Original review featured on the Doha Film institute website.
Stars: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer
Running Time: 106 min
Snow White’s mother dies at birth and she is raised with love and care by her father, the king (Sean Bean). She is eventually to take charge of the kingdom. The old man is bewitched and has married the evil queen (Julia Roberts) who takes control of the realm after the king has mysteriously disappeared in the woods. The devilish queen’s is obsessed with her beauty and plots to get rid of Snow White (Lily Collins) by sending her into exile.
This year is Snow White’s come-back with two films being released back to back, “Mirror Mirror” and “Snow White and the Huntsman”. Both feature two attractively malevolent queens, the radiant Julia Roberts and Charlize Theron.
With Tarsem Singh attached to “Mirror Mirror”, we know that we are going to see some sort of visual spectacle. The Director of “The Fall” and “The Cell” drags us into scenes with lavish costumes, and the characters are hilarious at times in their big fluffy outfits. We meet a prince in rabbit clothing attending a ball, and a whole zoo of costumes transforms the party into a manifestation of Halloween.
Singh stresses the contrasts of colors, dominating the cinematography by black and white. The trick also works as a metaphor for good and evil as the queen and Snow White battle. Julia Roberts gives a magnificent performance as the queen. She combines beauty, psychosis, wit and charm in equal measure.
The reinvention of the 1937 classic fairytale breaks a lot of stereotypes in selling the image of a beautiful but helpless woman, waiting for the kiss of the prince to save her. This version has several memorable lines – including “Snow Waaaay” and a barking prince. Tarsem has used his own magic to create a refreshing look to the children’s classic. Snow White now has an army to take matters into her own hands, and saves the prince on several occasions… now that’s a first for a female storybook character.
In this reimagining, the dwarfs are actually thieves who fall under the charm of Snow White and make her their leader. She is less of a follower and more of an independent woman. She breaks free from the prison she’s been banished to by the evil Queen, and uses her beauty for a cause. A thief herself, her mission is to return tax money to a kingdom drained by poverty.
But what’s even more important is that the film manages to talk to the whole family. Children will enjoy it because it keeps to the tradition of fairytales. And instead of dressing in pink dresses and hair ribbons while dreaming Prince Charming, they’ll be jumping around with a sword doing a funky dance