First, some context: I went and saw this movie more for the fact that my husband and I were able to finally have a date night, and it was the only movie that looked decent enough to see. (We are refraining from seeing the Hunger Games until I can read the books this summer). It’s been a long winter for decent date movies. Indeed, we haven’t been to the movies since Haywire in January.
Now, for the movie itself:
On a positive note, this movie is visually stunning. Beautiful scenes, elaborate (if somewhat over the top) costuming, and an intriguing orchestration. Also, I was pleasantly surprised (though also a wee bit disappointed) that Sean Bean broke his acting mold.
Unfortunately, that’s about all I can say positively. The dialogue was generic, and the few good lines in it (like the focus-group quip) were badly timed which meant humorous lines fell flat. And that was part of the bigger problem: was this moving supposed to be fantasy, comedy, drama? It did none of them well.
I can’t for the life of me figure out why Snow White finds the Prince attractive. At the very best he is bland, at worst he is annoying. Either way, the Prince was abundantly forgettable. The dwarves had potential, but there was not enough time devoted to demonstrating their unique personalities (though, having them be thieves instead of miners was quite smart). Speaking of the generic dialogue, Julia Roberts was maybe, sort-of trying to do an accent but it was so inconsistent she shouldn’t have bothered. And was the queen really evil? Narcissistic yes, but was that enough for the audience to see her as the villain? Not really. A generic queen who failed to be the big baddie that the story needed. The supporting cast’s abundance of talent is wasted and I’m not quite sure why the stellar actors that they cast (e.g., Nathan Lane and Mare Winningham) actually agreed to do the film. (paycheque?)
And Snow. Dear Snow. If this movie had been made in 2004, it would have starred Anne Hathaway. Indeed, there were several moments where Lily Collins seemed to be channeling Hathaway’s performance in Ella Enchanted (including the dance number at the end), but the difference is Hathaway at least had some spunk. Indeed, Ella Enchanted and Mirror, Mirror are interchangeable in their mediocrity. Now I get that this is Collins’ breakout role. With some more practice and opportunities to grow as an actress she will probably be an actress to look out for, but for now she was, like the rest of the movie, generic.
Since retelling fairy tales is all the rage right now, Mirror, Mirror attempts to retell Snow White for a modern audience and we seem to be on a Snow White kick. I figure that Snow White is the new Cinderella, with a modern retelling being presented every six months until Hollywood latches on and obsesses over another story. Of course Mirror, Mirror updates and changes the story while retaining key elements: the evil queen, the dwarves, the magic power of a kiss, the poisonous apple. But, for all their updates, the story is forgettable and generic. The twists were for the most part predictable (save for one).
So the question becomes is it because Snow White is hard to re-envision for a modern audience? Is there just not enough story to work with? If Once Upon a Time is any indication there is enough story and a unique way to re-tell the story of Snow. Mirror, Mirror fails to do this in any memorable way.
Here’s hoping Snow White and the Huntsman does a better job of telling the story.
Generic movie. Generic acting. Generic storytelling. Visually stunning movie. 1.5 browncoats out of 5.