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Mirror Mirror – You could say it’s “fair,” all right

Mirror, Mirror - Theater Review
Release Date: 03/30/2012 - MPAA Rating: PG
Clacker Rating: 3 Clacks

Once upon a time, it's once again Snow White - and it's light and just ... all right.

Is it fair to judge a kids movie by adult standards? Strike that, it’s fair judge kids movies … by how well they work on both their intended targets and the classic “parents” along for the ride.

Make no mistake, this is not a serious movie — helmed by quirky director Tarsem Singh (The Cell, Immortals), it’s a movie filled with cartoonish sound effects, bright colors, and an attempt at being a good movie. It doesn’t quite pull it off. But kids oughta enjoy it, for the most part. More on that in a bit.

Mirror Mirror is yet another retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale, utilizing many of the conceits and aesthetics of the Disney version (you’ll see them — they aren’t subtle). We begin in one of several failed attempts at subversion of cliches, as we focus on the Evil Queen, played by Julia Roberts (Closer, Ocean’s Eleven), who has somehow gotten rid of the old king (Sean Bean, not quite as dead as you’d suspect), and now ruling over that bizarre sort of kingdom that simultaneously has dozens of wealthy nobles and a single village of poor people. Snow White, played by Lily Collins (The Blind Side), is the true heir to the throne, of course, and is vaguely sweet, pleasant, and archetypally virginal without really having much of a personality. While she suffers under the yoke of her wicked stepmother, Prince Alcott, played by Armie Hammer (The Social Network), has been robbed by seven brigands, who happen to be dwarves (surprise! And they’re played by several well known character actors, such as Jordan Prentice, Danny Woodburn, Martin Klebba, and Ronald Lee Clark).

Of course, soon the Queen, vain and worried about her beauty, plots to marry the rich Prince, but that means killing Snow White. But when Brighton (Nathan Lane) fails to kill her, she finds herself with the dwarves. And etc. This isn’t a movie that is unpredictable. It tries to be original a few times, a valiant set of efforts, but falls short. Mirror Mirror tries to toss in some female empowerment, but at the same time infantilizes Snow White and villainizes the very concept of women growing older. Some funny jokes are tossed in, including a few slightly risque ones (nothing too bad), but then it attempts to have an emotional moment about their “true love” romance that is hours old.

It’s a movie that’s both rushed and overlong, but it keeps throwing things at you fast enough that you or your kids might not notice. Some of the imagery tries to be clever, but ends up being obvious and too “on the nose.” The movie isn’t bad, per se, but it’s not that good either. Really, it’s just fine. Could be a lot worse.

Photo Credit: Relativity Media

6 Responses to “Mirror Mirror – You could say it’s “fair,” all right”

March 30, 2012 at 12:23 AM

It’s interesting how much they’re playing up the “family film” aspect in the movie’s marketing … me thinks its to differentiate it from that other, darker Snow White movie coming out.

March 30, 2012 at 1:06 AM

I think it’s family friendly enough (there were a lot of young girls dressed in princess outfits at my screening), but I agree with Jeremy — it’s just kinda bland as far as story goes. Of course, Tarsem goes overboard on the visuals with the sets and costumes, and Julia Roberts does seem to enjoy playing “evil” for once, but after seeing this I’m more interested in the next Snow White movie (even though I find Kristen Stewart to be about as bland as this movie was).

March 30, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Most folks seem to agree with us – plus we had plenty of tiaras at my screening too. I found the obvious utilizing of trope subversion (often not working) and shoutouts a bit tiresome in the end, but it’s fine for kids.

March 30, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Call me old-fashioned.. but I prefer the original to these new remakes of

classic stories.

March 30, 2012 at 3:57 PM

The original Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was one of the first movies I saw as a kid, and although I didn’t understand all of it at the time, it stayed with me.

March 30, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Call me old-fashioned…but I prefer the original of these onetime classics.

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