There are few things worse than a family film that dive bombs into ridiculously stupid territory – which is exactly what Mirror Mirror does from the get-go. Imagine watching the worst animated kids movie brought to life via live-action performances by chemistry-less actors who either seem to not give a damn about what they’re doing or have no shame because they’re finally “making it” in show business.
The movie opens with Julia Roberts’ character, the ice-cold queen/stepmother, recounting the origins of Snow White (Lily Collins, daughter of the terrible Phil Collins), only it’s not as we already know it. In this version, Snow’s mother died at childbirth. Her father had a hard time coping with the loss, so he remarried a (supposedly) beautiful woman shortly thereafter, only to go missing in the woods one day. The new queen carried on with the responsibilities of the kingdom as an insatiable desire for vanity grew stronger within her. With Snow constantly being complimented on her natural beauty, the queen resented Snow, basically banishing her to her room, verbally grinding her down and keeping her from meeting the visiting princes. With funds running low, the queen has wanted to keep one of these wealthy young princes for herself.
This jumbled fairytale begins on Snow’s 18th birthday when she’s convinced by a nice maid to escape the palace/castle/whatever the hell it is to see how the townsfolk now live. When she sees the poverty caused by the queen’s high taxation, Snow knows that the only way to save the kingdom is to overthrow the queen. That night, Snow sneaks into one of the queen’s royal balls and gets the attention of the strapping newcomer Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), but not without gaining the unwanted attention of the queen, who sends a footman (Nathan Lane) out to kill her in the woods. Of course, stunned by Snow’s beauty (which I don’t see through Collins’ wild and unkempt eyebrows), he lets her go and tells her to never come back. As she runs through the dark forest, she bonks her head on a low branch and is found/rescued by a group of seven dwarfs. Unlike the Snow White that we are all familiar with, the dwarfs have new names like ‘Hunter’ and ‘Fox.’ With the help of these seven handy little men, Snow and Co. begin a Robin Hood lifestyle of stealing from the queen and returning the money to the poor villagers. As if the movie has schizophrenia, it’s at this point that Mirror Mirror turns into a silly swashbuckler – feeling like a bad blend of Tangled, Enchanted and Robin Hood where ever element falls flat on its face. To top it off – get this – it finishes with a Bollywood style musical number. Mind you, at no point before this is Mirror Mirror a musical.
If your kids enjoy as many of the good Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks movies as mine do, Mirror Mirror is a step in the wrong direction. You’ve been feeding them good food all along, now you’re going to introduce them to the worthless crap that they’ll regret consuming later in life. I’m certain that they will enjoy Mirror Mirror now, but when they’re older, they’ll want nothing to do with it.
Along with the annoying Armie Hammer, Mirror Mirror director Tarsem Singh needs to go away. How he still has a job in Hollywood is beyond me. His movies look fantastic, but that’s the only thing they have going for them. If he put same the high amount of attention to detail into directing as he does design, then he might actually make a movie that’s worth watching. Just like everything else he has directed (Immortals, The Cell and The Fall), Mirror Mirror is nothing more than eye candy. If you could remove Lily Collins’ eyebrows and all of the scenes with the dwarfs, Armie Hammer and Julia Roberts, then Mirror Mirror would make a decent silent screensaver, but as-is it’s an excruciating and miserable moviegoing experience that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. There is literally nothing that could have been done to make it any worse than it already is.
Photo credit: Relativity Media