Fairy tales; we’ve been watching them, listening to them, and even repeating them over and over again ever since we were little. And then Hollywood goes ahead and makes all new versions of them just so we can shell out more money to go and see a movie which is exactly the same story we already know with the occasional twist in it. But are all reimaginings bad, or does a few bad apple spoil the bunch?
Mirror Mirror on the wall, which is the most insipid fairytale film of them all? Well, actually, I think that very special honor goes to A Cinderella Story. But that doesn’t mean this one doesn’t come close.
This week on Manic Movie Magic, let’s take a look at Mirror Mirror.
So, let’s get the plot out of the way cause there is way more that needs to be talked about. First, the plot is the average role-reversal story of Snow White: she gets sent out to into the woods to die, she escapes, finds some dwarves, learns to fight, saves the prince and gets her own happily ever after. Honestly, it brings nothing new to the table or to the story, so it’s a cliché story, which will have you guessing each and every turn as it comes.
But the plot is by far the mildest offense made by this movie. Two words sum up 90% of what’s wrong with this film: Roberts and Tarsem.
More so than Snow White’s movie, this is Julia Robert’s movie. No, not the evil queen’s film – Julia Robert’s. And whatever charm and wit, and likability she may have had in the 1980s and 1990s is long gone now. I dreaded her parts like the freaking plague. She was overly obnoxious and non-threatening; there’s a very very big difference between parody and cartoony. There’s one interesting twist, in that the mirror is just a reflection of the magic within the queen in an alternate dimension. It adds a psychological layer of conceitedness to the character, but also an interesting note about how magic works in this world…which I wish they did more of. Would have been better than Julia’s Robert’s acting.
Tarsem Singh. My God what do I say about this man. The film The Fall was a beautiful, and emotional masterpiece. His movie The Cell was a piece of shit. I have yet to see Immortals but I’m guessing it’s exactly like this film: all style, no substance. And that’s a real shame, cause his style is just so beautiful! He can’t direct his way out of a paper bag with a map and a flashlight but can the man turn a film into a working, moving piece of art. He should be in a whole different career – he would be so much more successful. But if it’s film he loves, not much we can do even if we get terrible but pretty movies.
The prince is bland, and a sexist pig who “learns his ways” but I still hate him. He actually spends like five minutes in the film smacking her ass with a sword. God, it enrages the inner-feminist I never knew I had. Seriously, they botched his character like no other but I just completely blocked him out like I couldn’t with Julia Roberts. But our Snow White, Lily Collins, is actually…okay. She not terribly bland, and even has good moments of balancing the weird masculine they tried to make her, and the feminine they desperately tried to cling to. I will say she fits the role almost perfectly. I’m not this is the major blockbuster role she was hoping for but it could have been a whole lot worse…kind of.
My favorite characters were the dwarves who were actually different from the Disney ones, which is awesome and creative. They put so much attention in each of their personalities and stories, that even though they get the least amount of screen time, they really made them special. Now if only they were the focus of the movie.
But if there is one thing is movie does better than anything else, in a lot better than a lot of movies is cinematography and design. Like I said, Tarsem would make a killing, both monetarily and at the Oscars, if he spent his career as an art director. The sets are detailed, but simple enough to stay classy. The colors pop and glow in a way that really makes this film feels whimsical
Overall, Mirror Mirror is an kinda-bad movie that looks amazing. It’s certainly not the worst retelling of a fairytale, but it’s nowhere near the top of any list. I don’t really recommend going out to see if, but if there’s nothing else on the TV in ten months except this, or if you’re on a twelve-hour flight, it won’t kill you.
Next week, I’m going to review Cabin in the Woods. And you can bet there’ll be spoilers galore. Let’s hope Joss Whedon lives up to the hype!