Bravo to Julia Roberts for showing that she is a good sport by playing the role of the evil queen. A stunning Roberts says to her reflection in the mirror which replies, "I'm a mere reflection of you, but I have no wrinkles.
This film is fun, but it should have been funny. Mirror Mirror misses in spots then resumes its wit which makes laughter a rocky road, but a better script was sorely needed. The director, Tarsem Singh, is Indian and is known for his music videos such as REM's Losing my Religion for which he won video of the year and the visually striking film, The Cell. Mirror Mirror's closing credits have a delightful Bollywood dance that if you miss it, you will miss the charm that this director intended for this film.
Julia Roberts said an emphatic," No!" to this script by Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller based on the Grimm fairy tale then met the handsome director Singh who had attended Harvard and changed her mind. Singh had a good agent. Roberts must have seen the problems in the script. She should have trusted her instincts.
The opening scene is not good as drawings are used instead of actors in an attempt to begin a film mixed with a cartoon element. This does not work. Simple as that. Throughout the film the art direction becomes a kind of character in itself as it is highly creative save this opening sequence.
What works is Snow White who is played by the stunning Lily Collins who looks like a young Elizabeth Taylor. Collins dominates the film when Roberts is not around. With thick black brows that almost form a line across her forehead, one is reminded of Taylor in National Velvet. Her beauty is astounding.
Originally the director wanted Mirror Mirror to be called "Snow" which made sense. Snow who is an exiled princess has had her throne stolen from her by the evil queen who has put a spell on Snow's father, the king, played by a distinguished Sean Bean.
While walking in the forest Snow discovers handsome Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) hanging upside down from a tree as seven thieving dwarfs on stilts have stolen his gold. The dwarfs are played with skill and vitality and are a delight. Snow cuts him down with her sword. Because she has sneaked out of the castle and is afraid of the queen's wrath, Snow runs away when she sees the queen's henchmen approaching.
Prince Alcott is taken to the queen who falls in need for his wealth and virility. As Roberts stares at Prince Alcott's bare chest, she addresses Brighton (Nathan Lane) who heads her Court, "Please get this man to put his shirt on?" Lane is champion in his role of the queen's lackey.
The queen plans to give a ball for her new discovery to entice him to be her husband. Snow meets our handsome Prince Alcott at this ball and dances with him as they fall in love. The jealous queen orders Snow murdered by Brighton.
When Brighten tells the queen that he has succeeded in her request, the queen declares to the court, "Snow White is dead. There will be a buffet at 2." The rest of this film you must see for yourself. But if you do, please stay for the Bollywood credits that will make up for some laughs lost by a script that tries too hard to be hip and falls flat because of this. Still children will be enthralled as there was applause at the end of the Mirror Mirror screening I attended, but none from me.