Mirror Mirror is the first of the two mainstream films that are based upon the story of Snow White (the other being Snow White and the Huntsman). The first and equally moderately well received Snow White stars Lily Collins as Snow White who, having lost her mother during childbirth, soon loses her father thus having to be raised by the Queen (Julia Roberts). During a small stroll in the woods, Snow White comes across a prince (Armie Hammer) tied upside down to a tree, Snow White frees him allowing him to travel onwards to White’s kingdom in bid to offer Julia Roberts’ Queen a deal of some sort. The Queen, liking Prince Alcott’s (Hammer) hairy chest (she should see mine *growls sexually*), and the fact that he is stinking rich, decides to marry him. Meanwhile, Snow White discovers that the city is not the vibrant place it was once was, and after her performance at the ball, Snow White is banished from the kingdom. Snow White enlists the help of seven dwarfs to save the kingdom from evil queen.
Like many films in Tarsem Singh’s filmography Mirror Mirror is great to look at, but it is all glitz and glamour and very shallow in the way of depth. Yet high marks go to the visuals as the ice glitters and gleams in the sun and the brilliantly designed customs are glorious, but this visual splendour can only go so far as the film struggles to maintain a flowing narrative. It does not particularly help that Lilly Collins is rather bland in the lead role as she is unable to give a performance of any effective emotional weight, and Julia Roberts’ performance doesn’t seem pantomime enough, although Armie Hammer is perfectly fine in his role, he was out staged by the supporting cast.
While the central performances are lacking, the supporting performance are not. Nathan Lane is often the butt of the jokes, but he does generate a respectable number of laughs, and the guys who played the Seven Dwarfs (some of them you may recognize from Pirates of the Caribbean and In Bruges) share a great chemistry, which made the scenes involving the Seven Dwarfs the most entertaining. It seems that Mirror Mirror is a film saved from being an utter disaster from the supporting cast and the crew as Singh’s storytelling is never free flowing and consistent, and neither is it greatly interesting, but Mirror Mirror may not be as bad as one may expect.
James McTeigue’s film is not an adaptation of any of Poe’s works, but a fictional telling of his final days, which revolve around a serial killer who is taking inspiration from the novels of Edgar Allen Poe (John Cusack) in conducting his murders. Poe becomes more involved than he would have wished when the killer kidnaps his lover Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve). James McTeigue can make a good film as he has proved with V for Vendetta, but his two latest outputs are less than popular. McTeigue is a competent visual director as The Raven proves, it is efficiently made with elements of tension and gothic chills, but he is let down by a fairly poor script which often has the actors shouting ‘EMILY!!!!!’ at the top of their voices. John Cusack hams it up spectacularly in the lead role, as well as being rather unconvincing in displaying his character's range of emotions, Luke Evans fails to overcome his bland characterisation, and Brendan Gleeson has done better work than playing a cliche. Again, the film is visually impressive, but the best bits of Ben Livingston and Kate Shakespeare’s script are taken from the works of Poe.