Opening today at nearly every multiplex in Raleigh and the Triangle area:
“Mirror Mirror” (Dir. Tarsem Singh, 2012)
After a gorgeous animated opening, this new fangled take on Snow White goes downhill faster than a wheelbarrow full of bricks.
I was won over by director Singh’s 2006 fantasy film “The Fall,” but he lost me with the grueling action epic “Immortals” (2011). Now Singh takes aim at the fairy tale rom com genre, and misfires miserably.
The first and biggest mistake was the huge commercial concession of casting Julia Roberts in the role of the evil Queen. Roberts is unbearably smug and she never truly embodies the part; she never even comes close to nibbling on the scenery.
Mellissa Wallack and Jason Keller’s sitcom-ish screenplay doesn’t help Roberts out either. Every one of her one-liners falls flat – take for instance her lame wise-crack that Snow White’s parents named her that “probably because that was the most pretentious name they could think of.” And that’s one of the better lines.
The twist on the premise is that the classic story is told from the Queen’s point of view, but they really don’t follow through with that as much of the movie concentrates on Snow White (Lily Collins) befriending 7 dwarves (lots of little people humor here, none of which will make anyone forget “Time Bandits”), and falling in love with a visiting Prince (Arnie Hammer)
There’s still a fair amount of Singh’s visual mastery, including swooping shots of the cliff-side castle and the striking landscape surrounding it, but the screen is mostly filled with synthetic looking sets as background to the hammy cringe-inducing acting of the cast.
Nathan Lane and Michael Lerner play the Queen’s sniveling stooges and, yep, they’re just as clunky as everything else her – though Lane has a few moments that almost amuse.
The first of 2 Snow White movies coming out this year (the darker “Snow White and the Hunstman” comes out in June), the slick unfunny “Mirror Mirror” is a painful pap through and through. A scene involving Roberts’ beauty regimen that involves bird feces being applied to her face is probably the most painful part, but a scenario in which a spell is put on Hammer which makes him act like a dog is up there.
I was so happy when it was over, especially as the end credits contains a tacky dance number set to a re-working of a Nina Hart song (“Love”) featuring a vocoded vocal by Snow White star Lily Collins (she’s Phil Collins daughter, you see).
At least the movie was consistent in one respect – it kept me cringing right up until the very end.
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