HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8900[/img]Title: Mirror Mirror
Starring: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane
Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Written by: Jason Keller, Marc Klein
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 106 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: June 26th, 2012
HTS Overall Score:79
“Mirror Mirror” lives up to it names in spades. It is literally the reverse mirror image of just about every other Snow White story known to man. While it came out around the same time as “Snow White and the Huntsman,” it is devoid of any of the angst and dark drama of its more popular opponent. Instead of dealing with the cruel and terrible horrors of the queen, we are regaled with snarky quips and pop culture references galore. “Mirror Mirror” thrives upon its stunning visuals (a signature trait of director Tarsem Singh) and its major redeeming factor: the story, newcomer Lily Collins, and everything about the picture is just plain “cute."
We’re all familiar with the story of Snow White. The big, bad queen usurps the throne from her newly married husband and keeps Snow White (the King’s daughter) locked away in the palace while she rules with a cruel and iron hand. “Mirror Mirror” follows the same basic storyline, but without the dread and “evil” showing through nearly as much. The Queen (Julia Roberts) leads a life of extravagance and debauchery fueled by the taxes of her poverty ridden subjects. Surrounded by pompous bureaucrats, including her advisor Brighton (played by the fantastic Nathan Lane) who is nothing but a yes man, she searches for the next young nobleman to marry and finance her extravagant lifestyle. Fortunately for her, she is visited by young prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), recently robbed by bandits, who is wealthy beyond belief and dashingly handsome. Sensing her next victim, the Queen begins to latch her claws into him only to have the prince turn his gaze upon Snow White (Lily Collins). In a fit of fury, the Queen sets out to punish Snow White by sending her into the woods, escorted by the bumbling boot-licker Brighton, to be murdered by a man-eating "beast." Unable to complete the dreadful task, Brighton turns her loose and lies to the queen in order to save his hide. While the Queen revels in her victory, Snow White is taken in by a group of bandits... who happen to be seven dwarves. Instead of keeping the more famously known dwarven names, we have “Half-pint,” “Wolf," “Butcher," “Napolean," “Chuck" (short for Chuckles), “Grub,” and “Grimm," each with their own unique and endearing personalities. Or perhaps not so endearing. Snow White ends up turning these bandits into her lap puppies, and they in turn teach her how to stand up for herself during the ensuing, and predictable, battle to usurp the Queen and have Snow White regain the throne that is rightfully hers.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8899[/img]As I said, we’ve seen it all before. The thing that makes “Mirror Mirror” stand out is the fact that it is a reverse mirror image of all the other Snow White tales out there. It stands unique as part parody and part whimsical comedy. Being a Tarsem Singh film, I expected a film devoid of ANY story whatsoever and completely overshadowed by the visuals. I do admit that the visuals are typical Tarsem, bright and gaudy with a unique filming style that no one else can seem to replicate, however, this time, he seems to be able to tell a coherent story instead of regale us with nonsensical images and plotlines that have no real bearing on the major plotline. It’s not perfect, but “Mirror Mirror” travels along its simple storyline while introducing several new “twists” along the way, in an enjoyable fashion, of course. Tarsem mainly succeeds by giving the story such a snarky tone that it’s impossible to take the film seriously, and luckily for us, the story doesn’t take itself seriously either. Julia Roberts hams it up as the ludicrous queen, and Lily Collins falls into the role of the darling young princess so well that it’s easy to overlook the two dimensionality of the characters. Sometimes it’s better to just revel in the sheer simplicity of something and enjoy it for what it is than for what it is not. Sure, the script is pedestrian and limited in its dimensionality, but that is overshadowed by its sheer adorableness. “Mirror Mirror” revels in its lovable façade of a fairy tale. It is something for the young ones, or at least those of us who enjoy being young at heart.
Rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8902[/img]Tarsem films have a very unique flair to them: colors are bright and almost intrusive, costumes are garish but never seem out of place, and style most CERTAINLY trumps substance. "Mirror Mirror" is no exception to these rules. The colors literally explode off the screen in a veritable cornucopia of reds, blues, greens and other impressively displayed primary colors. with such coloring there was nary a hint of banding or the famous black crush that one might see in darker scenes. One thing that was a distraction seemed to be a shifting of color tint between light and dark scenes. Seemingly tinted pink, the image would shift to a green tint and then back again between scene shifts. At first I was wondering if my projector was going wonky on me and began rewinding and playing the scenes over again. Time and time again the color tint would shift on cue, leading me to believe that it is a stylistic choice or post-production effect rather than a problem with the transfer. The only real fault I can see that keeps it from perfection is an apparent softening filter that is overlaid over the entire film that obscures facial detail and "smooths" the picture. Blacks are deep and inky, impressive in every way, and the the film is about as artifact free as one can expect from the use of high-end digital cameras. Tarsem knows how to paint a beautiful picture with his images, and "Mirror Mirror" proves that he hasn't lost his touch in that department.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8898[/img]Not to be outdone, the audio is every bit as impressive as the video score. Vocals are clean and crisp with nary a hint of imbalance. Surrounds are used nicely, and utilized the most in the battle scenes. The melee fight between the dwarves and the castle knights is especially impressive, with swords clashing explosively and snowballs whistling past one's ears so realistically, I sometimes wondered if the impact was outside my window. Bass was incredible - deep and thunderous with no bloating whatsoever. The “Beast’s” tail slapping the ground vibrated my seat and even made my pant legs snap just a tad. The dynamic range was impressive, switching from a soft whisper to the explosive impact of a violent battle scene seamlessly. The audio track is a delight to listen to; every sound is replicated cleanly and clearly and only serves to immerse the viewer in a seductively pleasant auditory experience.
• Deleted Scenes
• Looking Through the Mirror
• I Believe I Can Dance
• Mirror Mirror Storybook
• Prince and Puppies
• Theatrical Trailer
• Sneak Peeks
"Mirror Mirror" is most definitely an acquired taste. Light and fluffy and soaked in cheeky humor, it is a drastic twist on a classic fairy tale, and done Tarsem style. The film will not make you think too hard or dazzle you with brilliant performances, but it will bring a smile to your face if you are in any way a fan of "cute." Even while watching it, I wondered WHY exactly I was enjoying the film as much as I did. In this instance, I believe the style and humor make up for a rather over-done storyline, and the cheeky pop culture references integrate seamlessly where other films have failed. Combine that with an excellent audio/visual experience and it's the recipe for a night of escapism, where one wishes to disengage the brain and just relax amidst a field of bright images and thundering bass rather than something to inspire the contemplative elements within. Overall, I give it a solid rental.
Recommendation: Rent It