She may have hair as black as night, skin as white as snow and there’s definitely a red apple involved, but Tarsem Singh’s adaptation of the fairy tale classic shows Snow White as you’ve never seen her before. Starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins and Armie Hammer as the Evil Queen, Snow White and Prince Alcott respectively, Singh brings a refreshingly modern twist to a classic tale. It’s often difficult to reinvent the story that has become the definitive children’s narrative, but, in this case, a little magic, a sparkling cast and a sprinkle of humour makes for a re-telling with a difference.
Perhaps the most interesting twist to the tale lies in the casting of Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen. Whilst no novice to the business of fairy tales (having played Tinkerbell in Hook over 20 years ago) it’s a rare occurrence to see Roberts playing the villain of a tale. It might initially feel somewhat strange to see such a well-loved face dripping with sarcasm and evil plots – it seems even the costume department can’t make Roberts ugly all the time – but she pulls the role off with surprising ease and a consistent vein of humour running through the film softens the blow slightly.
Whilst including all of the essential ingredients for a magical tale, Mirror, Mirror certainly has some interesting plot additions up its sleeve. Whilst still fitting firmly in the ‘films for families’ bracket, lavish amounts of humour, snappy dialogue and even the occasional bad word definitely help to give a sense of Snow White for grown-ups. It’s possible you could predict a modern adaptation where the Princess is a lot less likely to lie back and simply be rescued, but you’re definitely less likely to predict Prince Charming accidentally stumbling into the arms of the Evil Queen and a team of mentoring dwarves that act more like a combat team.
Yet at the same time it seems hard to imagine a fairy tale without lavish surroundings and Mirror, Mirror does not fail to disappoint. From snowy forests and wondrous castles to ball gowns and dwarfs teaching you how to dress, Mirror, Mirror pulls out all the stops with a beautiful array of costumes and scenery to entice everyone. While perhaps not the version recommended for fairy tale purists, Mirror, Mirror promises to be an action-packed tale filled with laugher and magic for the whole family.