Sometimes before I can really make a decision on something, I have to let it sink in a bit first, which is why my opinion tends to change a lot. Like once I mentioned that I preferred Gwen Stacey from Amazing Spider-Man over MJ from the first Spider-Man, but now I’m not so sure! MJ just has this special charm on screen that can’t compare to Gwen Stacey, and I really think that MJ had a sweet relationship with Peter during the course of the movie! Sorry. I’m getting really off-topic. Anyway, now that I really thought about Mirror Mirror a bit more, I realised that my objective opinion hasn’t changed much, but my attitude has changed drastically… and I’m very annoyed. Because there’s too much to cover, I’m skipping the plot summary and assume you’ve seen the movie, or at least read the summary online.
In my article “Fairy Tales in Film”, I mentioned that the “fairy tale twist” was very forced into the story, and it definitely shows. I like the idea of trying to make Snow White learning how to become physically and mentally stronger (to become the leader she needs to be), but at the same time it feels like a forced way of saying “Hey! This Snow White is a warrior! Unlike the Princess in the original STUPID fairy tale who DIDN’T hold a sword!” Please, don’t make me mention the apple scene again. They definitely throw it all out there. It makes me confused as to whether they’re trying to make a faithful adaptation to the fairy tale or just ridiculing it. It doesn’t know what it’s doing, and ends up contradicting itself over and over again.
For example: the costume designs and the music. The costume designs are stupendous! It saddens me to find out that Eiko Ishioka, the costume designer, passed away after this, because this was outstanding effort. Very bright, colourful, unique and timeless (according to Ishioka, they’re “hybrid classics”; inspired by multiple time eras, from 16th to 19th century). I especially really like Snow White’s outfits through the course of the story. The music by Alan Menken is reminiscent of the Disney fairy tale films, as he also worked in the music of such films as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. Stylistically it celebrates the fairy tale genre, yet the story is almost making a fool out of itself. There’s no harmony there. If the story had been told straight, then the movie would have probably paid-off with the visuals. Is it making fun of itself or is it trying to be a straight Snow White adaptation? No! It’s one or the other! You either spoof it or you respect the classic fairy tale! Read what I have to say about The Princess Bride in my “Fairy Tales in Film” article. Another contradiction was to have the out of place (but still really catchy) ending song “I Believe (In Love)”. We get it! The director’s Indian! He directed music videos! IT’S BOLLYWOOD! I mean, come on! I thought this was supposed to be a timeless tale! It’s like if in Alice in Wonderland someone started breakdancing! Oh wait, they already did that…
That’s this whole movie. It’s a movie that’s thrown right at our faces, but at the same time it’s lost as to what it wants to be. The Queen’s another thing: I don’t know whether she’s supposed to be menacing or not; the film’s mostly preoccupied in making fun of her and her self-obesessed and beauty treatment jokes, but then she’s the main threat. For some Disney Villains, they had a good balance between a jerk that you love to hate and seeing them as real threat or challenge. Jafar is a great example of this: it shows that he’s a powerful wizard who becomes a great challenge for Aladdin, but he’s also a very easy target to poke fun at. The Queen in this story was just pathetic and foolish and, like a little kid, was constantly relying on the mirror with her magic powers. She was just all “I’m doing things because I’m angry and evil, and because I’M BEAUTIFUL! Mirror, I want you to do this and that for me! I need your magic! NOW! NOW! NOW!”
Some scenes really confused me too. I didn’t know whether to laugh or not. The “puppy love” gag was really stupid in my opinion, and “the treatment” scene… was just… ew… I know it’s hard being a lady, but this is pushing it…
It’s not saying that the jokes were terrible… ok, maybe I am, but if you like the jokes, that’s fine. I’m saying that were too confusing to me. I don’t think this film should’ve been thought out as a comedy in the first place. Either way, I did see some sort of effort put into the performances (not outstanding, but ok), even Julia Roberts who I saw was at least trying. Another real positive I can give is the highlight performances: the dwarves. They have charm, they’re entertaining to watch, and they’re very likeable. So it isn’t about whether the actors were bad; it’s about what and how much they had to work with. I’m not even sure the actors knew themselves. The writing’s pretty much at fault here.
