Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mirror Mirror

Directed by Tarsem Singh.

2012. Rated PG, 106 minutes.

Armie Hammer
Michael Lerner
Jordan Prentice
Danny Woodburn
Mark Povinelli
Ronald Lee Clark
Sean Bean

By now, the only reasons to dig up any of the known fairy tales are to subvert or deconstruct them. Mirror Mirror does neither, opting for yet another pretty straightforward retelling of “Snow White.” Sure, there are minor changes here and there, but nothing that would actually justify its existence. Don’t get me wrong. MM is not necessarily a bad movie. It’s just not necessary.

The main change in this version of the classic is that the proceedings are narrated by the Evil Queen (Roberts) who swears this is her story. She’s taxing the citizens of the kingdom so much and spending that money so fast, both they and she are broke. She inherited the kingdom from her late husband, whom she had killed, of course. Snow White (Collins) is locked away but manages to storm out of her quarters for the occasional temper tantrum. She even manages to sneak into one of the Queen’s balls which is where she meets the handsome Prince Alcott (Hammer). One of the Queen’s minions is tasked to kill the girl. However, he has not the heart. He marches her out to the woods and basically tells her to get lost and stay that way.

All of this leads to the other big change in MM. Snow White eventually runs into The Seven Dwarves. These guys don’t whistle while they work. That’s because bandits have to be quiet before they attack. See, these dwarves run around on stilts and rob anyone who ventures into the woods. Gone are the iconic names like Dopey, Sleepy, etc. and the personalities that come with them. This is a fairly indistinguishable lot. All we really need to know is that Snow White assumes the role of Robin Hood and they, her merry men. To this end, she gets to do most of the saving of her own day. I suppose this could be considered another twist but even that’s old hat, these days.

In other words, MM progresses as a Snow White movie must. Much of our time is spent watching Julia Roberts have a grand time being evil. She chews scenery with boundless verve in both of her roles. She also plays the mirror, by the way. It can either be fun to watch or painfully annoying. I wouldn’t fault anyone who thought it was either. Regardless of which way you lean, you’ll agree the movie is fairly lifeless when she’s not on the screen. Even the kids in the target audience are likely to have a “been there, done that” reaction to it all. I fully expect there are legions of little girls that proclaim this “the bestest movie evar!” I’ve no problem with that. After all, it’s a story about a princess. I’m just not sure they’ve gotten anything different than they’ve already gotten from dozens of other movies.

MY SCORE: 5.5/10

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