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Film Review : Mirror Mirror

03/30/2012 05:58PM ● By Justin Buettner

Mirror Mirror is the first of several new films that adapt the Snow White fairytale coming to theaters this year. This movie follows the main story that most of us know, as a vain and evil woman marries a king. When the king passes away she relegates her new stepdaughter, Snow White, to servitude until her magic mirror reveals that Snow White will become more “fair” then she. The Queen then sends a servant to kill Snow White in the woods. The servant of course cannot carry out this action and the seven dwarfs take Snow White in. The evil Queen discovers that Snow White lives and uses magic to try and finish the job, but a good prince saves the day.

The new adaption attempts to throw a few wrinkles in the story, but overall don’t expect many surprises. The only thing surprising about Mirror Mirror is how awful it is. Few movies pack as many cringe inducing moments into one film. The movie had a fairly large budget and big name stars, so how on Earth did it go so wrong?

Every character in the movie comes across as completely unlikable including Snow White. Snow White passively sits by and watches the Queen abuse the throne, destroy the kingdom, and treat everyone around her badly. In short she has no backbone to speak of. This is really no different than the original story but what this script does to the other characters in the story is deplorable. The dwarfs in this films are thieves. Not the robin hood variety either. These dwarfs are not the kindly bunch that made the Disney Snow White so popular, not by a long shot. Then the prince comes across as a buffoon, a jerk, and an idiot. There is not a single likable trait about this guy. There is nobody I really care to see win. Not even any of the supporting characters are sympathetic, including the rare shots of the downtrodden towns people that again do nothing while they’re walked upon.

Julie Roberts leads a semi strong cast so one would assume at least the performances were good, right? Wrong. Julie Roberts is terrible in the part of the Queen. Altogether she is the least intimidating evil Queen ever to be seen on screen. Julie Roberts if anything made the Evil Queen less evil by just the presence of her winning smile. She is horribly miscast in this role. The other actors didn’t add anything to their parts as well. Nathan Lane over acted his way through yet another part and Armie Hammer injected zero charm into his role of the prince.

The bulk of this trainwreck has to be at the feet of the film’s director Tarsem Singh, who absolutely failed to set and execute the tone of the movie. You could feel Mirror Mirror desperately wanted to be the new Princess Bride. The Princess Bride is remembered as a classic because few movies packs so much charm and likability. The characters are interesting, fun and memorable. Mirror Mirror has none of those qualities. Every joke falls flat and every tongue and cheek moment it tries to inject had my eyes rolling. Tarsem Singh does go for a visual flair, and it worked okay for him in his previous film the Immortals, but Mirror Mirror visually just looked bad. The effects shots looked out of place. The mirror effects were particularly bad. More over the filmmakers add cartoon sound effects and laughably bad corny effects  like shimmers off the teeth of a characters smiling. All these ploys were more distracting than entertaining. The worst of which is having the prince act like a dog, complete with dog sounds, which was played for laughs but comes across as so stupid you will be embarrassed for the actors to have to perform something so utterly ridiculous.

The minor twists and wrinkles in the story had my head shaking. For instance having Snow White learn combat and sword fighting techniques from the seven dwarfs in what seemed like a day in an uninteresting montage added next to nothing to story. It seemed to exist as an excuse to create an absurdly slow and boring sword fight between Snow White and the Prince in the next scene. In fact this scene added to the failed chemistry and love story between Snow White and the Prince. Nothing happens between these two characters that makes their love for each other seem remotely plausible.

There was very little I liked in the movie. The introduction scene in Mirror Mirror may have been the only part of the film that didn’t play like nails on a chalkboard. The animation was interesting and the set up hinted at perhaps a role reversal story, Snow White told from the Queen’s perspective. That would have been a movie that could have potential. It was not to be however. This is a movie I don’t see pleasing many people. It has been billed as a family safe movie, but I think small children will die from boredom much like their parents as not much happens in the movie. There are a few sword fights, but the action is less than thrilling to watch. If you are a fan of the fairytale of Snow White save your money for the next film Snow White and the Huntsman coming out in two short months. Mirror Mirror is already assured a spot on my worst films of the year list.

Films like Mirror Mirror : Hoodwinked, Alice in Wonderland, and Hook

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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