Mirror Mirror * *
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.