The apple presented in Relativity Media's retelling of Snow White, "Mirror Mirror," is crisp and fresh, but it does contain a few small worms that partakers should look out for.
The film, directed by Tarsem Singh, begins with a beautiful, whimsical animated sequence that is wittily and bitingly narrated by the queen (played by Julia Roberts) and serves well in catching the audience up with where the story begins.
Snow White (Lily Collins) had a very close relationship with her widowed father, who, shortly after marrying a new queen, disappears, apparently because of a beast in the woods.
We meet Snow on her 18th birthday. She is timid and sweet and ever-so-kind to everyone. And she's the rightful queen. Her stepmother, being aware of this, does her best to keep Snow under her thumb by belittling her and undermining Snow's self-confidence.
Fortunately, Snow's servant friends encourage her to get away from the queen, venture outside the castle and become who she was born to be.
In the woods, Snow meets the handsome and charming, though not much else, Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), who, while seeking adventure, was apprehended by the seven dwarves made giants by walking on accordion-esque stilts.
Snow and Alcott share a moment before going their separate ways; Snow goes to the village and Alcott to the castle.
The queen's excess has driven the kingdom to bankruptcy, so she decides to marry the handsome Alcott. Snow, however, has already won his heart. The queen banishes Snow to the woods, trusting her right-hand man to finish her off, which he can't bring himself to do.
Snow wakes up in the woods in a large, hollow tree-trunk, surrounded by seven short men who were cast out of the village when the queen banished all of the "uglies." When Snow convinces them that the queen has wronged her, too, they agree to let her stay. She softens their hearts as they toughen her up.
"Your weakness," one of them tells her, "is only a weakness if you look at it that way."
While Snow becomes more strong and confident, the queen becomes more desperate. She turns to a love potion and dark magic to try to win the prince's affection and dispose of Snow once and for all before she herself is deposed as queen.
The film is a visual treat. The stylistic cinematography is colorful, and the costumes are gorgeous. The music is not particularly memorable, apart from the song "I Believe" during the credits.
While Snow and Alcott's characters are cheerful and charming, they at times come across as quite flat. Roberts leads the show in a role that gives her a chance to be just a little bit wicked.
The dwarves supply the film with almost all of its heart and humor, and "Mirror Mirror" would have benefited from giving them more screen time.
Small children watching this film will be frightened by a fight sequence involving giant marionettes that laugh creepily as they attack the dwarves and their home.
The film also contains a surprising amount of innuendo, mostly delivered by characters encouraging one another not to "lose (their) pants," but at times is presented more directly.
Fans of fairy tale retellings may want to check this film out, but they shouldn't go into it with too high of hopes.
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