‘Mirror Mirror’ Offers Fresh But Uneven Take on Snow White

We’re in the midst of a Snow White revival. With a variety of takes on the character in television (Once Upon a Time) and film (Snow White and the Huntsman), Snow White is quickly becoming associated with more than the Disney classic of our collective childhoods.

Tarsem Singh offers his own take on the fairy tale with Mirror Mirror. In keeping with his previous films, including The Cell and Immortals, Mirror Mirror is a visually lavish film. Unfortunately, the film’s story fails to find consistency.

Admittedly, there are some good ideas in play. In an effort to appeal to a wider audience, the humor of the film is targeted at children and adults alike. While not completely modern, the film does put a modern spin on some of the dialogue. And in a positive form of “girl power,” Snow White is the undoubted heroine of the film, proving more than capable of holding her own against any enemies.

It’s unfortunate, then, that the tone never completely gels. At points, the film takes on a Shrek-like approach to fairy tales, while in other places it hews closely to a fairy tale formula.

Fortunately, the film has a cast that’s able to largely sell the film. Julia Roberts gets the juiciest character in the Queen, and she uses her signature laugh and natural gift for comedy to great effect with killer comic timing and just the right touch of bitchiness. Relative newcomer Lily Collins plays Snow White, and in her hands, the character is a breath of fresh air. Collins gives off just the right amount of self-assurance and confidence, with a dash of vulnerability. Armie Hammer, meanwhile, could sell his character on his good looks alone (and the film does play up his sexiness early and often), but Hammer exudes an undeniable charm as well.

The audiovisual elements also help sell the film. The costumes alone, created by the late Japanese designer Eiko Ishioka, are exquisite in their details. They’re matched by a bright, vivid color palette that seeps through the entire movie, namely in the castle-set scenes. Meanwhile, the score from Disney veteran Alan Menken keeps things light and cheery for much of the film.

In short, while it’s not necessarily the best take on Snow White viewers could see, Mirror Mirror is enjoyable enough to merit screening for children and adults alike.

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