Winter is coming. Or rather, it's already arrived in Hollywood, seen in the lack of creative ideas for new movies. There are two remakes of 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [sic] coming out this year- the gritty Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror.
I went into Mirror Mirror with the same disdain most audiences will have. Our perception will already be tainted by Hollywood's lame attempt at an original idea along with the terrible casting choice of Julia Roberts as the evil queen. But please, let me put your mind to rest. Mirror Mirror is not terrible but is in fact a fun, family-friendly, purportedly-feminist take of an antiquated fairytale.
The first 15 minutes drags on a little as you get used to Julia Roberts's depiction of the evil queen, as well as to the poor choice of using CGI puppets instead of the much-better stop-motion method.
By the time the first 30 minutes pass and you let Mirror Mirror's stereotypical modern fairytale nature get past its awkward phase, the film becomes a fun and romantic action-adventure.
The film does its best to develop its characters, like transitioning Snow White from a timid shut-in to confident leader, but fails to do this- partly because of the plot's lack of attention to logical time flow and the acting inexperience of Lily Collins (who plays Snow White). Her character, however, manages to give both explicit and subconscious nods to pro-feminist heroines without feeling shoehorned into the same mould.
Mirror Mirror's seven dwarves have more personality than their 1937 counterparts. Most of the film's screen time, however, was given to Julia Roberts. This is, of course, extremely ironic as her character's vanity leaks into the film's production.
The existence of many trailers proclaiming the film's "Roberts-ness" may give the impression that Mirror Mirror is little more than another pay cheque for the renowned actress, but she delivers a surprisingly palatable performance.
You know the twins from The Social Network? Turns out they're actually one guy- Armie Hammer, to be precise. Hammer is unrecognizable as Prince Alcott, to the point that he looks like a skinnier, younger Jason Segel. Like most fairytales, "Prince Charming" is not given much development and Hammer does his best to work with the role he has been given.
Though Collins's inexperience shows, she does quite well as Snow White. And I can't end a review without mentioning what a pleasure it was to see Nathan Lane acting in a film again, as well as not playing his normal excessive characters. Sean Bean makes a great cameo, and for once he plays a character that doesn't die by the end.
If you go into this film wanting a modernized Snow White fairytale, prepare to be disappointed. The film is more of an amalgamation of Snow White and Cinderella, with the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland thrown in. But it works, and it works well.