Cast: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer
Dodge College of Film, 2008
"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity." -Charles Mingus
Review By: Nick Becker
Mirror, Mirror is a re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale and was released on blu-ray June 26th. It’s directed by Tarsem Singh and stars Julie Roberts, Lilie Collins and Armie Hammer.
The story borrows little more than the most recognizable table settings from the Roger and Hammerstein original. Recognizable themes of age, beauty and of course the conquest of true love are there but it’s a bit of an injustice to these actors who’ve already proven their merit are under served by cheap jokes and such flat script. Montages abound, ropes whirr, knives schwing from the scabbard. In an effort to modernize the story, the characters speak in a strange vernacular, dropping “legit” bombs and swearing with their pinkies.
Nathan Lane in a send-up to Jason Alexander in the 1997 film Cinderella, plays the Queen’s manservant with his eyes closed. And this is unfortunate, and common among the other performances that are riddled with fairy-tale tropes. Robert’s was obviously miscast. Collins, sheepishly puts her best into a very shallow character, and Hammer barks his way through–under a “puppy love” spell, no less–half of the film. Undoubtedly handsome, his teeth actually twinkle when Snow White’s name is mentioned. Performances are neutered and suffer from hyper-short scenes. Those that are more developed have an obvious outcome, be it a kiss, a proposal, or a one-liner. The exception here are the seven dwarves, who are total archetypes and suffer and share the most obvious jokes, but still get the chance and the screen time to create an interesting dynamic.
Where this film really counts is in its visuals. Those who remember the film The Cell with Jennifer Lopez will see that Director Singh retains his carefully crafted style. Unlike the story, his obsession with backdrops, scenery and architecture is inspired, never stuffy. The style is marked by champagne – white highlights and hints of red, especially evident during the Edwardian-era styled costumed ball. During a wedding reception, the costumes pop against a rather simple courtyard covered in bright white snow, harkening back to 60’s psychedelia and sort of relates the inner-boredom of these characters. In the dwarves cottage, warm yellow light gets picked up by the oak furnishings. The blue tint in the forest, followed by flashes of white and stark blacks in the shadows demonstrates no loss of noise on this blu-ray release. There are no obvious effects of the compression.
The craftsmanship is in the details here, though it doesn’t contribute much to the story. The familiar backstory of the King is played out by puppets that look like they were cut by the hands of a woodworker. The brilliance of the castle and pastoral countryside contrasts the thatched hut where the Queen’s mirror is stored. And when Snow White touches a servant’s bell in the hallway, you can almost feel the rust against your own finger. Unfortunately, this
So if you give the tired subject matter a break, and get past the blush-inducing storyline, this is definitely a release to own, if only to show your friends why blu-ray is so superior. The blu-ray contains a few deleted scenes and two featurettes. Kids will enjoy the Mirror Mirror interactive Storybook, and the Prince and Puppies is the most guaranteed laugh on the entire disc. At the end of the day, the production value really deserves to be seen at home no other way.