The Brothers Grimm fairytale Snow White has been done a dozen different ways. None — though — quite so unique as Mirror Mirror.
While I will recommend you see it, I am not saying Mirror Mirror is a great movie or that it’s a film you’ll want to haul your small children off to see.
Mirror Mirror is uneven. Sometimes, it’s uneventful. At times, the plot slows to something close to stopped. And the dorky pop music video at the end sung by actress Lily Collins is not only unnecessary, but it’s also atrocious.
Flaws, flaws, flaws everywhere.
To totally contradict what I just wrote, Mirror Mirror is also entertaining; especially in the first act. Chalk that one up to Julia Roberts, who has an absolute blast as the Snow White’s nemesis, the wicked queen. This is the most fun Roberts has been since she won the Oscar — and a bunch of other awards — for Erin Brockovich in 2000.
If only the rest of the cast had as much fun. Not that Collins — who does Snow White — or Armie Hammer (The Social Network), Nathan Lane and the seven exceptional dwarves don’t try. Their lines just aren’t that well-written. Maybe Roberts’ lines aren’t that well done either. If they aren’t, she certainly manages to make fun out of what little she has.
Screen story writer Melisa Wallack, screenwriters Jason Keller and Marc Klein, and director Tarsem Singh throw some nice twists into an update of the fabled fable. The Brothers Grimm never did name the seven dwarves in their 1812 tale. A century later, a stage play had them as Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick and Quee.
We have all memorized the names of Walt Disney’s dwarves, though not too many of us can name more than a couple of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices. But that’s a conversation for another day.
In Singh’s film, the dwarves get new names: Napoleon, Half Pint, Grub, Grimm, Wolf, Butcher and Chuckles and -- along with Roberts, Chuckles and crew -- get their fair share of chuckles.
Again — if only everyone else had as much fun.
We also can’t leave the review without mentioning a bit about Singh.
Singh’s film has some stunning effects and sets. But that’s his trademark. Singh did one of my all-time favorite movies, The Fall. Spectacular doesn’t come close to describing that film’s effects. The Fall may be the most beautiful movie I’ve ever seen. We can argue that some other time.
While his work in Mirror Mirror doesn’t approach that skill level, Singh’s film and the effects are exceptional. His sets are terrific. The scenes from the wicked queen’s throne room feature a beautiful background of clouds. A couple of the castle flybys are gorgeous. If only more attention was paid more the movie — especially from mid-second act to the climax.
Roberts does not utter all of the story’s most famous lines. She starts with the phrase, “Mirror, mirror” and is transported to a cottage on a lake and then holds the famous conversations with her own reflection. We — however — can finish the line for her and add a twist.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose Snow White is the fairest of them all?” It’s still Disney’s 1937 version. Ask the famed mirror the same question, substitute “most fun” for “fairest,” and you get a different answer.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language. It is playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.