Hollywood is now investing a lot of time and money into fairytales of old, as with today’s CGI anything goes. You wait ages for a Snow White films and two turn up, the same can also be said of waiting for a Tarsem Singh film, as we hadn’t had anything since 2006’s The Fall, and now we’ve had Immortals and Mirror Mirror within a few months of one another. One does not normally associate a Tarsem Singh film with comedy, but this is what has he has delivered with Mirror Mirror, which is unusual considering his inability to connect with the audience with his previous films.
Tarsem Singh is a cinematic visionary who tends to focus more on imagery, costumes and style than with plots, and again has delivered something very similar with Mirror Mirror. Personally I enjoy watching Singh’s films and marvel at the beauty and striking canvas he envisages like a true artist (it is definitely style over substance), along with the creator of his incredible costumes, Eiko Ishioka, who unfortunately passed away this year.
Everyone knows the Story of Snow White, Grimm’s fairytale immortalised by Walt Disney. The plot remains familiar, Snow White the beautiful princess (Lily Collins – daughter of Phil), the handsome Prince (Armie Hammer) and the evil queen, played to the campest degree by Julia Roberts. Of course there’s also the seven Dwarves, played by real little people (who are more akin to The Time Bandits than Dopey, Grumpy et al), as opposed to Snow White and The Huntsman which used CGI.
The film itself is one of the most lavish films you are likely to see, and will be visual feast on Blu-ray, but is it any good? The film was not greatly received by critics, but I suggest you just let yourself go, let your inner child out and just go with it, and you may just surprise yourself! The film does often rely on some very cheap gags, some of which work and some of which don’t. Nathan Lane plays Nathan Lane, camping up every scene, but he comes nowhere close to Julia Roberts, who does now appear to be one of today’s greatest and most versatile actresses, as she steals every scene, camping and hamming them up either with her costumes, quips or a roll of the eyes. Even poor Snow White seems underdressed in comparison and has to wear a dress similar to the swan concoction Bjork wore to The Oscars!
Most scenes take place in either the wonderful setting of the Castle, or in the Snow laden forest. They often play out like set pieces, but I suggest you indulge yourself in the beauty rather than tear the film apart. Julia Roberts has delivered us one of the campest Villains since Alan Rickman cancelled Christmas in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. The best scene is her beauty regime, which includes everything from wasp stings to scorpions to bird droppings.
The end scene is very reminiscent of Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire, as with a happy ending people naturally want to sing and dance!
Overall Verdict: The film is not a classic by any means – anyone could have played Snow White – but the movie truly belongs to Julia Roberts who excels as The Evil Queen. Just enjoy the show, which is perfect for children under 12.
Reviewer: Stephen Sclater