Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mirror Mirror (2012) - Movie Review

I've said in the past that I like Tarsem Singh. I think he has a very cool visual style. However, after the disappointment that was Immortals and his own public admission that a story wasn't as important to him as the visuals were, I was kind of nervous about seeing Mirror Mirror.  The first trailer didn't help things, which looked cheesy as hell, like it was some bad Disney movie brought to life.

Fortunately, Mirror Mirror isn't as bad as those initial trailers looked.  In fact, some of the jokes from that trailer were absent from the film.  Perhaps they heard the grumbles from the audience and removed some of those elements.  It was a good decision if that was the case.

Anyone vaguely familiar with the story of Snow White already knows the basics.  There's nothing ground breaking here, so I'm not even going to recap the story or get into it.  It's simply yet another interpretation of the story of Snow White.  Hell, we're getting another one this summer with Snow White and the Huntsman.  The huge problem with that upcoming flick is that they cast Kristen Stewart as Snow White, so you can expect a lot of weird stuttering, excessive eye blinking and head shaking from that.  I'll take Lily Collins as Snow White to go, please!

One comment I heard about Mirror Mirror that was kind of funny to me was that this didn't do anything new with the story.  What exactly can they do with it that's new at this point?  Change the outcome?  Kill Snow White at the end?  Trust me, if they had changed the story too much, the very same people would complain about how they deviated too much from the well established story.  It's a dumb criticism to me.

The movie, especially Lily Collins as Snow White, is gorgeous.  It's weird because before this movie, I really had never taken notice of Collins before.  It's similar to how I viewed Amy Adams before she played a Disney princess in Enchanted.  I never really noticed her before either.  Now Collins has effectively played Snow White, I'm totally into her.  Maybe I just have a Disney or princess fetish.

I'm getting way off topic.  The movie is gorgeous though.  Nearly every shot in the film has something vibrant or vivid to look at.  That's Tarsem Singh for you.  Even his movies that haven't been received well still look great.  At least he delivers on that aspect.

I think what would have made Mirror Mirror really stand out would have been a stronger script.  Once again we have a first time writer Melissa Wallack and co-writer Jason Keller (Machine Gun Preacher) involved in the screenplay.  Again, I think a more experienced writing team or a good punch up writer would have really helped.

While the look of the movie makes this feel like it's more of an adult tale, much of the humor seems to be directed at kids.  I did hear pretty much everyone of all ages laughing at the film though.  Even I laughed a few times, so take that for what it's worth.  There's still some really lame, childish jokes though and they make Armie Hammer do some things I felt were beneath him.  I still really like him as an actor though, and that he's getting more work.  He's moving towards leading man status, and I could see him playing a superhero if he'd start hitting the weights.

I've gone on about Lily Collins enough, but I really did like her here.  I thought she played the part really well and they did a good job with making Snow White a stronger character.  It seemed believable that Armie Hammer's Prince could fall for her so quickly.  I also really liked Julia Roberts.  She's such an effective bitch here and it seems like she was having a lot of fun with the role.  Nathan Lane also did a good job.  I felt the movie was best when it focused on the interaction between Snow White and the Dwarves.  They did a good job in a short time showing why they liked each other.

There's also a very nice cameo at the end that most of you will get a kick out of.  That's about all I can say about it.  Don't want to spoil it for you.  Wouldn't be prudent.  However, during the end credits there was a very overproduced Bollywood number that I felt was totally out of place.  I could have done without it.

Mirror Mirror overall is a cute movie.  It's visually stunning and actually has pretty good acting across the board.  The crowd I saw it with was pretty mixed and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  I even heard a smattering of applause as it ended.  I do feel like this is still more of a kids film, with a sprinkle of adult themes.  It is the type of movie you can take your kids to see and you'll probably end up feeling like you didn't waste your time with it.  I think this will really appeal to a young audience and they will identify with this incarnation of Snow White.

2.5 (out of 5) Death Stars


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