Mirror, Mirror is another film that has been released that centers on the fairy tale of Snow White. You know the story, a comely, virginal young princess is threatened by her mean, vain, powerful witch/step mother. She is forced into an ‘alternative lifestyle’ relationship with 7 men of diminutive stature in the deep, dark, forbidding woods. That is until a handsome, square jawed presumably boring young man, who happens to be the next in line to a beautiful, wealthy kingdom finds her, rescues her and they live happily ever after or until the peasants become restive.
In this entry, the film is directed by Tarsem Singh. Mr. Singh is from India, you know from the sub-continent best known for call centers for big corporations where you seldom get a satisfactory result. Mr. Singh’s previous work include The Immortals and The Cell. In this re-telling of the fairy tales, Mr. Singh’s visual style is adventurous, his concepts a cut above and the acting very good, more on that in a bit.
Unfortunately, the film tries to be faithful to its source material and be irreverent at the same time. The standard Snow White tropes abound while the characters speak in sneaky post-millennium cultural wise cracks. It is a difficult proposition, be old school and new school at the same time. For the most part it falls flat. This isn’t really Mr. Singh’s fault. It is the fault of the script that lacks the coherence needed to pull this off.
On the acting side, Julia Roberts who plays the Queen does a more than credible job. Her Queen is imperious, mean and with a wicked mouth. She’s perfect for the film. The men playing the dwarfs have distinct personalities and are endearing. Lily Collins has the difficult role of playing Snow White. It is a thankless role and she does OK. It is not until the end of the film where the character becomes strong enough to be liked. Armie Hammer, as the Prince, is the best of the bunch. His characterization as the upright, square, do-gooder royal works especially when he is placed in some unusual situations. In these, he grabs them with gusto and displays his confidence as an actor. Sadly Nathan Lane’s role says more about Lane as an actor these days. It was disappointing to see some with so many obvious talents playing a broad buffoon to little effect. His time on the screen will only satisfy the non-discriminating viewer.
What’s the final verdict? Mirror, Mirror is 50/50. It is fine for kids and adults will tolerate it. Some may even like it, but in the long term, Mirror, Mirror will enjoy moderate success and then drift into obscurity where it will live unhappily ever after.