Mirror Mirror (2012) - Vibrant and Sweet Re-telling of 'Snow White'

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Saying it dozens of times does not change a thing… but I’ll say it again. Fairy-tales have captured our imaginations for generations. Pretending to have the answer is not something I'll claim except to speculate that, like anything at the box office, it plays to our daydream of another world. THey transports us into a life not our own even if only for an all too brief period of time. No matter our age, still they are magical. 

Mirror Mirror

Once upon a time doesn’t even begin to touch the approach by which the evil queen wants her story told. It all begins with the love a King (Sean Bean) – a father has for his motherless daughter. Growing up spoiled but loved in a happy kingdom, the young girl is groomed for her legacy – to one day claim her rightful birthright, ruling the kingdom. Instead of raising the child without the care of a mother, the king re-marries but turmoil soon enters his kingdom leading him away to protect it – leaving his daughter in the care of a step-mother who assumes control as Queen (Julia Roberts) when the king is declared dead. Ten years later, the princess Snow White (Lily Collins) is all-grown-up and living under the thumb a woman who acts more like a dictator than a loving mother figure. Enraged that just keeping Snow in the castle as more a prisoner than future ruler still entitles her as the “fairest” of all, the Queen begins to plot not just the use of magic that comes with consequences but the demise of her unwanted step-daughter. This comes with a problem when the Queen also learns that she is broke leading to more ruination of her loyal subjects.

Into this tangled web walks a royal, young and handsome prince. Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) is wealthy beyond anything but first the Queen must woo his affections away from the woman he believes most beautiful – Snow White. A sense of urgency makes the Queen order her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane) to take Snow into the words to remove the only thing standing between the Queen and an end to her financial worries.
Mirror Mirror
This was my Hunger Games of the year – so far. (I know, does that sound horrid?) Perhaps it's a “poor trade-off” to most, but to me, it captured my attention right from the start. Furthermore it transports me to a world I didn't wish to emerge from. Trailers were instrumental in letting potential viewers know just what kind of movie this was going to be, and I learned that they do not lie about the movie overall. Everything about this script is tongue-in-cheek. It's funny and witty, and a lovely picture that would color anyone’s vivid imagination. There is wit even in the “slapstick” humor although at times, I will admit there is a niggling in the back of our mind that suggests the movie may have been better off from some more serious-minded humor. Nonetheless, with this movie, it never pretended to be anything but a sweet, family comedy.

Naturally, the costuming is gorgeous! Its uniqueness seems to mesh perfectly with the comedic scope of the production. There are long duster coats, brocade jackets, stunning gowns and of course, collapsible bustles. At times, it's far-fetched, but at the same time, the bright beauty of it is fascinating and keeps things interesting. It was fun to see a screenplay take a Grimm fairy-tale legend and turn it into something different. There is romance, a poisonous red apple, true love's kiss and yes, seven loveable dwarfs (just try to tell me you don’t like Half-Pint) - who just happen to be bandits! - but everything familiar is suddenly “new.” Danger finds Snow but yet, nothing is “dark” or threatening like we once knew this to sometimes be – even Disney’s well-loved animated flick is likely darker than this latest version of the fable. Many of you probably know that Relativity Media is not the only studio to bring this story to our screens in 2012 – we also have one coming this summer with a very different twist that will also be darker.

Mirror Mirror
Perhaps I have a mistaken view of fairy-tale life or maybe I am just easy to please but if I had pick out something to be my ideal, Mirror Mirror would define it. Everything about this movie really sparkles - provided the viewer knows what the context of the film is going to be. Lily is sweet as sugar, charming and lovely in the role. She’s an actress, I am anticipating watch further her career (her turn in Abduction, and alongside Sandra Bullock as her daughter were impressive) – her sweet “first kiss” scene captures exactly a princess character we can root for. Hammer is cute but sometimes too silly to be thought a dashing princely prospect. Veteran Julia Roberts creates a queen that we can despise, yes but also find amusement in. Her vanity became her true weakness while in this story, we experience Snow coming-of-age, finding out who she is in the process.

The pretty settings, costumes and (mostly) talented cast in addition to the bubbly and endearing end (one that lets us hear Lily’s vocal cords) makes this a sweet alternative to other things currently at the box office. Knowing that this genre seems to be undergoing a “makeover” makes me curious because it is one that I love. Last year, there was a “beastly” re-telling at the box office, currently there are a handful of storybook characters invading our television screens, and now rumors are that there is a new television show in the works proving that hopefully (*fingers crossed*) this genre is not going to disappear for a good long while.

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) Rent or own Mirror Mirror, digitally on Amazon Video or purchase it on DVD.

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CONTENT: Rated PG for some mild swordplay and a creature that attempts to eat a girl. Some mild forms of magic are used – including placing spells on unsuspecting victims, and a woman transforms into an old lady. Occasionally, mild innuendo pops up like the Queen remarking on Alcott’s state of undress [being without a shirt]; Snow references never having been kissed and is swatted on the behind during a fight.


  1. I'm going to see this one whenever it heads to the cheap theater for DVD. It looks super silly--but cute at the same time. One thing that has captured me is the costuming. It does look gorgeous!

    I am loving all of the fairy tales again! Once Upon a Time is my favorite, though, if I had to choose (followed by Beastly) Rissi, you MUST watch OUAT as soon as you can!!

  2. I'm going to see this movie tomorrow! I'm really looking forward to it. From the trailer, it reminds me of Ella Enchanted.

