In the new live-action Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs remake, Mirror Mirror, the dwarf names have been changed to Napoleon, Half Pint, Grub, Grimm, Wolf, Butcher and Chuckles. If that makes you “grumpy,” then you’ll probably want to avoid this reworked version of the classic story, but if you have an open mind you might enjoy this fun family-friendly fairytale.
Dark-themed fairytale redeuxs are the big fad in books, movies and television shows these days. From trend leader Bill Willingham’s “Fables” comic-book series to TV series dramas like NBC’s “Grimm” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” to the upcoming “Snow White and the Huntsman” film, creators are contorting our childhood memories of these stories into new and twisted versions that in some cases actually resemble the atmosphere of the source material more closely than the cheerful Disney versions many of us are familiar with. Mirror Mirror joins this remake trend, but instead of going down the dark path they have re-envisioned the classic Snow White story as more of a contemporary comedy set in a storybook world.
The original Snow White tale has been a part of pop culture for over 200 years and has endured many different interpretations of the story about an orphaned princess with skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony. Her vain step-mother and Queen of the fabled kingdom orders her to be killed, but her life is spared and she goes into hiding with a band of dwarfs until eventually good conquers evil and Snow White regains the realm from the villainous Queen.
This film has no connection at all to the Snow White-themed 2003 novel Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire, but leans closer to some manner of a live action “Shrek” in terms of attitude and sentiment. If you are a huge fan of the 1937 Disney film, be prepared as this story turns many of the classic conventions on their head and the only real similarity is that both movies are geared towards families and young children. There are no glass coffins and the poison apple doesn’t make an appearance until the end of the movie.
Julia Roberts plays the wicked Queen and she drifts from bad British accent to all out country-schwang depending on the level of sarcasm called for in the script. The creators probably could have cast someone better in this role, but Roberts’ name is sure to bring people into the theater. Snow White is played by Lily Collins (musician Phil Collins’ daughter) and does an adequate job in this part, but no one in the cast, which includes Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane, will be receiving any accolades for acting in this film.
As in previous tellings of this tale, the most interesting characters are the dwarfs, whose names, as mentioned, have all been changed from previous iterations. They are all well-defined individuals and in this film they’re a lot fun as they utilize their very cool bellows-style leg extensions that give them a giant-sized appearance and makes for a unique take on the wee-woodsmen.
The comedy in Mirror Mirror ranges from sly to slapstick to just downright “dopey” and most of it is set at a children’s level, but there are enough mature-themed gags to keep adults happy as well. This is a very nice family-friendly film that has some fun fantasy effects, great costumes (including a cannonball firing headpiece) and it even has a “Bollywood” style dance number as the end credits roll for those of you that require music with your Snow White story. As fairy tale themed flicks go, Mirror Mirror may not be the fairest film of them all, but it is great family fare in a movie-market and world that can use a little happy and innocent fun.