Mirror, Mirror

Directed By: Tarsem Singh

Starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, and Sean Bean

I have to admit, it was hard for me to get excited about seeing Mirror, Mirror.  After all, trailer 2 for Snow White and the Huntsman was recently released and it looks 10 different kinds of awesome.   While the films are obviously drastically different and should not necessarily be compared, it is hard not to compare two films about the same fairy tale released in the same year.  But one movie trailer looks like something out of The Lord of the Rings, and another has the queen mistakenly giving the prince a puppy love potion.  I’ll take the Huntsman please (and yes I mean Chris Hemsworth).  Jokes aside, Mirror, Mirror is decidedly a movie designed for children; so the adults have to wait until this summer for their fairy tale.

We all know the familiar story, but here goes:  Snow White (Lily Collins) is a princess who lives happily in her kingdom until her father, the King, mysteriously disappears after going on a mission to stop dark magic from rising within the kingdom.  Snow’s evil stepmother the Queen (played with evil relish by Julia Roberts) takes over and rules with an iron fist.  Snow is confined to a room in the castle.  The Queen, however, is greedy and an incompetent leader and bankrupts the kingdom.  She needs to find a wealthy mate in order to preserve her grip on power. 

Enter the Prince (Armie Hammer), a handsome young visitor from a wealthy country.  The Queen sets her sights on the Prince.  Unfortunately for the Queen, the Prince becomes enamored with Snow.  As a result, the Queen has Snow sent out to the dark forest to be executed.  However, Blighton (Nathan Lane), the Queen’s assistant, does not have the heart to kill Snow and he lets her go.  Snow ends up running into and then joining a band of butt-kicking dwarfs.  She and the dwarfs unite to challenge the Queen and free the kingdom.  I think you know the rest of the story.

Mirror, Mirror is just okay.  It is a fairly traditional take on a classic story.  Although Roberts is in fine form as the delightfully evil queen and occasionally has some witty dialogue, there is not enough edge to the film to make it a fresh take on the tale.  Frankly, the only thing that seems original in the film is the dwarfs.  They are a group of bandits cast out by the Queen for being “ugly.”  The dwarfs are stilt-walking, sword-fighting, nimble soldiers who steal from anyone who dares venture into the dark forest.  Forget Sleepy and Doc, the dwarfs in this film are named Butcher and Wolf.  One dwarf appears to be openly gay.  These are not your mother’s dwarfs, and they steal every scene.

My problem with Mirror, Mirror is that it doesn’t take enough risks and doesn’t provide a new take on the traditional fairy tale the way that films like Shrek have done in the past.  It really is simply a children’s tale; and for what it is worth, the children in my theater seemed to like it.  For children, I would rate this film a 0.06%.  But for the adults, you’re going to need to order from the 0.09% menu.