If you’re going to retell a story (again), give me a reason. “Mirror Mirror” doesn’t, other than yet another barely veiled discussion of the Haves and Have Nots. The word “unnecessary” comes to mind repeatedly in this movie, as Snow White’s story is once again rehashed to the point that it has barely any of its charm left. And strangely, there’s a lot of charm onscreen; Julia Roberts’ pearly whites, the friendly face of Nathan Lane, the doe-eyed beauty of Lilly Collins, the suave good looks of Armie Hammer, or the irrepressible nature of the seven dwarves. And yet, I’d have much rather seen a whole movie done in the prologue’s animated fashion; although it’s dryly and unsuccessfully voiced-over by Roberts’ “Queen.”
What ultimately undercuts “Mirror Mirror” is its unevenness. It is alternately endearing and boring, fun and dark, watchable and lame. This uneven tone dominates most of the first act, although the next two suffer a bit from it, still. As most of the actors did pretty well with what they were handed (although Roberts had the toughest time), this issue probably falls evenly upon the shoulders of the director, as well as the writers. In updating this tale, much of the magic has been sucked out. In its place is a predictable blend of making Snow White into a more modern action heroine (complete with fencing and fighting skills, and bit of mean streak toward her stepmother), and Prince Charming into more of a lovable dope, unable to defend himself from attack, or suss the Queen’s true motives. Much of comedy centered on him comes from Hammer’s Prince missing most of the point; whether it’s how his shirtless visage affects the ladies around him, or whether or not he can break down a door rather than ask for a key. It’s like the King of Queens (or almost any other sitcom) writ large; the woman is a powerhouse and the guy is lucky to have found her.
And although Lily Collins is the daughter of musician Phil Collins, did they have to make her sing that gadawful song at the end? Bollywood style endings are iffy, at best anyway; I think you can only do them when you’re sure the audience is “with” and “for” the movie and its characters. It worked like a charm at the end of “Slumdog Millionaire;” but here, it’s as if they are houseguests overstaying their welcome. But the inappropriateness of the song itself also killed it, as surely as the lack of direction or point did for the rest of the film.
Overall Score for “Mirror Mirror” from Rich Bonaduce: C-
“Mirror Mirror” is rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor
Directed by:Tarsem Singh