"Mirror Mirror" holds the reflecting glass up to a classic fairy tale and the resulting image yields mixed results.
Julia Roberts as The Queen is great fun tearing through the scenery in her gorgeous costumes (the last completed by the late costume designer Eiko Ishioka). The evil queen's mission in life seems to be making Snow White's life miserable.
The Snow White in this revisionist tale is no melting snowflake. Snow White (Lilly Collins, "Abduction," 2011; "The Blind Side," 2009, and a daughter of Phil Collins and his second wife Jill Tavelman), is a spunky Audrey Hepburn lookalike and more protagonist than victim.
The live-action "Mirror Mirror" (with Computer Generated Imagery for certain outdoors scenes, battling wooden puppets and a dog-bird-dragon creature) is much different from the familiar Walt Disney 1937 animated version of "Snow White the Seven Dwarves"
'Mirror Mirror" director Tarsem Singh ("Immortals," 2011; "The Fall," 2006: "The Cell," 2000) brings a vivid palette to the swordplay, wisecracking dialogue and castle and wedding scenes.
The screenplay by Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller ("Machine Gun Preacher," 2011) is based on the 1812 fairy tale by Germany's Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Many elements in Grimm's "Schneewittchen und die sieben Zwerge" are retained, including the magic mirror and seven dwarves.
The magic mirror becomes a portal whereby the Queen emerges from a lake to a walkway and hut of multiple mirrors. Sometimes, different and more is not better.
The dwarves have different names from the Disney version. Instead of Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey, there are Napoleon (Jordan Prentice), Half Pint (Mark Povinelli), Grub (Joe Gnoffo), Grimm (Danny Woodburn), Wolf (Sebastian Saraceno), Butcher (Martin Klebba) and Chuckles (Ronald Lee Clark), acting more like the randy dwarves in "Under the Rainbow" (1981), the fictionalized movie about the making of "The Wizard of Oz."
Armie Hammer (Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, "The Social Network") as Prince Alcott is very pleasant, perhaps too pleasant, and makes less of an impression than one would like.
Broadway star Nathan Lane has some funny moments as Brighton, the Queen's aide de camp.
"Mirror Mirror" should be of chief interest to children 10 and under.
It would seem to be less dark, more in the style of "The Princess Bride" (1987) than what one anticipates of this summer's release, "Snow White and the Huntsman," starring Kristen Stewart ("Twilight") as Snow White, Charlize Theron as the Wicked Queen and Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman.
"Mirror Mirror," MPAA Rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children) for some fantasy action and mild rude humor; Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Romance; Run Time: 1 hour, 46 min.; Distributed by Relativity Media.
Credit Readers Anonymous: Lily Collins sings "I Believe in Love" in a Bollywood-inspired production number during "Mirror Mirror" closing credits.
Box Office, March 30: "The Hunger Games" again took a huge bite out of the box office, No. 1 for a second week in a row with $61.1 million, $251 million, two weeks, keeping "Wrath of the Titans" opening at No. 2, $34.2 million, and "Mirror Mirror," opening at No. 3, $19 million;
4. "21 Jump Street," $15 million, $93.1 million, three weeks; 5. "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," $8 million, $189.6 million, five weeks; 6. "John Carter," $2 million, $66.2 million, four weeks; 7. "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, $1.2 million, $3.1 million, four weeks ; 8. "Act of Valor," $1 million, $67.7 million, six weeks; 9. "A Thousand Words," $915,000, $16.5 million, four weeks; 10. "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," $835,000, $98.4 million, eight weeks.
"American Reunion," R: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott and Chris Klein are back for more slices of the "Pie."
"Titanic," PG-13: James Cameron resurfaces from his record-breaking solo deep-sea diving record for the 3-D re-release of the 1997 movie that made Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet superstars and Cameron King Neptune.
Hear Paul Willistein's movie reviews on Lehigh Valley Arts Salon, 6 - 6:30 p.m. Mondays, WDIY 88.1 FM, www.wdiy.org, Lehigh Valley Community Public Radio. Read previous movie reviews at www.tnonline.com. Email Paul Willistein at: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook.
Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes