Today: July 22, 2024

Mirror Mirror

Ever since Disney brought

Snow White to life in his first animated feature back in 1934, the film
industry has been tinkering with – and in Disney’s case, sanitising – the
classic European fairy tales.
In recent years we’ve seen fairy tales take
divergent paths, with filmmakers either exploring the stories’ darker, gothic
roots or following the Shrek effect
of making fun of the legacy, and this year, Snow White seems to have straddled
both those cinematic paths.

 

In that time-honoured tradition of London buses, Snow White also turns
up in the TV series Once Upon a Time,
a modern take on all our favourite childhood characters, cursed to live in
modern Massachusetts, a not dissimilar idea to Grimm, a slightly darker show,
where the characters are living in Oregon and causing mayhem for the locals.

 

Of the feature film releases, the first of the Snow White tales to arrive
in cinemas, and now DVD/Blu-ray, is Mirror, Mirror, from visionary director Tarsem Singh. This incarnation, which
deviates from his previous movies, is very much the family friendly version of
the tale, although far removed from Disney’s classic, and the original story.
There is still a wicked queen, played by a deliciously sardonic Julia Roberts, who is much more fun
than Charlize Theron‘s incomparably
beautiful despot; a handsome prince (Armie
Hammer
– who seems to have studied at the Brendan Fraser school of acting); seven dwarves, who bear a much
closer resemblance to the Time Bandits
than Uncle Walt’s septet, and of course the incomparably beautiful Snow White (Lily Collins – daughter of Phil), whose
eyebrows must join the hall of fame with Frida
Kahlo
, Martin Scorsese and Brooke Shields.

 

As with most contemporary family films, such as those from Pixar and the aforementioned Shrek,
Mirror, Mirror is filled with adult-friendly gags along with the child-pleasing
spectacle. This film actually plays out like a live action animation, and while
it does have its share of CGI effects its real strength comes from the fabulous
costumes, designed by Eiko Ishioka,
that have been the trademark of all Tarsem’s films to date. Apart from the
standout visual style, all of Tarsem’s films have been very different in terms
of story and content and you wonder what his next project will be and what it
will look like following the death of Ishioka earlier this year.

 

While this film will not have the longevity of Disney’s work of art, nor
be a match for Tarsem’s masterpiece The Fall, it is still a thoroughly
entertaining film that will be more popular with audiences than it is with most
critics, who seem to have overlooked the fact that it is a family movie and not
another Tarsem art film. It’s certainly a lot more lighthearted than Snow White
And The Huntsman, which appealed mostly to Twihards, whose cinematic taste
should not be trusted, and Lily Collins is definitely the fairest in the land
compared with the perpetually dour face of Kristen
Stewart
.

 

If you like watching special features then the Blu-ray is for you, but
if you want something to amuse the kids when the inevitable summer rain returns,
or when the endless Olympics TV coverage becomes too much, then get the DVD.

 

 

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