Summary: Mirror Mirror‘s fashion sacrifices passion, dilutes the movie’s ambition and elicits little audience reaction. You sit there giggling for a while, then punctuate your giggle with sighs and eventually just grumble about how silly the whole damn thing is!
Mirror Mirror has been designed as if it were funded by the fashion industry. The wardrobe seems to use just about every color in the spectrum and every possible garment and oddity to deck up the characters, the set designs resemble different themes for fashion events and the film’s characters speak in a facile manner throughout. Unfortunately, Mirror Mirror’s fashionable approach towards the legendary fairy-tale ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs‘ will be forgotten soon just like those fads in the fashion industry which cause a spectacle for some time then fade into obscurity, and with Mirror Mirror’s blundering ending sequence, expect the movie to die out into the bottommost depths of a discount CDs receptacle (you know, the one where you dig out from heaps of CDs dumped into a container). Mirror Mirror’s fashion sacrifices passion, dilutes the movie’s ambition and elicits little audience reaction; you basically giggle for a while, then punctuate it with sighs and crib at how silly the whole damn thing is!
Julia Roberts is the Devil donning an evil queen’s gown here who proclaims that Mirror Mirror is her movie, and indeed she unleashes the Wilhelmina Slater (Ugly Betty) in her, ripping apart her kingdom and Snow White by wielding her stubborn demanding and narcissistic power. She is spoiled, sharp-tongued and … broke and so her only resort is to impose exorbitant taxes on her people under the pretense that the funds are being used for their protection against the beast. She also sets her eyes on the Prince (played by Armie Hammer) when he visits her palace after claiming to be robbed by ‘giants’ ( who in actuality are the seven renegade dwarfs). When she suspects that Snow White is plotting against her by intimating the prince about the Queen’s intentions of marrying him for his money (and his sturdy-hairy torso), the Queen orders her minion Brighton to murder her in the forest. Pitying Snow, he doesn’t and advices her to run and never return; Snow White bumps her head against a branch outside the dwarfs’ den and it taken in by the thieving troupe. While the Queen then resumes to make arrangements for her marriage with her Prince assuming there’s no Snow to block her plan, Snow White forms a deal with the dwarfs to take down the Queen’s power in exchange of agreeing to return the people’s misappropriated by the Queen back to them.
Mirror Mirror does not satisfy the basic element of a fairy-tale, which is to fill its imaginary world with distinctive characters who act with fairy-tale charm and uniqueness. Tim Burton’s film Alice in Wonderland grew on me in subsequent viewings because every character seemed to act and sound a part of ‘that world’; while in Mirror Mirror, all you have is Roberts dishing orders one after the other in a ‘spoiled Julia Roberts’ mode and Hammer filling the spot of an eye-candy Prince with no passion. Not a single person in the film makes us believe they are fairy-tale characters, rather sounding like actors from a skit lampooning fantasy films that could’ve easily been the plot for an episode of ‘Ugly Betty‘. Why couldn’t Tarsem simply set his story in the fashion world? The movie would’ve essentially been about the rivalry between Snow and Queen (the former the daughter of a late editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine and the latter the current boss whose only intention is to project her name) and Armie could’ve been an upcoming model who’s wedged between the two. Then just replace the apple with maybe poisoned drink and dwarfs with designers . In the current setting, everyone sounds anachronistic.
Lily Collins is extremely pretty and perky as Snow and I’m really amazed at people’s nitpicking about her prominent eyebrows. She is radiant and beautiful in every single scene she’s in, whether in her Swan-shaped gown or in her bright-yellow hooded cloak. All she lacks is a chemistry with Armie, and what makes this even more prominent is that they hardly share any screen time together. Even a sappy Twilight-like chemistry could’ve helped but Tarsem destroys that when he conceives the ludicrous idea of modifying the most important moment of Snow White by placing it at an earlier point. What convinced Hammer to do something as stupid as a puppy-love scene while refuse something as trivial as shaving off his chest for a scene? This entire puppy-love subplot, where the Prince is accidentally given a potion that makes him act like a faithful dog, could’ve worked had Mirror Mirror been an animated film (for example, the animated character of Flynn Rider doing this in Rapunzel) but to watch a fully-grown non-animated human being panting and squealing (that too not subtlety) just gives the most disconcerting shivers. The rapport between Snow and the dwarfs is cute but nothing special, and the dwarfs aren’t that funny when they open their mouths. Even some circumstances are predictable, like in a scene where the dwarfs are locked in their own home and the main key is taken; you guess well beforehand that there will be a gag where one says “But we do have a spare key!” Or something like that.
The background score is unmemorable until “The Bollywood Auto-tune Number”; then it is memorable for all the wrong reasons. Just as we are trying to get over the absurd revelation involving the fate of Snow White’s missing father, we are struck with this abrupt ‘naach-gaana’ (song and dance) which not only makes us go ‘Huh?!’ Because of the Bollywood beats but ‘WTF!!’ when Snow begins singing like Will.i.am. And you only grasp ‘Believer, Believer…’ chanted endlessly when the actual words (I had to check it up online) is ‘Believe(In Love). The last thing we want is inclusion of auto-tune in movies, so please keep it far, far away.
I can’t say the film is unwatchable -Julia Roberts does have her moments and Collins too brightens up her scenes -but there is nothing novel about the film’s firm or style; Shrek did this more than a decade ago (risqué fairytale humor, contemporary characters). Mirror Mirror isn’t marvelous much.
- Review – Mirror Mirror (azalealarkson.wordpress.com)