Mirror Mirror (2012)
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Length: 106 minutes (1 hour, 46 minutes)
Age Appropriateness Rating: Rated PG in the United States. This movie has no sex, no foul language, and virtually no violence (and none of it gory). You can safely show this to kids of all ages.
Creators and Stars: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Nathan Lane, Armie Hammer, Danny Woodburn, Robert Emms, Sean Bean, Tarsem Singh, Michael Lerner, Mare Winningham, Brothers Grimm
Historical Accuracy: The basic plot is is from the fairy tale recorded by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, so of course, the story is fictional. Updates to the classic story include a stronger focus on the evil queen (played to perfection by Oscar-winner Julia Roberts), as well as a more "girl power" and less "damsel in distress" Snow White character.
Review: I found this movie to be visually stunning and delightfully entertaining. It is easily one of those children's films that parents (even dads whom, I know, cringe at taking their daughters to see "princess" movies) will enjoy as much as their kids will. If you are looking for a movie to see with the kids over spring break this year, this is a sure-fire pleaser. Mirror Mirror provides a perfect mix of the classic princess story with modern girl power themes.
The prince (played by Armie Hammer) is a bit of a bumbler. Snow White (Lily Collins) appears, at first, rather simplistic, but reveals herself to be the true hero(ine) of the story, battling to save her kingdom's people from her wicked stepmother.
The queen (Julia Roberts) is obsessed with looking young because, in the medieval fairy tale landscape, marrying well is the only route women have to money and power. I laughed quite a bit during the scenes where Julia Roberts undergoes her beautifying, anti-aging regimen, since the icky procedures she has performed are all too reminiscent of what many women go through today.
The seven dwarfs provide quite a bit of comic relief. In this version, they work as highway robbers out of necessity after being taxed to poverty by the queen. It is this plot device that allows them to meet (and rob) the prince early in the film.
The costumes alone are well worth the price of admission. I suspect that Mirror Mirror will have a lot of girls dressing up as Snow White (or the Evil Queen) this Halloween. (Sadly, costume designer Eiko Ishioka passed away on January 21, 2012.)
My only complaint about the film was that there were, in a way, too many great actors and actresses. Everyone, from Julia Roberts, to Nathan Lane, to Sean Bean, could have used more screen time. But I suppose that doing so would have made the movie too long for kids to sit through.
Mirror Mirror ends with a Bollywood-style song-and-dance at the end, with vocals from Snow White (Lily Collins, daughter of Phil Collins). This musical number provides a charming end to the film, and seems to be an homage both to director Tarsem Singh's Indian roots and to the well-loved Disney cartoon musical version of the story. Click here for the official film poster.