I knew seeing Mirror, Mirror was a bad idea. After seeing director Tarsem Singh’s atrocious Immortals, there was no hope for this film. Is it a modern day telling of Snow White, one where it’s aware of the conventions? Kind of. Is it a classic telling of the story for little kids? A bit. Or is it a confused, stupid, borderline offensive movie that doesn’t know what to do so it throws in bits of everything? Heck yes!
The evil Queen (Julia Roberts) is in charge of a destitute kingdom and will only find a change of fortunes through marriage. Her stepdaughter Snow White (Lily Collins) is 18 and wants to leave the castle but the Queen forbids it. When Snow finally escapes and finds shelter with a pack of thieving bandits, the seven dwarves of the story, she decides to become a bandit herself and save the village from poverty.
There’s very little good in this movie….very little. I can’t even place the runtime in the positive area as it’s over 90 minutes long which this movie has no reason to be. The costumes are pretty excellent, almost a throwback to those made-for-television/VHS fairytales of the 70s and 80s. In fact, Mirror, Mirror almost seems to be made as a tribute to those movies. They were generally laughably bad and touted some great casts for the budget. I don’t Singh even knows of what I’m talking about and had no intention of copying those movies but hey I gotta write something in here!
The cast can’t be taking the material seriously, or else they’re all awful. Julia Roberts goes for broke as the over-the-top Queen. She speaks all her lines with a squeaky, snooty English accent and affects her speech with bizarre facial gestures and hand movements. She channels the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland more than anything and watching her act like a fool for 106 minutes is great. The rest of the cast doesn’t seem to have the same thoughts on how to play their characters, especially Lily Collins. This is the second Collins film I’ve seen and between this and Abduction, this girl cannot act. She sings, she dances, all badly! Her speeches with the Queen and her romance with Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) play like a high school production of Snow White and she was obviously the understudy. Hammer himself tries to play the dashing Prince but once he starts acting like a dog (under a Puppy Love spell) it just becomes a head-shaking performance.
Mirror, Mirror just doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s obviously playing towards little kids in comparison to this summer’s Snow White and the Huntsmen and kids should love it, but then it includes little bits like it’s attempting to be smarter than it is. There’s a modern song and dance number at the end, and Snow White even mentions how she doesn’t want to be like a fairy tale character that is saved by the prince…hint, hint. That would all be great if the movie started out as a modern take! Instead the beginning of the film plays like the basest elements of Enchanted, Tangled, and Ella Enchanted all boiled down in the crap parts. The acting is bad, the story is a hodgepodge of Robin Hood and the aforementioned Ella Enchanted, and there’s a whole “hilarious” joke about the Prince not wanting to fight the dwarves because “it would be too funny!” I don’t know if Singh found that joke funny but it makes the character look like a jerk!
Mirror, Mirror is a terrible film. The poster mentions “One bad apple” and that is the film itself. It’s lazy in its approach and it tries to make a film for kids, and then backtrack and try to make a Meta fairytale. When are we going to take Tarsem’s directing card away?