Mirror Mirror: Blu-ray & DVD

Tuesday, 31 July 2012 00:00 Written by 

 

Mirror, Mirror - Out now on Blu-ray & DVD“Mirror, Mirror” is a stylish retelling of the legend of Snow White, released at a time when fairy tales are all the rage. On our TV screens, the second seasons of Grimm and Once Upon a Time are in the works whilst in the cinemas, “Snow White and the Huntsman” was a big enough success to spawn a sequel. Audiences the world over, it seems, are hankering for colourful stories of evil queens, handsome princes and monsters beyond imagining.

In this movie, Julia Roberts is cast against type as the self-obsessed Queen who always has to be the centre of attention. Of course, the Queen does not count on her stunning daughter in law, Snow White (Lily Collins – “Priest”) outshining her magically-enhanced beauty. It is not long before Brighton, her royal aid (Nathan Lane – “The Producers”, “Mousehunt”) is dispatched to murder the naive princess on her 18th birthday.

As tradition has it, the dastardly act is not carried out and Snow White falls in with a bunch of dwarves, who take the fair maiden under their collective wing. In “Mirror, Mirror”, the dwarves are a bunch of concertina-stilt-wearing bandits, albeit ruffians who believe they only ever steal from the rich. Their acrobatic antics are easily the most captivating aspect of the film, and the notion of ‘giant dwarves’ certainly raises a few chuckles.

Armie Hammer (“The Social Network”, Reaper) is the charming Prince Alcott, a man who seems to spend more time in his smalls than fully dressed. A case of love at first sight is scuppered by the Queen’s determination to marry the rich Prince, no matter what the cost. The Queen, you see, has bled her kingdom dry, and lusts after the Prince’s wealth whilst the pleas of her starving people go unheard.

Tarsem Singh (“The Fall”, “Immortals”, “The Cell”) is a director famous for his striking visuals, and “Mirror, Mirror” generally does not disappoint. The costumes by Eiko Ishioka are stunningly detailed and inventive, and often quite outlandish. The sets are majestic and the supernatural creatures featured in the film are superb, the latter including a pair of sinister, giant marionette hit men and a hybrid beast that haunts the woods. The only disappointment on the visual front is the royal palace, which from an exterior perspective looks relatively underwhelming.

The film hurtles along at a fair old pace and tries to keep the tone fun and buoyant. The first half does struggle somewhat to strike the right balance, and many of the gags fall flat. The characters also take some warming to, but thankfully the strong second half goes a long way to patching up the cracks and hits the mark time after time.

Collins is definitely the jewel of the piece, perfectly capturing the requisite combination of vulnerability, innocent beauty and spunky determination. Roberts feels slightly miscast or perhaps does not quite embrace her evil side enough to fully convince, whilst Hammer struggles to flesh out the handsome but flawed Prince. By the end, the characters do form a cuddly unit so it is a shame they take some time to bond.

Despite its weaknesses I do recommend “Mirror, Mirror”. It will appeal to kids and adults alike, it looks great and has enough exciting set pieces to keep everyone entertained.

The DVD version reviewed comes with quite slight bonus features – a 13 minute making-of, a brief but wonderfully daft skit about one of the key characters’ relationship to puppy dogs, and a trailer. The making-of is decent enough, but Blu-ray customers get much more meat on their bones including a whole slew of extra featurettes, deleted scenes, an alternate opening and a storybook.

“Mirror Mirror” (2012) is out now, courtesy of Studiocanal. The film has a running time of 95 minutes approx, carries a ‘PG’ certificate and retails for £19.99 on DVD, £24.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

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