Mirror Mirror is the first of two 2012 films based on Snow White by The Brothers Grimm (the other being Snow White And The Huntsman). Both films bought something new to the table as we saw the tale told in different set pieces that could have supported each one by overpowering the other. As opposed to Rupert Sanders feature but like the original 1937 animated classic, Mirror Mirror had a much more colourful and child-friendly approach and with a few interesting additions within the cast. Unfortunately, Mirror Mirror went totally out of proportion and, thus, turned into an incredibly corny, unrealistic and chaotic mess.
It is important to note that most feature films based on a book, play or any other source have their own one or two minor adjustments, whether it is plot, characters or even style of filming. In the case of Mirror Mirror, it is particularly the dialogue and sense of atmosphere within the film that is completely altered. For example, it totally stepped away from the Grimm world and felt like a new instalment in The Chronicles Of Narnia franchise. Furthermore, the plot, the corny humour and the majority of the production design bought back bad memories of last year’s Your Highness. Therefore, in that sense, as you’re watching Mirror Mirror, you don’t know whether it is genuinely ripping off the tale or is simply adding its own adjustments. Still, some films work in either of those ways but it went totally wrong for Mirror Mirror.
With Mirror Mirror and Snow White And The Huntsman both as films that are related but illustrate different perspectives of the Brothers Grimm’s tale, the character of Snow White is expressed in another way by Lily Collins. Of course, Collins has the beauty of a traditional Disney Princess, which regarding this, helped her fit into the character. However, her performance was nothing short of bland. There was not any threatening animosity between Snow White and the Evil Queen and definitely no romantic or emotional bond between her and the Prince. In the role of the Prince, you could name a large number of actors who could fit into the role in almost every sense; looks, charm, age and sophistication. In the end, it was Armie Hammer (The Social Network, J. Edgar) who was cast as said Prince. Hammer, who can be a solid actor when selecting the right films, totally went out of proportion in Mirror Mirror. He seriously lacked roughly everything that the character required and at times, became an idiotic laughing stock under the influence of the Queen. Plus, what is with the love triangle relationship between the Queen, Snow White and The Prince?! It’s meant to be a re-telling of a classic story, not a soppy teen-comedy!
Now, Julia Roberts taking on the role as the Evil Queen was initially an interesting idea as we could have been in for a different Roberts on the screen. However, due to appearing in various romantic comedies and having still got that innocent look about her despite currently 45 years old, it was very unusual. Unfortunately, it became a rather daft decision to cast Roberts as the Evil Queen. Admittedly, she may have been dazzling eye-candy in the costume for a woman in her 40s, but she was simply too sweet looking and was nowhere near as evil or scheming as Charlize Theron in Snow White And The Huntsman. None of the actors were superb in Mirror Mirror but Nathan Lane was worthy enough as Brighton who added certain comedy traits from his career into this film. Finally, Sean Bean made a cameo appearance in a role simply known as the King.
Mirror Mirror may have had a much clearer and colourful Disney-esque tone to it and could have been on the same superior and fresh scale as Enchanted back in 2007. Unfortunately, director Tarsem Singh goes from re-telling a beautiful fairy tale into a film that, quite frankly, turned into a parody; not only of the story, but perhaps to Disney as well. Mirror Mirror is just a total chaos as certain set pieces are awkwardly joined together that simply did not mix, expressed laziness to the project and just kills the charm and cuteness of the film. If you either love the 1937 Disney classic or are an admirer of the play and are expecting Mirror Mirror to stick to its original sources, then you will be greatly disappointed.