by Helen Earnshaw |
Starring: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer
Director: Tarsem Singh
There seem to only be a certain amount of stories in Hollywood, and those of the Brothers Grimm have a way of finding themselves on to screen time after time. So this year we find not one, but two Snow White films coming to cinemas.
But while Snow White and The Huntsman may be the blockbuster, Mirror Mirror has beaten it to the multiplexes. Sporting a more family friendly vibe, can it set down an impressive marker?
For those three people unfamiliar with the fairy tale, Mirror Mirror brings us to a kingdom wrongfully ruled over by an evil queen (Julia Roberts), consumed by vanity and determined to keep her beautiful step-daughter Snow White (Lily Collins) from ever reaching the throne.
However, when Snow’s good looks steal the heart of a visiting prince (Armie Hammer), the queen orders her death, leaving a frightened Snow to team up with seven diminutive characters to claim what’s rightfully hers.
From the off it’s clear that Mirror Mirror is a children’s film. It never even begins at pretensions of seriousness, with cheesy sound effects, slapstick comedy and bizarrely childish dialogue making it clear that this is one for the kids.
Here it succeeds nicely. A nice snappy of pace, a good amount of laughs along the way and some neat visual tricks are easily enough to stop Mirror Mirror becoming boring for either young or old viewers.
The dwarves are without doubt the highlight of the film. Now outlaws instead of miners, they are consistently the most fun on screen, both providing the film’s best guffaws and it’s most likeable characters.
Unfortunately this cannot be said for their taller counterparts. While Lily Collin’s Snow White is a spirited enough leading lady with enough moxy to carry the film, the queen and prince don’t hold up their end of the bargain. One note and always a little too pantomime for their own good, they never work quite right.
While director Tarsem Singh’s striking colour palette and sporadic spots of flair make for an occasionally gorgeous film, Mirror Mirror is rather bland on the eye. The lack of visual craziness really is a disappointment, considering Singh’s bizarre style is easily his strongest asset as a director.
This radiates though the entire production, with Mirror Mirror feeling more like a television special than a big budget studio film. While Mirror Mirror will prove entertaining to its key audience, it doesn’t leave a whole lot more for anyone old enough to do long division.
While never falling into dull, a lot of Mirror Mirror’s gags will fall flat to the more seasoned film goer.
Mirror Mirror can’t claim to be the fairest of them all, but that doesn’t stop it being an enjoyable bit of family froth.
Mirror Mirror is out now.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith