Director: Tarsem Singh
Writers: Jason Keller and Melisa Wallack
Cast: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Mare Winningham and Sean Bean
Studio: Relativity Media

“Mirror Mirror” reinterprets the Snow White legend as a whimsical, lighthearted comedy appropriate for the whole family. Some will inevitably be turned off by this approach, but I found it to be quite pleasant and entertaining. It certainly is easy on the eyes; directed by Tarsem Singh, known for his beautifully offbeat visuals, the film is a triumph of art direction, set decoration, and costume design. The latter is especially prominent. All of the characters are adorned in bold and colorful garments, some flowing and beautiful, others unique and eccentric, all strangely and unexplainably organic-looking.

The aristocratic class in the film seems derived from Van Dyck and Vermeer paintings while the working class dioramas seem to be the handiwork of Brueghel. The costumes— designed by the late Eiko Ishioka — are timeless masterpieces that are equally Vermeer as they are Dior and John Paul Gaultier. The gravity-defying, brightly hued, taffeta and silk creations might even earn Ishioka a posthumous Oscar nomination.

While its costumes have been universally admired, critics have bashed Mirror, Mirror’s slim storyline and awkward screenplay making its box office debut no fairytale. The fairytale genre has become Hollywood’s cherished new trend with successful TV shows such as Once Upon A Time and Grimm; successes like Tangled; a few misses like the rendition of Little Red Riding Hood; and the highly anticipated Snow White and the Huntsman that looks like an apocalyptic version of the tale.

Mirror, Mirror takes liberties with the original Grimm’s fairytale, with a revisionist and female-empowered plot that transforms Snow White from being a helpless heroine who need rescuing, to a Jane Eyre-ish character who becomes emancipated, leaves the limited confines of the castle and learns the way of the world; ultimately rescuing the male protagonist— physical and spiritually. Lily Collins—slightly reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn and bearing no resemblance to her father Phil Collins— plays the congenial Snow White.

The script can be problematic sometimes, especially to one scene when Snow White says to the Prince he had no pants but what she actually meant he was shirtless. The climax twist was underwhelming and enervating. Like I say, Tarsem Singh’s trademarks works best here. The quirky visuals are wonderful. The scene when the Queen’s giant puppets attacks the dwarfs’ home looks great though the editing is kind of messy. At least, the costumes are simply fascinating.

RELEASE DATE: 03/30/2012

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