Mirror, Mirror is live, fresh take on the Snow White fairytale. This statement alone begs me to ask, “Is this necessary?” and “what new life can be brought to draw folks in?” Well, as directed by Tarsem Singh (Immortals, The Cell) with a screenplay by Marc Klein (Serendipity), Mirror, Mirror hopes to deliver to its audience a family friendly film that has just the right blend of humor, action and suspense to leave all audience members leaving the theater satisfied with their viewing experience. That frankly is quite a hill to climb, and at least for me, it ultimately missed the mark.
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, Mirror, Mirror is a re-imagining of the classic fairytale with more than a few twists – one of these twists includes the characterization and dynamic between Snow White (Lily Collins) and The Handsome Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer). Snow White is mainly a sweet, retiring orphan forced to live under her Evil Queen of a stepmother’s (Julia Roberts) rule, but when banished from the kingdom and left for dead, gains an independent spirit and becomes a force to be reckoned with. For his part, the Prince is somewhat emasculated when compared to his source material’s counterpart. When they are together, it is portrayed more as a partnership of equals; there is no real “rescuing” here. For an added touch, the Seven Dwarfs are no longer the affable woodland dwellers that reside in many an imagination. Here, they are a group of gruff, thieving, lawless outsiders, rejected the kingdom when the Evil Queen declares them as not being “pretty enough.” Not to worry – this is a modern telling of the story after all, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
So it begs to be asked, just who is this film for? It seems to position itself with the tween crowd, as some of the humor and references may be over the head of anyone younger than 10 years of age. Therein lies the difficulty of course.
I should state for the record one certainty – I am NOT the target demographic for this film. Luckily for me, there was a group of Girl Scouts seated in my row at the press screening I attended last week. Now if I use them (particularly the older, apparently teenaged girls) as a barometer of the film’s ‘aims,’ then YES, this was a fun and entertaining film. Even some of the adults (including myself) had a chuckle or two. But for everyone else outside and in between I am not so sure. Note that there are a couple of tense/threatening/imperiled moments in the film, but nothing extraordinary. However, as I have alluded to, keep in mind that some of the material may not be suited for your progeny (Note: the film was rated PG).
Given the material, the acting by the ensemble was perfectly adequate, but nothing extraordinary. And for as much was made of Julia Roberts “going bad” in her portrayal of the Evil Queen, but as you may have guessed by now, it is principally a comedy evil.
I am familiar with but have not seen any of Mr. Singh’s previous films that include the “swords-and-sandals” romp Immortals as well at the Jennifer Lopez psychological thriller The Cell. Based on his previous work, I would say that selecting him to do a film such as Mirror, Mirror is a curious choice. But hey, Robert Rodriguez was able to helm the relatively successful Spy Kids franchise.
On the bright side (and I mean REALLY bright), the costumes and sets were gorgeous. However, there was heavy reliance on CGI – a little too much at times for my taste.
In the end, the sums don’t add up for me, I am afraid.