Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane
There was a time when Julia Roberts was a queen of sorts, and as queen she wore many masks. She was a Pretty Woman, a Runaway Bride and even won a golden statue for wearing an Erin mask. The decade that followed was sad indeed and no matter of eating, praying and loving could restore her to the status she once enjoyed. Enter Mirror Mirror and the queen once again has a chance to shine.
Undertaking the re-working and directing of a much loved and known fairy tale can be a daunting task but Tarsem Sigh does it and does it well. Mirror Mirror is the story of Snow White from the Evil Queens point of view, or so we think. Julia Roberts plays the evil queen with a mix of sarcasm and humor but not enough evil bite to fully make her a character we want to hate. For true fans of Julia Roberts it’s a movie to love. For fans of the fairy tale Snow White there’s a little too much of Roberts personality infused into the queen to make us happy. That being said, Roberts did a good job making us laugh with her facial expressions and flippant attitude.
Mirror Mirror opens with an animated telling of the early life of Snow White. From her birth to the time Snows’ father marries a new queen and leaves to fight in some unexplained conflict little Snow lives the life of a princess. Lily Collins is Snow White. Her character is bland and honestly a little boring. After being locked away in her tower bedroom for eighteen years the entire town and most of the palace servants think Snow is a hermit with some horrible disformity.
Stepmom has run the kingdom into financial ruin and sends her bootlicker, played by Nathan Lane, to inform the town people of yet another tax hike. The queen tells her manservant to sell the idea, “you know, bread is meat, just sell it…”. In order to continue to rule in high fashion the queen must marry a wealthy prince. As if sent from the skies enter Prince charming, played by Armie Hammer.
Armie Hammer who still continues to be slightly fussy and formal at least looks like a charming prince and plays the part well. Retelling you the movie is not called for since it’s a story that we all know but what I can tell you is that the twists and visuals in this retelling make it a breath of fresh air for the tired parent who is looking for a movie to share with their children. Director Tarsem Singh last made the movie Immortals and in Mirror Mirror he puts his strange imagination to even better use. We get dwarfs with badass attitudes and names like Butcher, Grub, Half-Pint and Chuck(call him chuckles for short). They rule the forest like Robin Hood’s mini men and there’s not a “Heigh-Ho” ever heard. We get Stilts that collapse like bellows, a meek princess that becomes the leader of the mini forest vigilante’s, magic potions, and a Mirror that is somewhere in the middle of a vast ocean inside of a hut on stilts. Add to all of this costumes that are Tim Burton(ala Alice in Worderland) looking and you get a fast paced, funny and at times action packed retelling of a much loved fairy tale.
Do I wish the queen were more wicked? Yes. Would I have liked more character development? Yes . Am I asking for a lot from a PG13 Fairy Tale retelling? Probably yes but even without those things this is a good Saturday night flick to go to with your kids and honestly, it’s nice to see a princess not be helpless and step up to the plate to win the kingdom back.