Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror is a darn sight better than its trailer makes it look. For that matter, it’s a darn sight better than most of the films we get that are labeled “family” these days. If it isn’t anywhere near in the same league as Tarsem’s The Fall, well, that’s not very surprising. Mirror Mirror is a far more commercial proposition. What’s surprising is just how clearly Singh has left his fingerprints all over the film despite this. The idea, of course, is a stylish, playfully updated version of the Snow White story, and Mirror Mirror generally succeeds in its aims. It reworks the story just enough to be a little fresh, but even when it seems like it’s side-stepped one of the most familiar aspects of the story, it shows up as a nice punchline to the whole proceedings. The idea of the Seven Dwarves here owes more than a little to Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, but the concept of them passing themselves off as giants with the aid of accordion stilts is an amusing notion — and one that plays even better than it sounds. It’s not that Mirror Mirror is a great picture, or even as good as it could have been. That’s partly the fault of the casting. And, no, I don’t mean Julia Roberts, though I suspect that poster with her at her Julia Robertsest is doing the film no favors. The stumbling block is Lily Collins’ Snow White, who is bland. There’s a fair amount of pretty broad stuff, but there are subtler moments, too. Nothing about that trailer even hints that there’ll be a gag based on Kafka’s The Metamorphosis buried in this movie. Yet the film generally remembers to play to a family audience — and for once we have a film that actually is family friendly and not moronic. Really, any movie that incorporates seven comedic dwarves and not a single one of them suffers from flatulence deserves a special award.
Director: Tarsem Singh
Writer: Melisa Wallack and Jason Keller
Producer: Ryan Kavanaugh, Bernie Goldmann and Brett Ratner
Cast: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Bean Reigns, Jordan Prentice, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Ronald Lee Clark and Martin Klebba