Sunday, 14 August 2016

Weekend TV Movie Review: Mirror Mirror - Film4 (2012)

Mirror Mirror
2012
Cast: Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Sean Bean 
Genre: Adventure Comedy Fantasy
Estimated Worldwide Gross: $183 million

Plot: After a beloved King vanishes, his ruthless wife seizes control of the kingdom and keeps her beautiful 18-yr-old step-daughter, Snow White, hidden away in the palace. But when the princess attracts the attention of a charming & wealthy visiting prince, the jealous Queen banishes the girl to a nearby forest. Taken in by a band of rebellious but kindhearted dwarves, Snow White blossoms into a brave young woman determined to save her country from the Queen. With the support of her new friends, she roars into action to reclaim her birthright and win back her Prince 





'Julia Roberts's Impressive Turn Isn't Enough To Lift Mirror Mirror Over Above Average Status'

Mirror Mirror is a modern retelling of the classic Disney tale, Snow White & the Seven Dwarves with the characters being virtually the same as they were in the animated feature, yet Snow White is a little more independent and more than capable of holding her own against the evil godmother, played by Julia Roberts. Julia Roberts is an actress that I like a lot - even though I'm not really into most of her movies apart from Hook, The Pelican Brief, Erin Brockovich to name but a few. 

It's a little weird for me to see Julia Roberts in this role as the antagonist, Queen Clementianna, having seen her as Tinkerbell in Hook. Much like with Robin Williams, I don't really picture her as a villain type: I'm more used to them playing hero and protagonist characters with good intentions & thus, they are clearly much more effective that way. Funnily enough, this is the first time that she (and Robin Williams) has portrayed 2 different Disney-based characters: herself as Tinkerbell in Hook, & here as Queen Clementianna with Robin having played Peter Pan in Hook and voicing the Genie in Aladdin. 

But at least this is not another romantic comedy, which is good to see. 

Here's another interesting fact: the Mirror Queen character is none other than Lisa Roberts Gillian, Julia Roberts's real-life twin sister, how's about that eh?



Performance-wise, Nathan Lane and Julia Roberts were terrific; though she divides a lot of people and is not a lot of people's favourite performer for various reasons, with most of them in relation to her other films, Roberts here clearly shows she can be a very good character actress as the evil antagonist, Queen Clementianna, which is an interesting turn of form in contrast to her usual rom-com antics. Even if I still stand by my argument that she cannot play an out and out evil person exceedingly well; but here, she did pull it out of the bag, due to her knack for comedy. Thanks to her other roles in fluffy romcoms and Nathan Lane is quirky and occasionally amusing. Lily Collins is all right - she reminds me of a younger Anne Hathaway. 

There was a moment where her (Roberts as the Queen) face is smeared with bird excrement, which was strange and foul at the same time. Here, the humour in this fantasy comedy was inconsistent: some of it worked, some of it didn't and also there wasn't very much of it. 

The film looks amazing; visually, it kind of reminds me of Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland, both movies starring Johnny Depp: that out-of-this-world, artistic, imaginative surreal fairy-tale look that is weird but eye-catching as well. And the costumes are excellent. 

Is it a film I'd watch all the time? No, and compared to other tellings and versions of Disney movies, Mirror Mirror isn't on par with 1991's Hook. Despite the impressive visuals, the film and the story lack substance and plus, it doesn't have enough edge-of-your-seat and wow moments to warrant a purchase. 

Compared to Hook as a fantasy action adventure, this movie is a missed opportunity and isn't anywhere near as good - the characters aren't as interesting (though Julia Roberts does have a much bigger role here than in Hook) and the script isn't as strong. Action scenes are very few and far between and it also lacks suspense. Yet the idea to opt for a musical approach is baffling, and one that didn't do the film much justice, either.  

But for the Queen and Nathan Lane's character, & not forgetting Snow White's showings, the rest of the characters were pretty forgettable. But it is still enjoyable, in a cute way and although it is a comedy, it's not a farce comedy of any kind. There were some amusing moments and despite the impressive visuals, the film itself did have some ordinary moments and it did drag on in places. Though the Bollywood ending, as unusual as it was, was a nice touch. 




Summary:



Pros +

 - Interesting performance by Julia Roberts as the antagonist

 - Visually and aesthetically, it looks breathtaking 

Cons


- Bland and dull story and script
- Characters aren't very interesting 
- Not very exciting or enjoyable enough 
- Nowhere near as good as Steven Spielberg's Hook
- Musical approach wasn't ideal 


Final Verdict:

Mirror Mirror is an average fantasy comedy, which isn't anything mind-blowing and that despite some of the impressive casting is let down by a not so impressive script, less intriguing characters and lack of excitement and interesting moments. Given the casting, I'd expected way more out of this film, but I just didn't get it. It's a bit of a shame really because I really wanted to love this effort: that and I expected this to be another non-rom-com movie of Julia Roberts that I'd enjoy of hers. & yet sadly, a few of its flaws meant it just wasn't meant to be. 

If this film didn't operate as a musical but as a standalone fantasy action comedy with a funnier and tighter script, more interesting moments and better protagonist leads, Mirror Mirror would be even better. 

The film is barely tolerable but not one I would own on DVD, and though Julia Roberts gives a really good account of herself here, you can give me Tinkerbell from Hook anytime over Queen Clementianna. 



Overall: 





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