Synopsis: An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.
Stars: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane, Armie Hammer
Director: Tarsem Singh
Running Length: 106 minutes
Random Crew Highlight: Snow Effects: The Godding Brothers
TMMM Score: (2/10)
Review: Two competing re-imaginings of Snow White are set for release in 2012. The first was Mirror Mirror and the second is June’s Snow White and the Huntsman. While both films are taking drastically different approaches to their material, the only way Snow White and the Huntsman could be worse than Mirror Mirror would be if it was played upside down and backwards. More than being a lousy re-telling of Snow White, Mirror Mirror represents a huge amount of talent squandered and money wasted on a film that should have been much better.
Director Tarsem Singh is known for his visually rich but often times thinly plotted films so when it was announced he would be helming this I was anticipating a feast for the eyes. There’s not a lot of plot to Snow White so I was prepared for the production values to take center stage. Instead of the dynamic visuals he brought us in The Cell, Immortals, and (best of all) The Fall…we are treated to a dull and stagnant film that goes nowhere. Yes, the costumes by the late Eiko Ishioka are sumptuous and creative but it’s a letdown from what it could have been. The sets look left over from some Bollywood B-movie and the attention to detail seems to have gone out the window. Tarsem, what happened?
At the center of the mediocrity is Roberts woefully miscast as the Evil Queen. America’s Sweetheart seemed like an interesting casting decision and I’m betting the chief reason it was made at all. Without an A-lister like Roberts on board I’m not quite sure the film would have found the financing it needed to get moving. It’s too bad she sucks the life out of every frame. She doesn’t even look like she’s having much fun – she either needed a director that could put her in these gorgeous frocks and encourage her to play or she needed to find it within herself to let loose and just go Joan Crawford on the role. As it is, she rides the fence for much of the running length and seems to be attempting an English accent when she feels like it. The worst part? We aren’t even given the satisfaction of a good comeuppance at the end. How much better would the movie have played if someone like Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock or, heck, even Meg Ryan been in the role? It’s too bad we’ll never know.
It’s not helped that she has a Snow White that dies on the vine as played with zero charisma by mouth breather Collins. As her dad might sing…she does not have “the Invisible Touch”. I’ve sat through several of these performances by Collins and again wonder if someone like Felicity Jones would have made a better Snow. Hammer is serviceable as the hapless Prince Charming but even he looks a little embarrassed at what he is put through during the course of the film. Several other character actors (including the dwarves) don’t make much of an impression…or at least not enough to warrant naming any names.
The worst offense comes at the end when the film turns into a poorly sung Bollywood musical (guess they too thought the sets looked like the right fit)…if the singing doesn’t send you running out of the theater then you are made of stronger stuff than I.
A wasted opportunity of a movie, this is the first really awful movie I’ve seen in 2012.