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Mirror Mirror (2012)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/26/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/26/2012
The only thing which Hollywood loves more than a big hit or a big scandal is a trend. Typically these grow organically following a major event -- one movie will be a box-office smash and suddenly we get many films which are in a similar vein. At other times, trends seem to appear out of nowhere. This year, for some reason, Snow White has been the flavor of the month (for several months). We got the theatrical releases Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, as well as direct-to-video fodder like Grimm's Snow White and the abysmalSnow White: A Deadly Summer. Why Snow White? Is it because Disney has continued to prove that princess' are popular? Are fairy tales in general back en vogue? Whatever the case, today we take a look at the first one to the theater in 2012, Mirror Mirror.
Mirror Mirror takes place in an enchanted land which is overseen by a glorious castle. Once upon a time, a great kind ruled the land and he doted on his daughter, Snow White. As his wife had died in childbirth, the king took on a new queen (Julia Roberts). Following the king's death in the forest, The Queen took over the castle, confining Snow White to her room. Now a teenager, Snow White (Lily Collins) decides that she wants to see the kingdom and is shocked to see how poor and sad everyone is, as The Queen has taken everything and given nothing in return. Meanwhile, Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) is riding through the forest near the castle, when he is ambushed by a group of thieves. Stripped of his gold and his clothes, Alcott seeks assistance at the castle, and The Queen immediately makes plans to ensnare the young man. At this same time, Show White is banished from the castle (due to her questioning of The Queen's behavior) and meets seven dwarves in the forest. This diminutive men take Snow White in and give her shelter. When she learns of The Queen's plan, the dwarves agree to help Snow White save Alcott.
Mirror Mirror takes the classic Snow White Grimm fairy tale and puts several different spins on it. We get Snow White, the evil stepmother, Prince Charming, and the seven dwarves, but each is presented in a way which is askew from the traditional way. The movie wants to combine the traditional story with a modern, hip look.
This sounds as if it would be fun, right? Unfortunately, Mirror Mirror can never decide what it wants its tone to be. The movie vacillates from silly to serious to campy to scary with no seeming rhyme or reason. I'm not saying that it combines genres. No, instead, it simply shifts gears from scene to scene, and never finds its rhythm. At one point, we're getting a fairly standard The Princess Bride-esque movie and then someone will make a joke which is a reference to modern life. The movie wants to be serious one moment and then offers cringe-worthy slapstick the next. And Nathan Lane, who plays The Queen's footman, appears to be in a different movie altogether. (Although, a sight gag involving Lane and some sausages is the funniest part of the movie.) It also can't settle on a focus. Instead of simply checking in on the various subplots, the movie tries to juggle telling the story from the viewpoint of Snow White, Alcott, and The Queen.
Who's to blame for this? Well, it's hard to say. I'm sure the fact that three different writers worked on the script didn't help. But, much of the blame must go to Director Tarsem Singh. Now, there's no doubt that Tarsem has a good (not great) visual sense and Mirror Mirror is one of the most colorful movies which he's made. The use of striking colors against the snowy white backgrounds works very well, and we get some creative production and costume design as well. (The man certainly loves hats.) But, as he proved with the recentImmortals, Tarsem isn't much of a storyteller. It's easy to assume that he gets too wrapped up in the images and doesn't concentrate on things like character development and logic.
Despite these flaws, Mirror Mirror still isn't the train-wreck which I thought it would be. Again, the movie has a great look. Lily Collins (who must be adopted) is good as a Snow White who goes from shy princess to swashbuckler. The seven dwarves are each given individual traits (some of which fly in the face of the classic Disney film) and they, especially Half-Pint (Mark Povinelli) have some good lines. And I have to admit that the puppet attack scene was effective, as it reminded of something from a Silent Hill game. But, the movie never comes together as a whole and just when you think it's about to gel, it falls apart again. A tongue in cheek approach to Snow White is a great idea, but this movie never find its footing.
Mirror Mirror never explains why The Queen goes to Polynesia to get advice on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 36 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source material. The lack of grain is impressive given the nearly constant white backgrounds. The colors look fantastic, as the movie is filled with vibrant, but not overly bright colors. The blues and reds nearly jump off of the screen. The image is never too dark or bright. The depth is very good, as the characters really stand out from the backgrounds, and the level of detail remains steady throughout. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The surround sound effects are nicely done, as the mix takes the time to place individual sounds in the rear speakers. The stereo separation is good and crowd scenes off a chance for the left and right speakers to exhibit specific sounds. The finale allows the subwoofer to get involved.
The Mirror Mirror Blu-ray Disc contains a small assortment of extras. The Disc contains five DELETED SCENES which run about 7 minutes. Three of these are longer or alternate versions of scenes which exist in the finished film. We do get more Nathan Lane slapstick here, but it's clear why the scenes were cut. "Looking Through the Mirror" (13 minutes) examines the look of the film by profiling Director Tarsem and his style, as well as looking at the production design and the costumes. "I Believe I Can Dance" (11 minutes) teaches us the choreography from the film's closing number. "Mirror Mirror Storybook" is an odd extra, as it's a 28-page digital book which recounts the story of the film. "Prince and Puppies" (2 minutes) is another weird extra which has dogs watching a scene from the movie. The extras are finished off by the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long