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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 12, 2012

Mirror Mirror Movie Review:  A Fantasy Adventure Mainly For Kid Viewers

IF ‘MIRROR MIRROR’ was made during her heydays as America’s Sweetheart, Julia Roberts would have played Snow White in this reinvention of the favorite Grimm fairy tale. But since she’s now a mom and her recent films like “Larry Crowne”, “Duplicity” and “Eat Pray Love” didn’t do so well at the tills, she now plays the role of the evil queen named Clementianna.

But the most riveting characters in “Mirror Mirror” (which was released ahead in Manila and just opened in the U.S.) are actually the seven dwarfs, played by midgets, just like in the local version made by LVN Pictures in the 50s, “Si Marita at ang Pitong Duwende”, where “unanos” played the role of the dwarfs with Marita Zobel, still a teenager then and now playing grandma roles. Instead of being miners just like in the Disney cartoon version where they sing “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, from home to work we go”, they now play bandits in the forest who pretend to be giants by standing on stilts.

In the updated story, Snow White (played by Lily Collins, the daughter of singer Phil Collins) has been a prisoner in her own kingdom since her widowed dad, the king, married the evil queen (Julia) then suddenly went missing. The handsome Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer, “The Social Network”, “J. Edgar”) sees Snow White and falls in love with her. But evil queen wants him for herself as she has gone bankrupt and wants his riches for herself. She tells him Snow White is dead and makes him drink a potion for him to fall for her instead.

Envious of Snow’s beauty and goodness, the queen then orders her henchman, Brighton (Nathan Lane), to kill her but Brighton lets Snow White escape instead. In the dark forest, she meets the seven dwarf thieves and becomes their leader in her efforts to get back her kingdom.

The movie will appeal mainly to kid viewers, as a fantasy-adventure with it great visuals, fabulous costumes, stunning sets and thrilling swordfights.

Lily Collins is adequate as the princess turned warrior, but she doesn’t really make much of an impression. Julia fares better, mixing the right tone of campiness and menace in her interpretation of the evil queen role.

Armie Hammer is ideal in the prince charming role who becomes the damsel in distress needing rescue after Julia puts a spell on him and he starts acting like a puppy. The midget actors all do a fine comic job as the thieving dwarfs.

Kid viewers will surely enjoy this version of Snow White. The movie’s director is Tarsem Singh, who made “Mirror Mirror” with a surer sense of style compared to his last movie, the very boring “The Immortals”. And since he’s of Indian ancestry, he ends the movie with a sprightly musical Bollywood number.

Later this year, there will be a darker version of “Snow White” starring Kirsten Stewart of the “Twilight” series and with another Oscar-winning actress as the evil queen, Charlize Theron. Let’s see which one will be a better reimagining of the endearing fairy tale.