If you are one of those saying "no" to Mirror Mirror before seeing it, don't be so quick to judge. The comedy has some good elements going for it, and I walked away entertained by this bizarre Snow White adaptation.
Snow White (Lily Collins) has been locked away in a castle by her wicked stepmother (Julia Roberts) for years. Snow's father (Sean Bean), the king, has died and left her to be raised by the Queen. While most of the household staff members remain on Snow's side, they know not to cross the Queen or they'll be dealt with harshly by one of her spells.
The Queen is always on a tangent to be lavish, so when her servant Brighton (Nathan Lane --not as funny as usual) informs her that the kingdom has no funds left, she goes on a wicked warpath, demanding even more taxes from the small improvised villagers.
Meanwhile, Snow has turned 18 and is determined to attend the upcoming ball at the castle. Looking beautiful from head to toe, she sneaks in and even manages a dance or two until she comes face to face with a tall handsome stranger (Armie Hammer.) The Queen already knows the Prince of Valencia is attending and plans to ensnare him into marriage to save her village. But when she sees the sparks exchanged between Snow and the Prince, she plans her revenge.
Snow must flee -- and ends up caring for and being protected by a group of seven unlikely little men. Their names fit the mischievous thieves perfectly. Half Pint (Mark Povinelli), Napoleon (Jordan Prentice) Chuckles (Ronald Lee Clark), Butcher (Martin Klebba), Grimm (Danny Woodburn), Grub (Joe Gnoffo), and Wolf (Sebastian Saraceno). All of these actors are great in their roles, especially when they shift from robbers to caregivers.
Mirror Mirror, which gives the tip of a hat to fairy tales as we know them today, looks spectacular. The costumes by Eiko Ishioka (Immortals) -- hopefully -- will surely be remembered at Academy Award time. The Queen’s gowns are extraordinary. In an interview with Roberts, the star remarked that some of the outfits weighed 60 pounds. Roberts does a great job enjoying herself as the vain Queen. Her smile appears almost as big as her dresses. Her conversations in the magic mirror with her real sister, Lisa Roberts Gillan, who plays a kind of psychic, are extremely funny.
Cinematographer Brendan Galvin captures the beautiful production and scenic designs of the story so well they look real. Watching the Prince hanging upside down from a tree in his undies or the beast twining itself through the trees offers a great mix of fear and humor. Whether barking like a dog or valiantly fighting to save Snow, Hammer is the new Cary Grant -- believable and charming in every scene.
There couldn't have been a better pick for Snow than Collins. Although she's only starred in three films (four others are in production), she comes across as the Snow White kids want to be, the stronger-willed and innovative daughter parents want, and the romantic princess who deserves the handsome prince.
Warning to parents: this film is not the Disney version of Snow White. Some very small children (age 3-5) who sat behind me at the screening I attended were bored and disruptive the entire time. However, older children will enjoy the laughs, and adults will like the visuals, acting and creative parody.
(Released by Relativity Media and rated "PG" for some fantasy action and mild rude humor.)
Review also posted at www.reviewexpress.com.