Mirror Mirror (2012)
Mirror Mirror (2012)

Genre: Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 46 min.

Release Date: March 30th, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Tarsem Singh Actors: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Sean Bean, Michael Lerner, Mare Winningham

 


 

“A

little too much” sums up the entirety of Tarsem Singh’s whimsical fairy tale “Mirror Mirror.” From the lavish costume designs and bizarre CG creations to the over-the-top acting and points of monumental silliness, the latest reimagining of the Snow White fable confronts its zenith in every facet and intrepidly breaches it. The film’s inability to show restraint in its slapstick visuals and madcap gags causes a predictable repetition of puerility. When the quirky fun stays in check, “Mirror Mirror” reveals many of the engaging elements of the original legend as well as a spirited humor that should appeal to many. The triumph will be if it can outweigh the numerous moments of excessive idiocy.

In a magical kingdom, an evil Queen (Julia Roberts) is left to rule when a terrible beast kills the King (Sean Bean). On her eighteenth birthday, the King’s beautiful daughter, Snow White (Lily Collins), finally ventures forth from her castle prison to discover the ruin the Queen’s unrelenting greed has caused upon the commoners. Appalled by what she finds, Snow White confronts the tyrant only to be sentenced to death. When the Queen’s aide (Nathan Lane) is unable to do the deed, the young girl escapes into the woods where she encounters seven brave dwarves and a noble prince (Armie Hammer) who may be her only hope in overthrowing the wicked ruler.

“Mirror Mirror” possesses just as many verbal annoyances, inattention to storytelling structure, and inconsistency with tone as 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland.” What it does better, however, is to present purposeful costumes. The costume designs are by far the strongest visual constituent, demonstrating Tarsem’s signature flair for fantastical garments, as well as a particularly adept comedic component not found frequently enough in such family-friendly fare. A masquerade ball sequence is the highlight of the apparel, showcasing hilarious interpretations of assorted animals. It’s a shame the rest of the humor couldn’t keep up with the eye-catching attire – or Lily Collins’ intrusively prominent eyebrows. The CG also bears Tarsem’s typical look, which is unfortunately a noticeably lower quality than what is to be expected from a bigger budget Hollywood film, and yet another aspect not up to par with the wardrobe.

While the dialogue mixes in pop culture, anachronistic sayings, and juvenile yet harmless insinuations, the laughs aren’t sizeable enough or undeviating enough to be effective. Julia Roberts has a few decent lines, but is written to be so dreadfully irritating at the start that it’s difficult to welcome the role. Nathan Lane’s performance is much more satisfying, and yet he portrays a character akin to all of his recent turns. With a touch of mild cleverness along the lines of “The Princess Bride,” or watching imagery unfold as a fairy tale is read to a child, “Mirror Mirror” is much more palatable than the trailers would have audiences believe. As if to shatter the hard-earned complacency of viewers warming up to this off-the-wall retelling of a tired story, Tarsem has the nerve to conclude his work with a grating, ear-piercing, highly contrasting Bollywood song-and-dance segment that very upsettingly leaves a sour taste to the whole affair. What a terrible way to end a dangerously mediocre film. Why would distributor Relativity Media allow this to happen?

– The Massie Twins

  • 5/10