It’s already been heavily advertised that two ‘Snow White’ films will be released this year (really Hollywood?) and Mirror Mirror is the more family-oriented version we will see in 2012. Starring Julia Roberts as Queen Clementianna and Lily Collins as Princess Snow, this modern adaptation of the fairytale is almost too loosely based on the original Brothers Grimm story.
In this version, Princess White lives with her wicked stepmother the Queen, who has lead the kingdom she rules into poverty with her selfish ways. In an attempt to lure a Prince (Armie Hammer) into marriage to solve her financial problems, she throws a masquerade ball that Snow White attends. The Queen gets jealous when she sees Snow White and Prince Alcott dance together and banishes Snow from the castle. The Queen sends her servant Brighton (Nathan Lane) to kill her, he wimps out and you know the rest.
Although the end of this movie may be predictable, that’s basically about it. What will draw audiences (over the age of 12) is watching Julia Roberts in such an iconic role. It’s great to see Roberts play a villain (even if it is for a kids movie) and she manages to play the fine line between menacing and witty perfectly. Not that we would expect anything less. Her only setback is no amount of acting skill could make that smile of hers seem even remotely sinister.
Lily Collins plays Snow White, and is very pretty in an Audrey-Hepburn like way. She is so cute you almost forget who her famous Daddy is (his name is Phil.) An endearing scene is when the dwarves help Snow White prepare for her first kiss with the Prince, and it’s not even corny! The dwarves actually steal this movie – hilarious and entertaining in every scene.
The set design and costumes give this film an entirely different depth. The locations, particularly the castle grounds, are breathtaking. The costumes are nothing short of spectacular, and are everything you would want fairytale characters to wear. The production of this movie is worth a watch alone, regardless of the story.
The problem with Mirror Mirror is that it doesn’t respect the original. When a movie ‘borrows’ characters from a classic, there is some expectation that the storyline is done some justice. Mirror Mirror doesn’t do this.
The main components of the Snow White narrative just aren’t there. The script has been modernised, but not in a clever or dynamic way. The dwarves for some reason jump around in giant coil legs and the huntsman is nonexistent. The poison apple only has a short, unnecessary cameo and the part that the audience waits for (especially one that the title would suggest) never comes. The ‘mirror’ element is overly exaggerated: the Queen is submerged into glass to be transported to another CGI-world where she talks to the mirrored-version of herself. It is continually hyped up but we never actually get to see the Queen get told she is no longer the “fairest of all the land”. This is arguably the most pivotal moment for the Evil Queen character, which is completely overlooked.
That aside, this film is funny and engaging throughout. Just don’t go see this film expecting to see a human re-enactment of the Disney cartoon (seriously, not even the dress!) But the script is incredibly witty, the entire cast is charming and the film has been made beautifully. It’s just not Snow White.
By Jasmine Amis
Mirror Mirror is now showing in theatres around Australia.