Review: Mirror Mirror - The Untold Adventures of Snow White (PG) / Director: Tarsem Singh / Screenplay: Melissa Wallack, Jason Keller / Starring: Lilly Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane / Release Date: April 2nd
On first inspection an audience would be forgiven for thinking this is a Julia Roberts vehicle; it isn’t. Tarsem Singh’s Snow White interpretation is a refreshingly sweet and saucy version of the tale. The set pieces and costume are extravagant and creative. Singh approaches the tale with a certain amount of humour and a spoon full of silliness that works in its favour. Although there is a good amount of darkness, it mostly veers to the brighter side.
Singh is aiming for an innocent but smart female hero in Snow White, attempting to turn the usual fairy-tale on its head. Instead of a prince saving a princess, the heroine decides to take the initiative and save herself. At one point she even battles her own prince. There is a little too much of the wicked Queen’s (Julia Roberts) story, considering this film proclaims to tell the untold adventures of Snow White, and more screen time should have been given to Lily Collins’ Snow who is endearing and spot on in her role.
The dwarves are reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits as a bunch of thieves who hold up stage coaches and rob the rich for their own gain. They offer a lot of the humour, with some exquisite slapstick and quick quips, but at times, some of the dialogue is trying too hard to be funny.
Armie Hammer excels in his role as an arrogant prince with a heart of gold who falls for Snow White. He puts his usual amount of charm and freshness into the role and the romance between the two develops nicely. Shifting from instant attraction to confused rivalry works well after Snow joins the band of dwarves. Silly antics and a montage sequence showcasing the fighting skills Snow learns makes absolutely no sense in the time frame of the rest of the story, but is still quite a lot of fun to watch.
Tarsem (as he is referred to in the closing credits) brought the opulent looking The Fall and The Cell to the screen and as expected Mirror Mirror looks suitably lovely most of the way through. Although a CGI monstrosity does come to life in the last third that is totally out of place in this otherwise lavishly beautiful film. Tarsem’s artistic vision and the worlds he creates are inspired and worth watching on the big screen. The film also loses pace in the last act, but a surprisingly upbeat song and dance sequence plays over the credits, and watching Armie Hammer awkwardly trying to bust a groove is pretty funny.
An entertaining and delightful spin on the fairy-tale that should have been trimmed for better pacing.
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10