Mirror, Mirror | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Mirror, Mirror 

Overblown spectacle can't save this fairy-tale retread

Who's the fairest? Evil stepmom and queen (Julia Roberts), with Princess Snow (Lily Collins)

Who's the fairest? Evil stepmom and queen (Julia Roberts), with Princess Snow (Lily Collins)

Tarsem Singh blows the dust off a classic tale, rebooting Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as Mirror, Mirror. Singh (The Cell, The Fall) is partial to lavish sets and costumes, color-saturated production and plenty of style-in-lieu-of-story, and this film delivers that and not much more.

Its prime attraction will surely be Julia Roberts as the evil queen who banishes Snow White (Lily Collins) to the forest, and your enjoyment of this film may rest on how entertaining you find Miz Roberts' endless vamping and preening. I found the performance distractingly showy and lacking bite.

As was much of the film: Mirror felt like one of the lesser Shrek outings, except with live actors. It's time to shelve the "modern" fairy-tale genre, with its played-out checklist of snarky jokes, contemporary politics and self-congratulatory "strong female protagonists," who are still just simpering princesses pining for princes.

The costumes are surely grand, but that's the easy part. Much harder is delivering a fresh and funny take on old story. (I cringed when the film opened with an overwrought Battleship joke.) Mirror, Mirror floats in some uneasy space between for-kids and for-adults, and perhaps that's the moral of the story: Nobody should bother seeing it.


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