Wednesday, March 28, 2012

MIRROR MIRROR - Cheeky And Fun

MIRROR MIRROR (fantasy spoof)
Cast: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Sean Bean, Nathan Lane, Mare Winningham, Michael Lerner, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba and Ronald Lee Clark
Director: Tarsem Singh
Screenplay: Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller (original story by Brothers Grimm)
Time: 106 mins
Rating: *  *  *  (out of 4)

Julia Roberts as the Queen and Lily Collins as Snow White

PREAMBLE: Mirror Mirror is what happens when the classic Snow White And The Seven Dwarves is retold and updated in modern day terms of political and gender correctness. Oh yes, and with its tongue firmly in cheek. Directed by Tarsem Singh Dhandwar (who gave us The Immortals), the movie is also a spoof of the Grimm Fairy Tale with nods to The Next Karate Kid, The Devil Wears Prada and Dungeons and Dragons.

For me, however, the best part of Mirror Mirror is reflected in the closing credits when Tarsem seems to let loose his pent-up creativity in a rousing Bollywood number!

Snow White (Collins) and the Seven Dwarves

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Narrated in by the evil Stepmother Queen (Julia Roberts) herself, we find the Once-Upon-A-Time kingdom with its king (Sean Bean) "missing, presumed dead", and Snow White (Lily Collins) being locked up in the castle while the Queen has the run of the kingdom. When Snow White runs off and meets a band of outlaws in the woods, a chain of events is set in motion resulting in her meeting the Prince Alcott of Valencia (Armie Hammer). He, in turn is brought before the Queen, who schemes to marry him for his money, having bankrupted her own realm. To make sure Snow White doesn't represent a threat to her vanity - as her magic mirror warns - she orders her top henchman (Nathan Lane) to have Snow White killed.

HITS & MISSES: The first thing that Tarsem does to loosen up his audience is to have Roberts do a self-deprecating intro to the story. Indeed, Roberts can be devilishly charming as the evil Queen - and we warm up to her readily. This is essential, considering that most of the public are used to TV spoofs of classic fairy tales, like Grimm and Once Upon A Time.

Collins is pretty, feisty and spunky - setting a new fashion trend in dark, bushy eyebrows. Like Roberts, we warm up to her readily too, just as we do to Prince Alcott, who appears shirtless in a number of scenes. The seven dwarves seem to have come from the set of Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland - and, as expected, they provide the customary comic relief with their individual peculiarities. Forget Sleepy and Grumpy, their names have been revised to more realistic ones like, Napoleon, Grimm, Half-Pint, Chuckles, Butcher, Wolf and Grub - and Tarsem even tells us what happens to them in the 'ever-after' at the closing credits.

If anything, Tarsem is a master at 'visual assaults' and here he has a fine time with the costumes of the cast at the Queen's many balls and parties and at the wedding. The story is uneven and campy; the plot is flawed at times but there is a sense of irreverent fun throughout the movie - as expressed by the irrepressible Nathan Lane as Brighton. Now, let's wait and see what Snow White And The Huntsman has to offer next.
It's Snow White with an Attitude and its own take on vanity and courage.


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