Speaking of writing, here comes the part that almost made me sick as I was watching it: making the Prince almost PATHETIC. The scene where Snow White manages to outsmart the Prince isn’t half-bad (the fight choreography is good, and I like the chemistry between thee two characters in that scene), but during the rest of the encounters, it’s pretty much her saving him. Now THAT’S something that truly bothers me. To make a man weaker just to make the girl stronger? Arguably yes, because Snow White says, “I’ve read so many stories about the Prince saving the Princess. I think it’s time we changed that ending.” Un-FREAKING-believable. I don’t care if this was written by a man or a woman or a kid: NO ONE should take that approach! The only time I can think of the Prince helping her out was at the very end when he grabs the beast and hands her the sword, but that just could have easily been anyone else. I don’t mind a reverse in roles, like in the end making Snow White kiss the Prince to break his spell, but, again, this is just overdone. It’s established that he can fight well with the sword, but it annoyed me that he didn’t do anything else with it. There’s just no balance between characters! I mean UGH!
The logic of this film can sometimes be such a mess! Why doesn’t the magic mirror just tell the Queen the price of using too much magic? JUST TELL HER THAT SHE’LL BECOME A CGI CRONE! As for the scene when the Queen’s about to them, and Snow White locks her friends in the house because “this is [her] fight.” You selfish little…! Don’t make it personal! I don’t care if she’s your step mother! It’s the fate of the freaking kingdom! “Fairest of them all” my a**! And it wouldn’t even make sense either if she said “I don’t want anyone to get hurt during the fight,” because we know that the dwarves, and EVEN the Prince, are capable of helping out and defending themselves! And the final scene when Snow White tells the Queen to eat the poisoned apple… She’s telling the Queen to eat the apple and kill herself? It’s ok, because she’s the bad guy! NO! That’s not her character! Snow White is supposed to have a kind and forgiving nature! “Fairest of them all” my a**! And although I sorta liked the fight scene between the Prince and Snow White, how does she know that throwing snow on the horse is gonna kick the Prince? And how does she know that the horse kicking him won’t break his back? Or kill him, for that matter? And why doesn’t Snow White explain to the Prince that the Queen’s evil and that they’re bringing the money back to the poor? And how come we can’t see anybody’s breath even though they’re in the snowy woods???
Sorry, this is just ranting and ranting. If this all sounds too harsh, then I’m really sorry.
In the end, Snow White and the Huntsman was by far the better Snow White movie out of the two, and I recommend it over Mirror Mirror. Now that I really look back at Mirror Mirror, I feel disappointed, and quite annoyed. In this movie, I would have NEVER tried to make one character weak to make another character look better, and I would have told a straight fairy-tale. I’m sure Mirror Mirror could have been a really good Snow White story. Snow White and the Huntsman, despite not taking enough advantage of itself (if it ever did, it could have been an outstanding movie; like “Top 10 of the year” good! I’m dead serious!), at least, for what it was, KNEW what it was trying to do. It wanted to accentuate some of the themes of the original story and create a dark-fantasy look.
Ultimately, Mirror Mirror can’t make up its mind on what it’s trying to be, and makes poor, and even weird, creative decisions (e.g. “puppy love potion”). But if you liked the movie, and thought it was funny, that’s entirely fine. There are still elements to enjoy: the dwarves, the music, the visuals, and the rest of the performances were at least trying. I liked Mirror Mirror to a certain extent when I first saw it (and I was still aware of the flaws at the time). It wasn’t like they didn’t put any effort. I’m sure the cast and filmmakers were enthusiastic when making this project, but there must have been some lack of communication, or maybe the screenplay was at fault. In the end, I honestly can’t overlook the flaws of the film, no matter how hard they tried or how much fun they had making the movie, and that’s why my attitude has changed over Mirror Mirror. Sorry, guys.