Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Mirror Mirror - Movie Review

Mirror Mirror - Movie Review

Cast: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Mare Winningham, Sean Bean

Director: Tarsem Singh

So, another take on the Snow White story arrives in the cinema - and this one ahead of a certain Twihard's performance in a similar role.

But this one is very clearly aimed at the family PG market.

Lily Collins stars as Snow White and Julia Roberts the Queen who steals the heart of the King (Sean Bean) in a world far, far away. When the King disappears, the Queen keeps Snow White locked up in the castle and away from the rest of the kingdom, which she taxes at an exorbitant level to play for lavish parties and life in general.

However, when the Queen is told she's near bankruptcy, she looks for ways to marry out of the predicament - and one of those, Prince Alcott (Hammer), literally ends up on her doorstep.

But at a chance meeting, Alcott falls hard for Snow White and becomes besotted with her. The Queen, though is having none of that - and decrees Snow White's death....

Cast out into the forest, Snow White meets the seven dwarves and sets about reclaiming her birthright.

Mirror Mirror is as completely different a take on the Snow White story as you'll ever see.

It's from Tarsem Singh who brings such incredible visuals to the big screen in all his films but has yet to match the dazzling visuals with an equally dazzling story. Sure, it's a take on the original fairy tale - but it veers more off in a completely different direction than you may expect.

Julia Roberts plays the Evil Queen more as a sarcastic witch with a bitchy outlook than an out and out "boo hiss" villain - and it's a touch which director Singh uses to give it a slight point of difference but it's also what unfortunately confuses the feel of the film. It does, however, give rise to some funny moments and oddball comments which make the whole flick seem like a bit more of a slightly off kilter pantomime than anything else. That said, they are amusing.

If you're looking for the classic elements of the Snow White story, they're all there - the seven dwarves are given different names but are essentially the same characters - but not just in the way you may expect. Mind you, the dwarves are given somewhat of a makeover with accordion style expanding legs as they maraud around the woods - it's a sort of Cirque du Soleil crossed with little people - but again, it's visually inventive.

Arnie Hammer is more comic relief and slightly cheesy than dashing prince (even though he does spend an inordinate amount of time with his top off - which is remarked on by the Queen as she 'struggles to concentrate' with his shirtless ways) and Lily Collins, while initially a little wet and weak as Snow White, gives rise to a lot of misty focused moments and winsome gazes rather than single minded heroine. It's very family orientated viewing though thanks to their performances - plus throw in Julia Roberts and Nathan Lane and you've got a great ensemble.

Tarsem Singh is such a wonderfully inventive director who leaves his visual mark on anything he touches - but he's yet to match a truly unique eye for colour and imagery with a story.

That's the thing with Mirror, Mirror - this family film deserves to be lauded for its stunning costuming and unbelievably dazzling visuals (it even ends with a Bollywood style dance song during the credits and opens with a stunning shadow puppet animation) but in terms of the story, thanks to an odd mismatch of styles and narrative ideas, it's a little bit of a mixed and flat experience.


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