There really is no greater sign of Hollywood being out of ideas than this recent trend of remaking classic fairytales. Have we run out of sequels, prequels and trilogies already? Aren’t there a few more obscure graphic novel heroes that we can attempt to make into summer blockbusters?
Following in the footsteps of 2011’s “Red Riding Hood,” “Mirror Mirror” attempts to bring a fresh, modern take to the familiar children’s story of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. However, a few jarring differences from Disney’s adaptation cannot transform this classically boring tale into anything more than a predictable, laugh-less snooze-fest.
Written by: Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller
Starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane
The story behind “Mirror Mirror” is just about as boring and cliché as a kid’s story can get. The tale begins with a happy and bountiful kingdom ruled by a beloved king. But one day the king disappears into the woods never to be seen again, and his Evil Queen takes over his rule. She taxes the people into poverty and uses magic to bring a state of constant winter to the land. She keeps the king’s daughter, Snow White, locked up in the castle, forbidding her to leave her room under any circumstance. Will a hero come along to stop the Queen from taxing the commoners to death?
The creators of “Mirror Mirror” try to disguise an unimaginative story by introducing stark variations to some aspects of the old animated film. The Seven Dwarfs are now grubby, thieving bandits who walk on stilts and steal from rich people who pass through their section of the woods. The “mirror mirror on the wall” is actually a magic portal that transports the Evil Queen to her own evil hideout, where she can communicate with her magical reflection. And some kind of dreadful beast roams the forests, causing the villagers to live in fear. All of these updates are superfluous and in no way help save the film.
The only redeeming part of “Mirror Mirror” is Armie Hammer (“The Social Network”) as Prince Alcott. Hammer successfully transitions from his previous serious roles in “Network” and “J. Edgar” to this silly role as a handsome fairytale prince. Legitimately amusing parts are very few and far between in this movie, but when they do occur they almost always concern Prince Alcott. The Seven Dwarves are meant to be a major source of hilarity but instead are mostly annoying. Julia Roberts as the Queen is equally irritating, and Nathan Lane as her bumbling servant is a lame re-hashing of Lefou from “Beauty and the Beast”.
As retched a film as “Mirror Mirror” is, it does deserve praise for one thing in particular. Actor Sean Bean, known for his roles in “The Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones”, makes it to the end of the movie without being decapitated, shot full of arrows, blown up, or meeting his demise in any other hapless ways. That has to be why Bean agreed to appear in “Mirror Mirror”, because I can’t think of any other reasons.
With “Mirror Mirror”, Director Tarsem Singh has given us another disappointing flop after the bomb that was “Immortals”, which ended up with a 37% on RottenTomatoes. It’s a shame too, because if you’ve seen “The Fall”, you know that Singh is capable of making films that are not only visually stunning but also contain captivating narratives. Here’s to hoping he will soon right the ship and give us another great movie that will help us forget the bitter taste of the likes of “Mirror Mirror”.