Mirror Mirror

wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)

quick review:

Mirror Mirror is a kid-friendly film – you can easily substitute this story with the old one while putting your kids to sleep and they would be able to relate to it more, considering we are in 2012. Little more insight, innovation and wit and the film could have been positively path-breaking. As it is, Mirror Mirror is a pleasurable watch.

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Director: Tarsem Singh
Running time: 106 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Kids
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Mirror Mirror isn’t a revisit to the age-old fairy-tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, nor is it a satire. The first thing you’ll notice while watching the film is how it’s a celebration of the fairy-tale with a concrete contemporary flavour. Fairy-tales are meant to have a universal moral that is passed on for generations, and Mirror Mirror manages to hold that moral and still give the film an interestingly relatable treatment.

Julia Roberts plays the evil queen, and by the look of it, rather enjoys her sinister position of authority. We are told the story through her perspective; you instantly figure out this version of Snow White is going to be entertaining. She plays a vain, insecure queen who locks up an 18 year old Snow White in order to maintain her position.

The King is dead, and Snow White (played by Lily Collins) is the rightful ruler of the land, but the Queen is willing to do anything to keep her away. Snow White is no tormented damsel in distress though. She escapes the palace to realize the kingdom is in ruins, where the villagers who once used to sing and dance, are now broke and starving.

The fun (or what you would call conflict) begins when Snow White meets the Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer of the Social Network fame) and later we realize the Queen wants to marry him for his money. The interactions between the Queen and the Prince are charming, as you see Roberts behave like a drooling cougar, pouncing on ever opportunity to flirt with him. White, on the other hand, encounters the 7 dwarves in the Forest and together they plot to free the land from the Evil Queen’s hold.

Mirror Mirror's strongest point is its elaborate sets and costumes. Colorful landscapes, beefed up gowns and frilly collars give the film a grand and dramatic feel – you feel like every character has come alive from a vibrant children’s story book. However, Lily Collins and Hammer are rather forgettable in their characters, and their love seems hurried and sugar-coated.

The strongest performance (with no surprises) is Julia Roberts’. Even so, the “true love” between Snow White and the Prince isn’t established enough, and Roberts’ could have easily been a tad bit more evil and sassy. The effort to make the film more clever and enjoyable seems laborious and borders on predictable.

The film revels in its ability to subvert tradition – in a brilliant scene as a parody to artificial beauty, the queen gets her lip stung by a bee to enhance it. The idea is not to portray that the women were born beautiful but that even Queens and Princesses from fairy-tales need to touch up. The film isn’t laden with preachy deductions but allows you to enjoy a contemporary re-telling - Snow White learns to use a sword in order to fight her own battle, the dwarves aren’t Robin-Hood thieves but actual bandits and the prince is most certainly not a Knight in shining armor.

Mirror Mirror is an entertaining weekend watch and something the children will love especially if they are aware of the original fairy-tale. It could have been a shorter, crisper film with memorable dialogues (like a play on stereotypical things that characters from fairy-tales say) but the film has a bunch of moments to keep you engaged.

This review is by guest reviewer Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at http://swetharamakrishnan.blogspot.com/.

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Just a battle with a monster
  • Language: Americanised English, no expletives
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: Re-telling of the popular fairy tale – Snow White and the Seven Swarves
  • General Look and Feel: Elaborate sets, dramatic costumes and colorful landscapes

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

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