Mirror Mirror attempts to give the Snow White story the post-modern Princess Bride makeover with anachronistic modern references and parody of the fantasy genre. That’s always a tricky proposition because modern references can kill the sense of fantasy if they’re not judged just right. Mirror Mirror is amusing at times but not it’s as funny as Princess Bride nor is it as successful as a swashbuckling fantasy adventure.
Julia Roberts stars as the wicked Queen who’s like an older, medieval version of a high school mean girl. Aided by a magic mirror, she turfs out the King and spends her time taxing peasants to fund extravagant parties. Her only threat is step daughter and rightful heir to the throne, Princess Snow White. With the Queen determined to kill Snow White, the young Princess’s only hope is a goof-ball Prince (Armie Hammer) and our old mates the seven dwarves.
The trailer for this film suggested a clumsy, broad comedy full of noisy, hammy acting. Fortunately that’s only partly true. While no comic masterpiece, this film has at least some slivers of witty dialogue and an endearing sense of fun. Much of this is due to a typically energetic performance from Nathan Lane as bumbling servant Brighton.
Julia Roberts is memorably nasty as the wicked Queen and had some audience members hissing at her. Lily Collins (daughter of Phil) is a little one dimensional as Snow White, though; she’s attractive and performs well in some vigorous action scenes but there’s not a lot of depth to her character.
As the Prince, Armie Hammer who was both Winkelvosses in The Social Network, seems to be channelling Brendan Fraser but he brings the right mix of tenacity and clutziness.
The dwarves are a lot tougher and nastier than the ones in the old Disney cartoon but are still likeable and heroic.
The film is directed by Tarsem Singh who, if nothing else, is known for his distinctive eastern-influenced visual style and the Mirror Mirror is certainly attractive to look at.
Mirror Mirror is not a classic fairy-tale adaptation but it was more fun than I thought it would be.
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