- Running time:
- 106 minutes
- Julia Roberts -
- The Queen
- Lily Collins -
- Snow White
- Armie Hammer -
- Prince Alcott
- Nathan Lane -
- Mare Winningham -
- Baker Margaret
The offbeat visual feast that is Mirror Mirror (* * * out of four, rated PG, opens Friday nationwide), a campy revamp of Snow White, is crystallized in its Bollywood-inspired finale.
With the cast singing about love and dancing en masse, director Tarsem Singh's fantasy ride reaches its most exuberant heights.
Singh (The Fall) brings cheeky humor, an eccentric sensibility and an enchanting look to his re-imagined tale.
At a ball, royal courtiers wear face-painted animal masks and their bodies are draped in vibrantly colored costumes with gigantic puffy bustles, set off by towering wigs. In another scene, a septet of dwarfs wear huge, accordion-style stilts. The distinctively rendered costumes set the stage for outlandish fun.
The film's magical look is its strong suit, along with the gleefully villainous performance by Julia Roberts as Snow White's vain stepmother, the queen. Amoral and petty but wickedly charming, she has held her sweet-natured stepdaughter captive in the castle since the mysterious death of the king (Sean Bean).
Lily Collins plays Snow White with touches of the young Leslie Caron and Audrey Hepburn. Though Snow White is kind, she's not the pushover depicted in the Disney film. This is a fairy tale for youthful audiences who have grown up with empowered heroines from Shrek and Mulan.
White holds her own alongside the strapping Prince of Valencia (Armie Hammer). She also persuades the renegade dwarfs — exiled because of their size — to take her in when she escapes from her palace prison.
Hammer strikes all the right notes as the hunky and somewhat hapless prince. He manages to come off as both a dashing hero and a charming goofball. The queen's cougar-style flirtation with him is a clever twist.
Some of the film's humor falls flat, particularly the lines given Brighton (Nathan Lane), the queen's ever-bullied servant. But one of the funnier scenes involves the effect of a love potion on the prince that renders him a lovesick puppy, slobbering like Fido all over the fastidious queen.
The seven dwarfs have new monikers. Instead of Grumpy or Dopey, they have names such as Half Pint, Chuckles and Grimm. Marginalized by society, they also have a more specific occupation than their Disney counterparts: highway banditry.
In further revisions, the queen's magic mirror doesn't merely proclaim the fairest in the land. She also chides the queen and serves as her conscience. The story adds the element of a beast that lurks in the woods and is used by the nefarious ruler to keep her fearful subjects under her sway.
Mirror Mirror's spectacular production design, inventive costumes and sophisticated visual flair, paired with a sweet message of true love, make for a vividly enjoyable retelling.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Mirror Mirror in Reno.