Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. It is so sickly sweet that it seems to forget to focus on developing a decent plot or a narrative that functions properly. Although the cinematography and general look to the film is quite enchanting at times, it ultimately cannot make up for the poison apple that is the script.
The story is based upon the Brothers Grimn folk tale that has been most famously adapted onto film by Walt Disney in 1937. The film’s biggest selling point is supposedly Julia Robert’s performance as the wicked queen whom although does play the role successfully, the screenplay allows little opportunity for Roberts to really explore the character which certainly had true comic potential. This for me is one of the biggest flaws in the film; Mirror Mirror is a comedy without the comedy. A few one-liners were received with mild amusement by the audience when watching it, but it wasn’t the hilarious adventure with the bad-ass Roberts we were promised. The other leading actress Lily Collins (daughter of Phil Collins) as the title character is uninspiring and flat, especially during scenes with co-star Roberts. Maybe this is a harsh judgement on an actress who hasn’t had the long career to develop, however I couldn’t shake the feeling that there would have been someone more suited to the role.
One aspect to the filmmaking that should be celebrated is the cinematography and set design. Cinematographer Brendan Galvin has done a superb job bringing the forest to life. If it wasn’t for everything else, then a trip to see Mirror Mirror would be as enchanting as they intended it to be. The stunning visuals save this film from a one star review that it would otherwise deserve.
Director Tarsem Singh seems to have no direction for the film. For a comedy, it isn’t funny. For family entertainment, it isn’t entertaining. The Bollywood dance number during the closing credits topped the whole film off for me; a car crash of different styles that is held together by a narrative that should have come naturally. One example is when Snow White, Prince Alcott and the Dwarfs are trapped inside a house where they try bashing the door down. Solution: ‘Guys, we have a spare key’. Disbelief suspended. Somehow the same situation happens again. Solution: ‘Guys, we have another spare key’. Laughable.
Mirror Mirror will fade into the background and when Julia Roberts is asked ‘Will you be making a return to make more children’s films after Mirror Mirror?’ she will deny its existence. At least we have another Snow White film this year to look forward to in the form of Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), where I hopefully won’t be as underwhelmed. Easter holidays fodder.
Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White (2012), directed by Tarsem Singh is distributed in the UK by Momentum Pictures, Certificate PG.