Who’s the fairest of the two Snow White movies that nobody asked for?
An evil queen (Julia Roberts) steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess (Lily Collins) enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.
So here we go with the first of TWO Snow White films for the year of 2012 and I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but I hope Kristen Stewart can do a better job as Snow White.
One of the strangest things about this film is that it’s directed by visual artist Tarsem Singh, who has done flicks like The Cell and Immortals. Those films, much like this one, are all about the visuals rather than the actual story itself but it’s not always a bad thing either. Singh brings a very colorful flair to it all with vibrant set pieces and costumes that makes you feel as if you are watching a children’s book being brought to life. Visually, this film is a treat even though it does feel like I’ve seen this done before but it’s still Singh and he can’t really do much wrong when it comes to making things look pretty though.
The one department that he is obviously trying really hard to work on is his writing, and I think this is a clear example as to why. The story isn’t really a loose re-telling of the usual Snow White tale we all know and love but it still offers a lot of cheeky/campy jokes to give the audience plenty of winks. The film does have its witty moments where it made me chuckle at times and I can definitely say that it’s a step-up for Singh considering all of his other movies consist of little or no happy emotions.
Problem that I with this comedy is that it tries way too hard to go for this campy feel that it just ends up being annoying. All of the anachronistic jokes placed within a fairy tale story is a device that has pretty much beaten to death for the past decade ever since Shrek came out. Don’t get me wrong, I love Shrek but there is only so much winking you can do towards the audience when you’re telling a story like this until it seems like you have nothing else to really rely on. There was also something off about plenty of this comedy as well because I don’t really think that Singh understand comedic timing let alone put it in a film where it’s story depends on it to be different. A lot of the jokes just felt strange and whenever they missed the mark, they really missed it and it was pretty noticeable. There was also a very strange George of the Jungle joke that I don’t know if I was the only one to catch but it was just another case and reason as to why this film was trying too hard.
I think the rest of this problem also has to do with the cast and that some had good comedic timing, while others just couldn’t seem to get it right at all. Julia Roberts was the prime example here as the Queen. Roberts is obviously taking a lot of joy in a role where she gets to play an evil and powerful bitch but a lot of the jokes that she makes, either falls flat or come off as if it was some high-class chick who doesn’t really do comedy but is trying her hardest at it for once in her career. Roberts also wasn’t as evil as the Queen and I couldn’t help myself think that she was more likable than she was unlikable, but I guess that just goes to show you the kind of charm Julia Roberts has.
Even though she wasn’t given much comedy to work with here, Lily Collins also comes off pretty flat too. Collins obviously hasn’t had much experience so I guess I should take it a little bit easy on her but she’s so damn bland, so damn boring, and so damn generic here as Snow White that it almost feels like this role could have been played by anybody else in the wholest widest world and it wouldn’t have even matter, which is something I shouldn’t feel with such a character like Snow White. She should be likable, cute, witty, smart, and full of charisma, which are all things that Collins does not have except for huge eye brows. I’m sorry to point it out but I honestly could not believe that those things were real!
The cast that did get the comedy right actually were the best parts of this flick in the end. Armie Hammer went all out for his role here as Prince Alcott and it shows because this guy really did have me laughing. I like how Hammer was able to mess around and poke some fun jokes at his All-American boy look he has sported on so well and it brings out plenty of laughs considering you don’t see an actor that is so young and good-looking as him going to the same depths just for a laugh. Hopefully Hammer continues with his comedic side but also not forget about his dramatic side either because it’s very obvious that he can handle both pretty well. Nathan Lane is also great with his comedy here as Brighton, but then again, when isn’t this guy funny?!? Lane is such a professional that it didn’t seem hard for him at all to bring out a laugh here and I just wish that he chose a better movie to be apart of. This is also one of the rare movies where they actually give dwarves something to do that isn’t just being on the end of every “short” joke known to man. Hopefully this gives Hollywood the idea that maybe they should start giving dwarves better in roles because you never know if they could be any better than any other regular sized, A-list name. You never know!
Consensus: Filled with some campy laughs and nice-looking set pieces, Mirror Mirror will obviously entertain most kids and adults who go out to see this, but it also tries way too hard for its comedy and results in a very strange and bland attempt at trying to wink at the audience while telling a legendary story at the same time.