PLOT (spoiler alert!!!)
Snow White’s mother died in child birth. Her father, the King (Sean Bean), then raised Snow White so that she could rule the kingdom one day. Feeling that she needed a mother, the king married again. His new wife is the Queen (Julia Roberts), the most beautiful woman in the land. One day, the king leaves to fight a great evil that has invaded the land, giving Snow White a golden dagger. He rides off into the forest and never comes back. The Queen rules in his place. Jealous and threatened by Snow White and the people’s devotion to her, the Queen decides that “Snow White must do what snow does best, fall.”
Ten years later Snow White (Lily Collins) is turning eighteen and has spent much of her life locked in the palace. The Queen does not care for her but Snow White is still loved by the palace staff, especially by a kind baker named Margaret (Mare Winningham), who took care of Snow White ever since the King disappeared. Margaret tells Snow White that the kingdom is rightfully hers and that she should go outside and see what has become of her people. Snow White then defies the Queen’s orders and leaves the palace, intent on seeing the conditions of her kingdom. In the forest, she meets Prince Andrew Alcott (Armie Hammer) and his companion Charles Renbock (Robert Emms) who have been robbed by short bandits. She and the Prince are drawn to each other but go their separate ways. Snow White arrives in the town the palace overlooks (which she remembered visiting the town once before with her father), and discovers it is barren and the once-happy people are destitute due to the Queen’s greed. Angered that the Queen has destroyed everything her father worked for, Snow White decides to help the kingdom and overthrow her stepmother.
Prince Alcott finds his way to the palace. The Queen, realizing he comes from a wealthy kingdom, hatches a plot to get him to marry her so she can solve her financial problems. She hosts a ball in honor of the Prince and goes to great lengths to make herself as beautiful as possible. Snow White secretly attends the ball planning to ask the prince, whom she believes she has not met, to help her restore the kingdom. She and Alcott learn the truth about each other when they are partnered in a dance. Smitten, Prince Alcott makes sure that Snow White stays by his side which the Queen notices. The Queen has Snow White seized by her guards, and Snow White (for the first time in her life) stands up to her stepmother and tells her she has no right to rule as she does. Seeing Snow White as the threat she always feared she would be, The Queen orders her manservant Brighton (Nathan Lane) to take the princess into the forest and feed her to the Beast that lives there. Brighton takes Snow White to the forest, but is unable to kill her. He releases her and tells her to run. Snow White flees the Beast (Frank Welker) and collapses at the door to the Seven Dwarfs’ house.
The Queen goes to her Magic Mirror, a portal to a bleak and barren world that contains a house full of mirrors. Within the mirrors lives the Queen’s reflection (Lisa Roberts Gillan) who is much wiser, kinder, and somewhat younger than her. She gives advice to the Queen when she asks for it. The Queen requests a love potion so she can make the Prince fall in love with her. The Mirror Queen repeatedly warns her that there is a price for using dark magic, but the Queen refuses to listen. Back in the forest, Snow White wakes up to find herself surrounded by the dwarfs Grimm (Danny Woodburn), Butcher (Martin Klebba), Wolf (Sebastian Saraceno), Napoleon (Jordan Prentice), Half Pint (Mark Povinelli), Grub (Joe Gnoffo), and Chuck (Ronald Lee Clark) who is nicknamed “Chuckles” because he is always laughing. After much debate, they agree to let her stay with them for one night.
The Queen levies another tax against the people to pay for the parties she throws for Prince Alcott. Brighton is sent to collect and is informed by the town magistrate that the people can not tolerate much more. On the way back to the palace, the dwarfs rob Brighton and steal the tax money. When Snow White finds out that the Dwarves are thieves and that the stolen money belongs to the townspeople, she is angry. The Dwarfs explain that no one stood up for them years earlier when the Queen expelled them from the kingdom because she thought they were ugly. Thus, they feel no guilt for stealing. Snow White sneaks away while they are distracted to return the money. The townspeople are overjoyed to have their money back and Snow White lets the Dwarves take credit for it, earning them the people’s acceptance and gratitude. The Dwarves agree that Snow White can stay permanently if she agrees to become a thief like them. She agrees, but only if they can steal from the Queen and give back to the people.
Meanwhile, the Queen informs Alcott that Snow White is dead and attempts to get him to marry her only to be interrupted by Brighton. When the Prince finds out that the bandits have robbed Brighton, he goes after them unaware of the awful things the Queen has done. In the forest, Alcott discovers that Snow White is not only alive, but in league with the bandits. Each believing the other to be in the wrong, Snow White and Alcott duel. Alcott returns to the Palace defeated and informs the Queen that Snow White is alive and in league with the bandits that stole her money.
The Queen consults her Magic Mirror again and demands that the Mirror Queen punish Brighton for lying to her. The Mirror Queen turns him into a cockroach and tells the Mirror Queen to use its magic to kill Snow White. Despite the Mirror’s warning about using dark magic, the Queen (blinded by hatred) agrees to accept whatever consequences her actions may bring. She uses a love potion to make the Prince fall in love with her, like what she did to Snow White’s father but with unintended results (she accidentally used a potion called Puppy love which causes the Prince to act like a devoted puppy dog). Although the effects of the potion were wrong, she uses the Prince’s new found devotion to get him to agree to marry her. When Snow White learns of the wedding, she is heartbroken. The Queen then uses black magic to create two giant wooden puppets in the forest and uses them to try and kill Snow White and the Dwarves. Snow White is able to cut the strings of the puppets and break the mirror’s spell, but she decides to run away to protect her new friends. The next morning, the Dwarves find her gone and discover a note she left them telling them that she loves them all. They intercept her just as she is preparing to leave and convinces her that their lives are better with her.
