Snarky re-telling of the Snow White myth, with the odd visual flourish
Tarsem Singh is a frustrating director; he has a canny eye for striking imagery, but an uncanny knack for picking scripts with little or no charm (The Fall being his sole exception so far). So it was with J-Lo vehicle The Cell and Clash of the Titans knock-off Immortals and so it continues with Mirror Mirror, a ‘sassy’ re-telling of the Snow White story.
Julia Roberts plays the bitchy and narcissistic Queen who, between offing her latest husband and putting the squeeze on her subjects for more tax money, is on the hunt for a new beau. When a suitable candidate shows up (the nice-but-dim Armie Hammer), his head is turned by the Queen’s captive step-daughter, Snow White (Lily Collins). Enraged, the Queen sentences Snow White to her death in the nearby forest, where she takes up with a posse of diminutive robbers and plots to retake the kingdom.
The seven dwarves – all lifted straight from Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits – carry Mirror Mirror’s more successful scenes, bickering amongst themselves as they attack passers by using accordion-like stilts. Singh drops in a few visual flourishes – the Queen’s chambers are backlit by Monet-like skyscrapes, while an alternative through-the-looking-glass universe is a mix of desolation and shifting perspectives – but he’s weighed down by a script that relies heavily on Shrek-like modern snarkiness in period garb for its laughs, but without any Shrek-like jokes. If you’re desperate for a Grimm fairy tale fix, you might be better off giving this one a miss and waiting for Snow White and the Huntsman, due out in June.
Thanks to Vue Omni, Edinburgh.