March 30, 2012 at 9:36 AM ET
REVIEW: "Mirror Mirror" on the wall, skip this movie and go to the mall.
Why did Hollywood decide to pour millions of dollars into making "Mirror Mirror"? Did the "Snow White" story really need a fresh take? (It's getting yet another in June when "Snow White and the Huntsman" hits theaters.)
Perhaps all copies of the classic Disney version have suddenly disappeared (no) or there are simply zero new ideas left in movies (you can answer that one).
So many unanswered questions. Did Hollywood desperately need to utilize some giant fluffy costumes left over from Johnny Depp's "Alice in Wonderland"? Did the idea of focusing on Julia Roberts as the evil queen seem like a can't miss idea? Did some studio executive think it genius to have real people play the dwarfs, and have them be sour and fighty instead of cartoony and cuddly?
It's unclear what is supposed to sell this film. Give it this: It's PG, and there's nothing that will shock or scare your average preschooler, so you can tag it as family friendly. And Roberts has some good lines as an evil queen with a sense of sarcasm, calling Snow White's name "the most pretentious (one that her parents) could come up with."
But it's not really her film -- it's not anyone's film. Roberts' early narration leads viewers to think this is the Snow White tale from the evil queen's point of view, but it never commits to that. Roberts' queen remains a cipher with some fun dialogue -- we never even understand why she walks through a weird watery dimension to get to a magic mirror that only shows her a tamer version of herself.
As Snow White, Lily Collins isn't that likable as a pretty princess and she's certainly not believable as a sudden swordswoman. Armie Hammer tries as the prince, but he and Collins have no chemistry and he's thrown random plots that go nowhere. (Now you think you're a dog! Now Julia Roberts is drooling over your naked chest!) None of the dwarves stand out, and unlike their cartoon counterparts, even their (new) names aren't memorable. If you can tell Butcher from Napoleon from Grimm, you deserve an unpoisoned apple pie as a reward.
If you need to entertain a youngster on a rainy Saturday, rent them the Disney original and save everyone some grief.
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