    Personally, my favorite fairytale-esque movie is Penelope.

  3. Thanks to you, I now know that Sean Bean and Nathan Lane are in this movie, and I didn't before. There's just something about SB that makes my heart race just a smidge (even if I am married). :o)

    Thanks for an incredible review. I already wanted to see it, but now, I REALLY want to see it!!

  4. Ella - this is worth seeing on the big-screen because of all the gorgeous colors! They really "pop"!

    I won't deny that the movie is a bit... "silly," but it is also really fun, and that is EXACTLY how the trailers promoted it!!

    Once Upon a Time is still on my "to-see" list, Ella! Cannot wait - I'll definitely be reviewing afterwards. =) Gotta' love this fairy-tale trend.

    Melanie - cool! Enjoy - it is super cute. =)

    Love both movies you referenced; there is that same "flavor" to Mirror Mirror.

    Thanks BUNCHES for stopping in here - next time I am on Tumblr, I'll be checking out your blog. =)

    Christy - both guys are great in their roles. Nathan is quite funny while Sean (your comment made me smile) doesn't have a huge part; his big name got him billing though. ;-) I cannot think what I've seen him in but I've really liked his acting in whatever the roles were!

    You are welcome! I had a lot of fun writing this one because the movie made is easy - love those kind. =) Enjoy this when you see it, Christy - it is worth the big-screen!

  5. Oooo I loved this movie! I loved your review of it. It was a bit silly in parts, agreed, and I kinda wish there was a bit more serious aspects to it at certain points but overall it won my heart over.

    I absolutely adore how they "bollywood"ized the ending giving a nod to the director's background. How genius was that??? So fun. And just the whole new take on some of the tried aspects, ie. the new dwarf characters, and the whole end battle scene and the surprise of the beast etc.... wink, wink.

    Anyway, I love fairy tales, unashamedly so, and I'll be waiting for the next Snow adaptation just as well :))

  6. Me, too! Wasn't it just the sweetest ever!? =) I will definitely be snagging a copy on-dvd.

    That ending was really cute - and it was even more fun to know that it was really Lily singing! Being the daughter of Phil Collins, I'd imagine she does have some musical talent.

    There were some fun twists even in the cliches and I loved the seven dwarfs - especially Half-pint crushing on Snow (how cute was that!?).

    You and me can completely agree on that: Fairy-tales are AWESOME! =D Contrary to my original claim, I may have to see the 2nd Snow White movie in theaters also... we'll see.

  7. Even though this it sounds silly,I will still probably watch it because I love fairy tales.

  8. I wasn't so sure about this movie when I saw the trailer - it looked a little goofy - but now I think I'll look into it. :)

  9. Ella - me, too! This one defines the genre. =)

    Lauren - the more I think about it, the more I enjoyed this one. Sure, it is silly but it is exactly what a fairy-tale should be!! Super sweet with a princess that is likewise sweet. =) Great fun!

  10. Glad you enjoyed this one so much -- it was cute, silly but cute. :)

  11. So am I, Ruth. =) At times the "silly-ness" could have been done differently, but overall, I loved this sweet re-telling. =)

  12. After reading your review, I am so eager to see this movie! =) I wasn't interested at all, but now it looks quite sweet and entertaining.

    And how funny-- your Hunger Games.... lol

  13. If you saw the trailers, what you see is what you get with this film. It is funny but admittedly "silly." Still, I really loved it and will definitely be buying a copy on DVD: It was my ideal fairy-tale.

    Sweet is exactly what it is. =)

    Ha! I know, right!? Doesn't that sound funny!? Ah, well! I am good with it - I'll be renting The Hunger Games but beyond that, I don't know...

  14. AnonymousJune 26, 2012

    yay on blu-ray today!!!! http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Blu-ray-DVD-Digital-Copy/dp/B005LAII0S/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1340734388&sr=1-2&keywords=mirror+mirror

  15. I wasn't really thinking about watching it (been sort of steering clear of the fairy tale adaptations that's been happening all at once + wasn't sure what to think of this movie) but I ended up watching it today with my family and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought. Sometimes it's silly but there were some quips here and there that had me laughing nonetheless (which gets my instant brownie points--I have a ridiculously strange sense of humour) xD

  16. YAY! I am so pleased you enjoyed this one, Li! My mom and I bought it and recently re-watched it and still I loved it. I do feel like some of the film could have scaled back on the slapstick humor (and sometimes I thought Armie played the prince too silly to be taken seriously as a hero) but overall, I loved it.

    The newer version is darker but still good plus I cannot wait to see the re-telling of Beauty and the Beast in addition to the shows. :-) Such good things to come.

    So happy you and your family liked this one - and that you stopped by to discuss. :-)

  17. Rented this the other day and shockingly -- I loved it. Yes, it was corny in places, but it was so colorful, and so delightful that I watched it twice before I sent it back. Plus, Armie is gorgeous. That helped too. ;)

  18. YAY! I loved this sweet flick. Mom and I bought it on Blu-Ray/DVD and re-watched it - so cute! I am really (really) glad you enjoyed it, Charity - and that you stopped by to say so.

    Armie is quite dashing-looking but his behavior annoyed me sometimes and if there is one thing I don't like, it's a childish hero. Still that "puppy line" is great. ;-D

    The film is sappy in places but it was, as you say, delightful! It sparkles with personality and that is just one of the things I love about it.


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