"There is a tongue-in-cheek wit evident which allows for the film to almost take on the guise of a pantomime..."
As one of the greatest and most influential fairy tales of all time, there have been few cinematic adaptations of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which hold much significance, with arguably the 1937 Disney classic the only version of any note. Yet that could soon be about to change, as not only have we got one Snow White adaptation to enjoy in Mirror Mirror, but with the soon to be released Snow White and the Huntsman, we're now spoilt for choice, although if the former is anything to go by, then perhaps we should have just left it to Disney.
Lily Collins plays Snow White, a lonely and assailable youngster, living in the shadow of her evil, vindictive step-mother (Julia Roberts), who just so happens to be The Queen of the kingdom, following the disappearance of Snow's father The King.
The Queen is on the look-out for a new partner, and soon turns her attention and affections to Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), but the charming Prince has already taken a liking to Snow. The Queen therefore sends out her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane) to kill Snow and have the Prince all to herself.
Brighton can't find the courage to kill the innocent youth, so tells her to flee, and she soon winds up at the home of seven rebellious and thieving dwarfs, who take to the princess, as the group decide to fight for the good of the failing and melancholic kingdom, whilst Snow has an ambition of her own - to get rid of The Queen and earn the love of Prince Alcott.
Director Tarsem Singh's production has a light-hearted and jovial approach, certainly proving to be quite good fun. There is a tongue-in-cheek wit evident which allows for the film to almost take on the guise of a pantomime - with enough in there to keep both children and adults entertained. However, the film suffers in that its script isn't strong enough, therefore disallowing the film to be funny or witty enough to sustain the feature's mirthful approach.
To enhance the playful, kitsch route the film takes, Mirror Mirror has an elaborate and flamboyant setting, almost cartoon-like. Such a sentiment is furthered by the use of computer animation at the very beginning of the film, when setting the story. Singh's use of animation early on is almost symbolic of the filmmakers bringing the fairy tale from the page to the screen, literally bringing it to life.
The performances are also exaggerated which would often be a frustration, but in this instance it suits the nature of the film. Roberts, despite being somewhat annoying, is pretty devilish as The Queen, doing a good job of presenting her character as a loose cannon - as mad as she is heinous, actually adding some depth to the part, as someone who is clearly losing her mind. The dwarfs are also brilliantly mischievous, and highly misogynistic, which is rather funny, particularly for the older members of the audience.
Collins on the other hand is quite bland, managing to portray what is effectively the lead role in as unmemorable a way as possible. Not exactly a fault of the young actress, but the role proves almost a mere cipher in the overall picture. Hammer is impressive though, in a quite different role to those we have seen him in so far, showing signs of adaptability which will certainly do him no harm. Yet for a serious actor, he may want to choose a film which doesn't have him pretending to be a dog, in a mildly embarrassing section within the film.
Mirror Mirror is good fun, if a little forgettable. Yet despite it's misgivings, it has taken a much loved and much told tale and re-imagined it somewhat triumphantly, ultimately paying homage to the renowned story rather than attempting to emulate it.