They decide to crash the wedding of the Queen and the Prince, and do so. The Queen arrives at her wedding to find the Prince gone and the noble guests in their underwear, robbed of their clothes and valuables. The guests inform the Queen that Snow White has captured the Prince. Back in the forest, the Prince (still under the spell) wishes to be with the Queen. The Dwarves and Snow White come to the conclusion that they have to use true love’s kiss, which will break any spell. Snow White kisses Alcott as her first kiss and the spell is broken.
The Queen arrives in the forest intent on killing Snow White herself. She reveals that she can control the Beast that has been plaguing the forest and sends it after Snow White. Snow White fights the Beast with help from the Dwarves and the Prince, but all are soon overcome. As the beast is about to deliver the killing blow, it hesitates and Snow White sees that it wears a necklace with a moon charm on it similar to the one the Queen wears. She cuts the chain with her father’s dagger and the Beast suddenly becomes engulfed in light. In the Mirror House, the Queen is gloating, but suddenly realizes something is wrong. She begins to age and the Mirror Queen tells her that this is her consequence for using dark magic. The Beast turns out to be Snow White’s father who has no memory of the last ten years. Grateful to Alcott for his assistance, he agrees to let him marry Snow White.
During the wedding celebration, a hooded crone offers Snow White an apple as a wedding gift. Learning that the crone is what has become of the Queen, Snow White cuts a piece of the apple, offers it to the Queen, and remarks it is time to accept that she has been beaten (something the Queen once said to her). Accepting defeat, the Queen eats the apple. The Mirror House is subsequently destroyed as the Mirror Queen declared that it was Snow White’s story all along.
The film’s epilogue reveals what happened to the Dwarves: Grimm writes a book of fairy tales, Napoleon becomes a hairdresser, Wolf rejoins his pack, Half-Pint finds a girlfriend, Grub just eats, Butcher becomes a flyweight champion, and Chuck joins the royal circus
Snow White is having quite the year, wouldn’t you say? In case you missed it, earlier this summer, Snow White and the Huntsman was released, and actually did some decent business. I can tell you right now that I probably won’t care for it, but I’ve been wrong before. Mirror Mirror was released earlier this year to mixed reviews, but it seemed to be more of the Snow White we all know, rather than some dark, Lord of the Rings wannabe. Does it live up to my expectations, though?
What did I like?
Tone. Yes, this may be a Grimm fairy tale, but this filmmaker decided to go more with a lighter, comedic tone, which really worked for this film, especially since there is a darker film about the exact same character that was released in the same year.
Visual aids. The visuals are a feast for the eyes. Everything from the opulent dresses of the queen, the contraptions the dwarves use, the puppets that attack said dwarves, and, of course, the mirror world will have you wondering what is going to come next.
Mirror mirror. The way the wicked queen gets to this realm inside the mirror is just awesome. I won’t bother to explain it, but when you see this place, I guarantee your jaw will drop!
Arm and hammer. If you’re going to get a prince, then it would behoove you to get one that is not an eye sore for the ladies. Armie Hammer seems to be a good choice for the prince, in that regard. Watching him in this role, he seems to fit the dashing prince just as well as James Marsden did in Enchated.
Snow. It is just common sense that if you’re going to be Snow White, then you should have some pretty fair skin, or at least stay away from the sun (and tanning beds). I give much kudos to the casting directors for casting still unknown Lily Collins (you may know her dad, Phil). She may not be the best actress, yet, but we were all saying the same thing about Anne Hathaway after The Princess Diaries, and well we see how that panned out, huh? Lily has the looks and talent to go far in this business. As far as Snow White goes, she seems like she watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs quite a few times, and that’s great, becuase that is the Snow White we all know and love, and the one we want to see.
What didn’t I like?
Apple. One of those most iconic things about Snow White is that she is poisoned by her wicked queen/stepmother and then has to be awaken by Prince Charming (or whatever his name is). That awakening never happens and the apple doesn’t come into play until the very last scene. Some may argue that this was a good change, but I’m one of those purists. Keep it as close to the original as you can, and for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t just make a sad attempt to shove it in there at the last minute!
Bollywood. There is a song that Snow White sings/dances to in the credits that is not only just plain awful, but also doesn’t fit. It would be like going to rap or metal concert and then all of a sudden someone decided to sing the Barney song. That is how out of place this was. I hear that it was actually part of the movie when it was in theaters, but the DVD moved it to the credits. I’m not sure how true that it, but either way, the thing is horrible.
Beast. The Beast was all buildup and no bite. The thing, when we finally see it, looks like either a Japanese dragon or a Jaberwocky. I’m not sure which, though. With all the great visuals in this picture, they could have come up with something better. He looks like he should have been in some 80s Jim Henson production.
Save the day. I guess I’m just old-fashioned, or maybe I’m some kind of closet chauvinist, but I think the prince should have saved Snow White. That’s just the way it is and should be. I’m getting kind of tired of these girl power films. Nothing against them, mind you, but has someone forgotten that guys can do the rescuing, too?
Mirror Mirror isn’t the best film, but it provided plenty of good times. I highly recommend it. For those of you wondering if this is family friendly, I would say yes. There really isn’t anything questionable, so you should have no worries. Keep in mind, I have no kids, so I’m not exactly the best person to say what is or isn’t kid-friendly, especially these days. Still, everyone should enjoy this flick, it is sure to be far superior to the crappy Kristen Stweart flick that came out a few weeks ago, and a notch below the beloved Disney masterpiece.
4 out of 5 stars