Mirror Mirror attempts to revamp and refresh the classic tale of Snow White for a new generation and although it hits some high notes the overall experience isn't going to shatter any box office records. The jokes will be a hit with kids and they'll be able to sit through the film and fantasize about being Snow White for a couple hours, but parents will be searching for ways to surf the web on their smart phones without getting the boot from the theater.
Julia Roberts seems as though she is trying to make the most of her role as the Evil Queen embracing the sarcastic side of the insecure character. You just don't find her believable in the role and her performance spins out of control into a monotony of one liners and flippant remarks. The character's obsession with money and possible wrinkles on her strikingly perfect face makes for a one dimensional villain that not even Julia Roberts can recover from. To think that the striking Roberts is so concerned about her age to be jealous of Snow White will instigate a bevy of eye rolls from the audience.
Lily Collins delivers a loveable performance as the soft but edgy Snow White. She handles the action like a grizzled veteran yet remains graceful while wearing an outrageous costume at the ball. Collins understands her role and seems to be enjoying her place in the classic fairytale. There certainly is a high level of chemistry between Collins and Armie Hammer who plays Prince Alcott of Valencia with a twinkle in his eye. It's good to see Hammer having fun on screen and not being afraid to embarrass himself for some laughs after his serious turns in The Social Network and J. Edgar. Good move by him.
Nathan Lane would have been likeable with less screen time as the Queen's doormat assistant Brighton. His powdered wig alone is enough to annoy you but when he is magically turned into a cockroach for disobeying the Queen you want to step on him to put him out of his misery. Besides Lilly Collins as Snow, the seven dwarves are the best part of this film. Rugged thieves with names that veer far away from the original fairytale, the dwarves were banished from the town and labeled as "uglies" by the Queen before taking in Snow White after she proves her loyalty. The relationship between the Princess and the dwarves provides for the best on screen moments as the Octet connects on multiple levels.
This doesn't look that much like Tarsem Singh film, more like a Tim Burton movie that went through a plethora of budget cuts. The colors are bold and bright but the set pieces scream "I was filmed on a soundstage!". Outrageous costumes like something out of Max Shreks party in Batman Returns will either make you laugh or raise an eyebrow. One of the amazing instances of action involves the dwarves rapidly scurrying through the woods on acordian like stilts. The fighting sequences and coach robbery while on the stilts feel like they were done using practical effects. Impressive if so.
Mirror Mirror is a film that young kids will enjoy and parents will be at least be able take solace in the fact that their kids enjoyed the experience.