart warrior who grows up enough to overthrow stepmom, all right, but the sweetness and wholesomeness of this young actress conquers all.

106 Minutes. Rated PG.

FAMILY MOVIE / WHIMSICAL / WEEKEND DINNER AND FAMILY MOVIE

Film Cousins: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937); “Alice in Wonderland” (1951); “Happily Ever After” (1993); “Tangled” (2010).

 

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

There are 2 Comments about this post

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  1.  
    hashbrowny

    hashbrowny says,

     

    I thought this was a great kids’ movie and a good update on a classic. I always love Tarsem’s visual direction. He definitely knows how to create true fantasy worlds. Love the Bollywood dance at the end too!

     

    on April 10, 2012

     
    •  
      Sean Chavel

      Sean Chavel says,

       

      Tarsem (director of “The Cell” and “The Fall”) is fanatical about green silks, red dyes, frocks, palaces with two sharp contrast color tones. He overloads on visual extravagance with his films, he’s a rarity. I always thought he would have been a better director than Tim Burton for the misbegotten “Alice in Wonderland.”

       

      on April 26, 2012

       

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