Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Movie review: Mirror Mirror directed by Tarsem Singh

Screenplay: Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Melissa Wallack, Jason Keller
Starring: Julia Roberts (The Queen),Lily Collins (Snow White), Armie Hammer (Prince Alcott), Jordan Prentice (Napoleon), Sean Bean (King), Nathan Lane (Brighton)
Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: PG
Theatrical Release:3.30.2012


Plot:

The story of Snow White is retold from the perspective of her stepmother, the Queen - an ambitious and still beautiful but no longer very young woman. Some time ago she stole the control of a fairy tale kingdom making her husband king disappear in an enchanted forest. Now the Queen needs money because she has become a rather high maintenance item. You get the drift - all those beauty products, clothes, jewellery and make-up...and with her charms fading she is hardly inclined to economize. Her stepdaughter, Snow White, is kept isolated in the palace. The Queen lets circulate rumours that Snow White is insane. 

One day a young prince from a rich country arrives to the castle. He has been robbed by a band of dwarves (yes, seven little fellows, very skilled at robbing) and he needs help. And clothes.  The Queen decides to marry him but he's already fallen in love with Snow White who had stumbled across him while taking an illicit stroll in the forest. However, the evil Queen is not to be underestimated. After talking at length with her own mirror reflection (after all there is nothing better like talking to somebody intelligent and discreet even if a bit too honest for your tastes) she decides that firstly Snow White must die very soon and secondly her prince must get a potion called puppy love...and marry.

Poor dear, she forgets that you should never trifle with magic because you will be forced to pay through your nose no matter whether you like it or not. Most likely you won't like it.

What I liked:

Julia Roberts as the evil Queen was simply delicious. In my humble opinion 
the older she gets the better she plays. The best scenes with her? The spa of the Queen and the preparation for her 5th (sic!) marriage. Oh and getting through that enchanted mirror. Lily Collins was not bad but I admit Julia stole the show for me. It was enough to look at her beautiful baroque dresses and shoes - pure heaven! And that diamond crescent necklace! I want one! I bet it will be the most fashionable piece of jewellery this summer, especially as it might come with a certain beast attached...

The plot was quite nice but also quite predictable. There was one twist I haven't seen coming, concerning the identity of the beast which terrorized people of the kingdom but otherwise it was easy to follow - you could concentrate on the sense of humour and different referrences instead.

Speaking about the sense of humour - I did enjoy myself but I think not as much as I was supposed to. Of course almost all best lines were by Julia Roberts and the dwarves.

The ending was quite funny but appropriate - it is a movie directed by an Indian so the final scene was like a ball in Bollywood, with everybody dancing, singing and whatnot (actually it is the first scene of the trailer, posted below). Almost everybody. It was strange that Snow White danced solo... Oh, and a short description of the careers of the seven dwarves at the end was a nice touch too.

What I didn't like:

The scenery. The movie was shot in a snow-covered winter landscape. I understood it as an allegory - the country, reigned by the evil Queen has been 'frozen' due to her financial excesses; its economical and geo-political situation deteriorating as the percentage of people living below the powerty line has been raising dramatically; small wonder the country's credit rating has been  falling steeply for the sixth consecutive month, its stock exchange...(ok, my inner economist is hiding back in the closet) you get the picture.

Well, the whole ' permanent winter in Narnia' thing would be more believable if only the actors were dressed properly. Instead the director wants me to believe that Snow White is comfortable cavorting on snow in a low-cut blouse (gorgeous in colour but still exposing not only her neck but also her shoulders) and the prince is able to hang upside down with a naked torso and he is not even shivering. Tsk tsk. Never trust a guy from India when it comes to a proper winter.

I would also wish for more delicious twists and turns when it comes to the plot. True, Snow White never eats her apple and her companions are hardly seven innocent little dwarves but I felt it was still too bland. Do not despair, though - as the evil Queen is not dead there can be a sequel...

Final verdict:

A very nice, relaxing movie for the whole family especially if you like fairy tales and their modern adaptations. Overall a surprisingly decent job!




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