Mirror Mirror (2012) – By Duane L. Martin

Mirror Mirror is a retelling of the Snow White story that everyone knows, though several changes to the story have been made in this film in an effort to make it fresh and more appealing to both children as well as adults. While it is a bit strange to see the changes to such a well known story, the star studded cast, planted into a gorgeous fantasy world, really pull it off.

This particular story goes as such. A king and queen who loved each other very much had a beautiful daughter, and they called her Snow White. The queen passed away shortly after her birth, which left the king alone to raise his daughter on his own. He did his best to be a good father, and he spoiled her immensely. All was good in the kingdom. The people wanted for nothing and were happy, and the king and his daughter were loved. One day however, the king decided that there were things he just couldn’t teach a daughter about being a woman, and to that end, he began looking for a new queen, which he found and soon married. Unfortunately, she was rather self obsessed and evil. A situation arose that necessitated that the king leave the castle to defend the kingdom, and he was never seen again. This left the evil queen in charge. She kept Snow White in the castle, mostly in her room, and spent all of the kingdom’s money on aggrandizing herself, personally, while taxing the people of the kingdom into oblivion under the pretense of using the money to protect them from a beast that roamed the forests, killing all who encountered it. Now Snow White, who’s been banished from the castle, and supposedly killed on the queen’s orders, finds herself in the company of the seven dwarves, who teach her how to fight and how to be a cunning thief. With her newfound skills, she must stop the queen, restore her kingdom, save the prince she’s fallen in love with from the queen’s machinations to marry him through the use of a love potion, and stop the beast in the forest once and for all. That’s a whole lot of work for a girl who’s hardly been out of her room her whole life!

One of the biggest changes you’ll notice in this story are the dwarves. They’re not your typical Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, etc…. In this story, we have Napoleon, Half Pint, Grub, Grimm, Wolf, Butcher and Chuckles. Some will be familiar faces to many of you, including Danny Woodburn as Grimm and Martin Klebba as Butcher, while others, maybe not so much, but they’re all very likeable and really made the seven dwarves in this particular tale very likeable and fun. Another change in this story regarding the dwarves is that, rather than working in a mine, these dwarves are both thieves and skilled fighters who run around on pogo stick like stilts, bouncing around their victims and working as a very tight knit unit to score their bounty. These encounters are not only original and visually amazing, but also quite fun to watch.

Lily Collins plays Snow White in this film, and I have to admit, that despite the number of big name stars in this film, I had never heard of her before. The reason for that is that she doesn’t have a huge list of credits, though she does have some bigger, mainstream films under her belt, including The Blind Side and Priest, neither of which I’ve seen. I was impressed with the quality of her acting, as well as the versatility she showed in the character. She even did a song at the end of the film during the credits, that I’ll talk about later.

Armie Hammer plays Prince Alcott, a prince from a neighboring kingdom who is not only Snow White’s love interest, but a source of new funds for the queen, if she can only trick him into marrying her through the use of a love potion. The prince has a bit of a duality to his character. Sometimes he’s dashing and charming, other times he’s an obstinant smart alec. In the end, what he really is is likeable, and someone you can pull for, as is Snow White, so the two make a wonderful pair.

Julia Roberts, who I typically have no love for at all, was actually really quite good in this film. She was a great combination of haughty, conniving and greedy, with just enough evil to make you really not like her. Nathan Lane was also excellent as her boot licking toadie who really isn’t a bad guy in his heart, but has to do whatever she tells him to do because of his position.

The setting of the film is absolutely gorgeous. The kingdom is vast, the forest is dark and foreboding, the house where the dwarves live is really quite clever in its design, and the whole thing just has a wonderful fairy tale look to it that perfectly suits the film. The costume design was equally as amazing, and completed the look of the film flawlessly.

One other thing that was different, and I though very clever actually, was the magic mirror. Rather than being a male face in the mirror that talks to the queen and gives her advice, etc…, it was a reflection of the queen, but with some magical entitity talking through it. Also, when she’d say the famous, "Mirror mirror, on the wall," the mirror would ripple and she’d actually walk through it into an entirely different space, with a hut-like structure surrounded by water, and she would talk to the reflection there. It was very imaginative and a great alteration of the original tale.

The last thing I want to mention, is something that I found quite amusing. The song Lily Collins sings during the end credits is all done up like a huge Bollywood song and dance number. I wasn’t surprised once I saw who directed the film. It was directed by an Indian director named Tarsem Singh, who actually started his career as a director of music videos before moving on to direct feature films. This was a wonderfully amusing ending to the film, which I found particularly enjoyable, as I’m a fan of Bollywood films and I’ve seen and quite a number of them. Lily Collins did a wonderful job with both the vocals and the dancing, andit was so perfectly well done that it literally could have been straight out of any Bollywood film.

The visual quality of the blu-ray was stunning, as was the sound, and the disc itself includes a variety of great special features.

Mirror Mirror is a film that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, and is really a very clever and inventive retelling of a classic fairy tale. The film has gotten mixed reviews from various people and review sources, but I’m here to tell you that I really quite enjoyed it, and I have no problem at all recommending it. The performances were excellent, the changes in the story were fun, the dwarves were very entertaining, and the subtle and not so subtle bits of comedy worked really well. Throw away any preconceptions you may have of what you think this film is and give it a try. I think you’ll enjoy it.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of this film for yourself, you can grab a copy of the blu-ray+DVD combo pack here, or the DVD here.