Objects in Mirror Less Enchanting Than They Appear

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Lily Collins wears her fabulous yellow cape in Mirror Mirror.

Sophia Bollag, Managing Editor

Mirror Mirror, the latest cinematic incarnation of the Snow White fairytale, is realized in a challenging cultural environment, one for which antiquated fairytales must be feminized and in which a rival Snow White film, scheduled to be released in the summer, is right on its heels.

Partway through the movie, after his clothes are stolen by bandits, the handsome prince (Armie Hammer) is presented to the evil queen (Julia Roberts) semi-nude. The queen stumbles through several sentences and then demands: “Would someone please get this man a covering so I can concentrate?!”

Her assessment of the prince’s needs misses the mark. What Hammer needs is not a shirt, but a better script.

The film is loosely based on the original fairytale, but lacks many of the familiar details from the story to which those of us who grew up watching the Disney version have become attached. The endearing seven dwarves are replaced by an unscrupulous group of midget thieves. The rhyming mirror is usurped by a holographic image of the queen who tears holes in the plot that the original mirror helped to fill. Most offensively, the iconic poison apple plays no part in the storyline.

Poorly written dialogue alternates between childish humor and raunchy jokes. Much of the comedy is clearly intended for children—no other age group can possibly appreciate jokes about saying please. However, in an attempt to modernize the story, there are just as many jokes that are definitely not appropriate for younger audiences. For example, one strange scene includes the prince spanking Snow White (Lily Collins) with his sword. In another, the queen’s assistant (Nathan Lane) complains of being taken advantage of by a grasshopper after the queen turns him into a cockroach.

In its attempt to appeal to both children and adults, Mirror Mirror disenchants just about everyone. The humor does not really appeal to anyone, and the under-utilization of always-funny Lane adds insult to boredom.

The fact that Hammer is the perfect handsome prince and beautiful Collins the ideal Snow White is overshadowed by the misguided plot. Roberts and Lane give disappointing performances because the script gives neither one the chance to do anything else.

The film’s shining redeeming quality is its costumes. Snow White’s extravagant yellow cape and swan dress almost make it worth seeing, but most audiences will find sifting through film stills after they get home from the theater far more enjoyable than sitting through the movie, itself.