Mirror Mirror * *

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Director: Tarsem Singh.
Screenplay: Jason Keller, Marc Klein.
Starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Michael Lerner, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Martin Klebba, Sebastian Saraceno, Ronald Lee Clark, Mare Winningham, Sean Bean.

Former music video director Tarsem Singh has steadily built a reputation for himself in creating feature films with high visual flair. For anyone that’s seen “The Cell” or “The Fall” then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. This film follows a similar visual path but is so ponderous in the script department that it’s sleep inducing.

In a stolen kingdom, Snow White (Lily Collins) lives with her wicked stepmother (Julia Roberts) but when she attracts the attention of a handsome young prince (Armie Hammer), her stepmother banishes her. In the forest, she finds the company of seven dwarves who rally together to help Snow White reclaim the throne.

Tarsem approaches the old fairy-tale of “Snow White” in an impressive and innovative way by adding a bit of feminism into the mix. It’s a welcome female spin on the fairy-tale structure by having no heroic prince and making Snow White less of a damsel in distress and focusing more on her strengths. It’s a good idea but sadly, that is where the new and improved story ends. The delivery is so painstakingly slow and dull that any positives are soon forgotten about and there’s absolutely nothing else in the script that’s noteworthy. This is a real shame as on the surface of it all, Tarsem has put the work in and his creative visual approach is as apparent as ever. However, with a story lacking in any form of excitement or wonder the superb visuals get bogged in a very tedious affair. It also doesn’t help that the main focus is not on Snow White but on the evil Queen. Now this might have sounded good on paper but to deliver the goods on-screen, you need an actress that has gravitas and one with unquestionable ability. That actress is most certainly not Julia Roberts. She is given a juicy dual role and one that she could really have shown her range but, quite frankly, she blows it. Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of her. I did like her in her Oscar winning role in “Erin Brockovich” but I struggle to think of any other memorable performance. This is proof again, that Roberts is highly overrated. Armie Hammer, on the other hand, adds a good bit of comic relief as the bumbling prince and Lily Collins makes an admirable Snow White; the least said about the dormant caterpillars that rest on her brow, the better though. Two words spring to mind – tweezers and pluck.
Overall, a very disappointing modern take on an old classic and no matter how good it’s dressed up, it’s ultimately hollow underneath it’s elaborate accoutrements.

Rich in detail but poor in delivery. In this version, Snow White might not eat the poisoned apple and slip into a coma but the audience certainly do.

Mark Walker

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21 Responses to “Mirror Mirror * *”

  1. Thank you! I listed Julia Roberts as one of my overrated actresses in my Movie Confessions blogathon and got shouted down by quite a few (not on the blog admittedly). From the sounds of things here they sacrificed the script for the star.

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    • I’m with you on the Roberts deal Chris. She’s really rather poor for a big name actress. Erin Brockovich – Yes. Everything else – No.
      I too thought about choosing her on the blogathon and I agree on this one. More attention should have been paid to the script. It might actually have been quite good, if they did.

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  2. ray brayne Says:

    I liked it more than you. Just last nite I told my inlaws to check this out rather than “The Huntsman”. This at least had a humorous attitude about the whole thing and the fairy tale world it created was quite amusing. Reminded me a bit of “The Princess Bride”. “Huntsman” took itself far too serious. While I generally agree about Roberts, here she fits. She’s got a weird twinkle in her eye and a snide smile that says “Yah I’m a mean bitch, deal with it!” I also liked the Dwarves. Very inventive there. Over all OK, not great. Still heads above the pompous “Huntsman”! I did hate the “Bollywood” ending though(Whats with that). Oh well.

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    • I thought the world it created was great. Very Terry Gilliam like but then I expect no less from Tarsem. His stuff always looks great. The humour it had was welcome right enough and in this case I thought Hammer came out best. Roberts on the hand didn’t do it for me. There’s just something one-note about her performance and she very rarely any good. Same old, same old with her. Overall, I found it pretty boring.
      Yeah, Bollywood! What the…? I’ve got no idea what the intention was with that.

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  3. Nice review and kinda what I figured from this movie. I’m not a big Julia Roberts fan either so I may pass on it. Glad I checked out your take.

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  4. Good review Mark. This story just annoyed the hell out of me because it tried so damn hard to be funny, but just wasn’t. Hammer had some funny moments, as well as did a couple of others in the cast, but everybody else seemed to be trying really hard by using camp. Camp can work, but when it doesn’t, it’s absolutely grueling to watch. Snow White and the Huntsman was a hell of a lot better than this junk.

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    • Haha. I can see your also not a fan. I agree though. There were some moments of humour, mainly from Hammer but the rest seemed forced. Ultimately it came down to a very poor script.

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  5. Your review is pretty spot on with others I’ve read. This seems like the type of movie I’d queue up whilst working, background noise…

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  6. HAHA I love this. Although I enjoyed this much more than the other abmoination of Snow White this year, and my daughters liked it a lot.

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  7. Fine review, Mark. I made the decision awhile back to wait to watch this as a rental (and now I’m glad I did). Still, we might make this a family movie watch. Thanks.

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  8. Great review, Mark! Haven’t seen this one yet but can’t imagine it being much worse than Snow White and the Huntsman. You’d think at least one of those would be decent! And I agree, Julia Roberts is so overrated. She was very good in Erin Brockovich and Closer (although overshadowed by Law, Portman, and Owen) but I think that’s it.

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    • Thanks again Fernando. I haven’t seen the huntsman (and have no desire to) so I can’t compare but I’m with you on Roberts. The gal just ain’t that good. Visually this film is impressive but otherwise there’s nothing. Avoid it if you can.

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  9. Sam Fragoso Says:

    I still have no interest in this movie. Even upon some of the positive reviews it was receiving, I never felt compelled to check this one out.

    Classic final line.

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    • Thanks for stopping by again Sam. Yeah, this film just wasn’t for me which I thought was a real shame. It could have been great. Tarsem can certainly deliver on the visuals but the story was a dull as dishwater man. Unfortunately, my daughter likes to put it on regularly. :-(

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    Like

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