2012 can definitely be considered as the year of Snow White. The story has two movies coming out this year, one of which is Mirror Mirror, and a TV series, Once Upon a Time, by the creators of Lost no less.
This adaptation of the infamous fairytale strives to balance comedy with drama – it seeks out light-hearted moments and intersperses them among the storyline’s darker elements, giving a rather refreshing approach to the story we all know.
The movie starts with the Evil Queen (Julia Roberts) telling what she calls her story of which the little girl, whose skin is white as snow and hair dark as night and so called that pompous obnoxious name, Snow White, is of little importance. As Snow White grew and her father, the king, realized he was unable to teach her everything she needed to know, he decided to remarry. The king was bewitched by the dazzling beauty and charm of a woman – the Evil Queen compliments herself plenty – and marries her. But a dark magic sweeps the land and the king is forced to go save his kingdom, never to be seen or heard from again.
As Snow White grows, the Evil Queen tries to keep her at bay, safely tucked away at the castle. But the Evil Queen knows that there will come a time when Snow must do what snow does best and Snow must fall.
Julia Roberts is riveting as the Evil Queen. Even though the movie is not really her story, she manages to make it all about her and she pulls it off remarkably. Whenever she’s on screen, she dominates – be it with her charm or uncanny ability to fool you with an innocent looking smile. Julia is a major contributor to Mirror Mirror‘s two faces. She can be hilarious at times and downright chilling at others. In fact, the moment the credits started rolling, the people I was watching the movie with were positively surprised that Julia Roberts had it in her to portray an evil role. Even the comic relief moments she introduces here and there are of evil nature. For the doubters about Roberts’ ability to portray the Evil Queen, you will be impressed.
The rest of the cast, even Snow White (Lilly Collins), do very well with the characters they’re given. Those that are asked for seriousness are serious and those from whom comedy is required are often hilarious. Acting-wise, Mirror Mirror is simply charming and fun to watch, especially with the interactions of Snow White with the Dwarves or the Evil Queen with her minion.
The interesting thing about Mirror Mirror is that it doesn’t go along the typical Snow White storyline we’ve all known. The whole poisoned apple storyline is downplayed, the Evil Queen doesn’t want to kill Snow White because of her ethereal beauty but because she got active in the affairs of the kingdom. The band of dwarves, usually thought as kind, happy or grumpy or sleepy or whatever their names are, are not like that at all in Mirror Mirror – they are a band of thieves who pry on unsuspecting strangers passing along their path. These little detours from the fairytale we’ve all memorized are what keep Mirror Mirror an interesting movie to watch.
Mirror Mirror is a fun and entertaining movie, be it with its plentiful humor, Julia Roberts’ sarcasm, Lilly Collins’ innocence or Prince Alcott’s (Armie Hammer) facial expressions. As the title implies, the movie has two sides: one is comedy, the other is a fairytale and both work really well together. The happy ending doesn’t feel forced on it, the movie builds to it – what it doesn’t build to, however, is that Indian dance scene it concludes with. But even that ridiculously out of place ending sequence cannot derail what is a strong movie from being bogged down. Even Game of Thrones fans will be surprised by a brief appearance of the series’ most prominent characters and that’s always a good thing.