Mirror Mirror Review

poster from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

Up until it was actually time to go to the theater, debate raged in my brain. Do I see Mirror Mirror or Wrath of the Titans? Do I want to be happy or tense? Comedy or action? Comedy won out this week, but all that means is that Wrath of the Titans will have to wait an extra week, because I’m sure as hell not reviewing the 3D re-release of Titanic next week. Anyway, I digress. Mirror Mirror is a Snow White adaptation:

After her evil stepmother steals her prince and her throne and tries to kill her, a shut-in princess joins a band of thieving dwarves who help her fight back.

In previous versions of Snow White, the princess is a pretty moron who gets fooled and almost killed by the evil queen not once, not twice, but FOUR TIMES before she is eventually rescued by a prince who marries her for her body. Obviously this kind of thing wouldn’t go over well today, so Tarsem Signh’s version is much more fun – full of girl power, snappy dialogue, and a Bollywood dance number.

The story starts out in the usual way. There’s a King (Sean Bean) he’s got a dead wife and a daughter whose face is white as snow, lips are red as blood, blah blah blah, he’s too dumb to notice he’s marrying someone evil (Julia Roberts) and promptly disappears without a trace. This part is all told in a neat little animation sequence featuring porcelain dolls which was done by the same guy (Ben Hibon) who did the Tale of Three Brothers sequence in Deathly Hallows. Fast forward ten years and the evil queen’s not even pretending to be nice anymore.

Evil Queen and Snow White from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

Are those your eyebrows, or two huge black caterpillars crawling across your face?

The queen keeps Snow White (Lily Collins), alive for no reason, but traps her in the castle so she can’t see that her stepmom is draining the townsfolk dry with taxes, ostensibly to protect them from the mysterious beast that may or may not be living in the forest, but actually to pay for her huge elaborate parties and Bollywood dance numbers.

Bollywood dance number from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

Actually, the dance number doesn’t happen until the end.

On the advice of Baker Margaret (Mare Winningham), who is sort of a mother figure to her, Snow White escapes to see the world beyond the castle walls and finds out about the taxes. She also runs into Alcott (Armie Hammer) a handsome guy hanging from a tree in his underpants with his valet (Robert Emms) as the result of being robbed by some “giant midgets.”

Prince Alcott and his valet are trapped from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

I guess they really, really, prefer to be called “little people.”

Snow White lets him down, only to meet him again later in full Prince attire at the palace when she crashes her stepmom’s costume ball.

Snow White and Alcott at the ball from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

Hey princess, Bjork called. She wants her dress back.

After the ball, the queen’s magic mirror, which is actually a portal that takes her to a thatched hut on a lake where her evil magician reflection lives, tells her that despite all her budgie-poo facials and enormous corsets, Snow White is prettier and more likely to marry the rich and handsome Alcott.

the Evil Queen trying to get into her corset from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

Who is not actually, as the Queen says “roughly the same age” as her.

So she sends her lackey Brighton (Nathan Lane) to feed Snow White to the mysterious beast. Being a half decent guy, he brings back sausages instead of body parts and Snow White goes to live with the seven dwarves: Half Pint (Mark Povinelli), Butcher (Martin Klebba), Napoleon (Jordan Prentice), Grimm (Danny Woodburn), Chuckles (Ronald Lee Clark), Grub (Joe Gnoffo), and Wolf (Sebastian Saraceno), who are not miners but bandits who bounce around on accordion stilts and rob people.

Half-Pint, Butcher, Napoleon, Grimm, Chuckles, Grub, and Wolf from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

Like the Gummi Bears, but with crime.

Instead of cooking and cleaning for them, they dress Snow White up like a pirate and train her to fight in the traditional bandit dwarf way, which is to take threats:

Prince Alcott threatens dwarves from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

En Guarde, giant midgets!!

… and reduce them to underpants.

Prince Alcott in his underpants from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

I really don’t know how this keeps happening.

After a montage of sword waving and outfit trying on, they raid the royal wedding and save Prince Alcott, who has been dosed with puppy love potion and now has an affinity for sticks and chew toys, from being married to her horrible stepmother. He joins the “cause” and then they can all run around in the forest in their shirtsleeves like it’s not freaking winter all the time.

Prince Alcott and Snow White face the beast from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

Careful, princess, our enemies might try to give you a coat.

I was worried that Mirror Mirror would lean too far toward the fart joke end of the comedy spectrum because it’s for kids, but I was totally wrong. It’s actually full of snappy dialogue and sight gags that had me AND the kids in the theater laughing. Every character gets some laughs, but predictably, Julia Roberts steals the show as the evil queen.

Julia Roberts as the evil queen from the Relativity Media film Mirror Mirror

The kingdom was full of people who danced and sang before she came along
because “apparently, no one had jobs back then.”

So it’s funny, but it’s not totally goof-ball lame-o funny, which I appreciated, and so will all you adults out there. It’s also pretty tame as far as violence and stuff goes, which means you can take your littler kids and not worry about them turning into serial murderers. Ergo, you should take your whole family.

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