By: Lindy Zeng
Mirror Mirror follows protagonist Snow White (Lily Collins) as she sets out to reclaim her lost throne from her usurper stepmother, the Queen. This rendition of the classic fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves offers plenty of comedy and fills the well-known story with laughter and clever twists.
The movie commences with the evil Queen (Julia Roberts) narrating Snow White’s past.
She recounts the death of Snow White’s mother shortly after childbirth, resulting in the marriage of the widowed King to the most beautiful woman of the land, the current Queen. She finishes the tale with the mysterious disappearance of the King into the woods, allowing the Queen to possess the throne. As the story shifts back to the present, viewers see the land eternally locked in a dreadful, snowy winter as oppressed townspeople live in poverty, forced to pay taxes in order to support the Queen’s opulent lifestyle. The Queen attempts to win the heart of Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), as marriage between the two will solve all financial troubles in the kingdom. But little does the Queen know that the Prince has already fallen in love with Snow White. She sends her bumbling servantBrighton (Nathan Lane) to kill Snow White, thus eliminating any threat to her power. Snow White escapes her death and bands together with seven dwarf renegades, planning a rebellion to overthrow the Queen and save the Prince.
The plot is very cliché, involving classic fairytale themes of good triumphing over evil and the power of those who are small but big-hearted. The turning of events is predictable and unsurprising, but it is the film’s interpretations of the characters that are the most amusing. Snow White becomes a heroine, skillful with both her wit and the sword. She’s not the typical princess of fairytales, the damsel in distress waiting for rescue. Unfortunately, Collins delivers the lines as if they were read straight from the script, in a monotone and soft voice, with hardly any facial expression. The dwarves are likeable and possess names associated with their personality or idiosyncrasies, such as “Chuckles” for a dwarf that has a distinct giggle and “Grub” for another that’s constantly eating. The Queen’s servantBrightonprovide hilarity as the reluctant and rather clumsy man attempts to fulfill the endless demands of his Queen. However, it is difficult to see the beautiful Queen as a character of true evil; she is petulant and narcissistic, in more ways like a mean teenage girl than a true villain.
Making up for the plain cast of characters is the set and the costume design. Elaborate and fancy, every character is well-dressed. In a ballroom scene, the Queen wears a ruby-red dress complete with frills at the shoulders and white feathers. To top it all off, she completes the peacock-like attire with a feathered headdress and a cape of pure white feathers extending a foot above her head, displaying in every fold the extent of lavish squandering of the kingdom’s riches. In another scene, Snow White wears a cloak of shining gold cloth which glimmers as she sweeps through the darkened streets of the impoverished kingdom. The gold boldly contrasts with the white snow. But on the other hand, the movie overuses the colors white and gold; it lines the walls of every palace room and the Queen claims gold as her “lucky color.”
All in all, Mirror Mirror offers the laughter and comedy casual viewers are seeking. The minor suspense and action provides just a slight thrill but doesn’t make up for the plot holes and untidy ending. Shabby and shallow character development shows that Mirror Mirror is just a fair comedic interpretation of the fairytale, but definitely not the fairest of them all.