As I have said previously, I never expected Snow White to be the fairytale to make straight away. But here we are with one film on release now and another to follow soon.
As promised by the trailer, the film is visually amazing, especially the costumes. All bright colours, amusing dialogue and slight tweak on the original fairytale. But then that's what you should expect from visionary director Tarsem Singh or better known as just, Tarsem. He is famous for The Cell (2006), The Fall (2006), most recently for Immortals (2011) and for making music videos and commercials around the world, which is how he shot parts of The Fall. He was also attached to direct Constantine (2005). I loved that film but now all I can imagine is Tarsem's version. Amazing.
I don't think I need to explain the story, Snow White is a princess treated badly by her evil wicked stepmother who married her father, The King, bewitched him and sent him to die. She banishes Snow, sending a huntsman (but in this version, a servant) to kill her in the forest and bring back her heart. Snow meets and makes friends seven dwarves, living in their house in the forest. Any further than that isn't really in the film, after all it is an adaptation. And I don't want to give anything away.
From what I've noticed with Tarsem's films, the story doesn't always match the vision, some would say that Zack Syder was the same. Both are called 'Visionary Directors'. Personally I think Zack Syder is brilliant and his films do have substance. But Tarsem, I'm not too sure about. I think The Fall is an amazing film, but if I was going to be picky, the story is thin. So when I went to see Mirror Mirror, I was worried that there would be lack of story, especially as it is adapted from a fairytale. Thankfully though, I was wrong, there are plenty of characters who provide a great fun story. A special mention to the actors who played the seven dwarves, they all had their own, obvious characteristics that shown through, and yes they were very funny. In fact my title is one of their lines, a light, funny moment.
Though the dialogue was sometimes limp, it was counteracted by the fact everyone spoke really well and mean this in the way, they didn't drop letters or abbreviate things. What they did was speak well but in a way they knew they taking the mick out of it, no one was too serious, which why I think the story and characters worked. They all knew they were in a fairytale and were having fun with it.
Lily Collins, daughter of Phil, played the lead, Snow White and both my friend and I agreed, she was born for this part. Looks aside, she acted like Snow would in a typical fairytale and was convincing. Doesn't matter of the whole tone is different, I am yet to be convinced by Kristen Stewart's Snow White, I think she looks too mean and daring to be a fairytale princess. Armie Hammer, as always was perfect as Prince Alcott and actually had some of the funniest scenes, when he acts like a puppy, very amusing. But the third poster holder, Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen was at times very annoying for me. She wasn't evil enough for me, not until the end anyway. It felt that she had been given odd directions, especially when saying some of her lines, but then I could just be being picky.
But last but not least I think best surprise of all (SPOILER) was casting Sean Bean as the King. I actually shouted out in the cinema "Oh my god! That's Sean bean!!! Is that him? YES it is!" I was so excited to see him on screen. I couldn't believe my luck, Armie Hammer and Sean Bean in the same film.
Just a mention of the music, I could detect hints of Indian music, which isn't a surprise as Tarsem is Indian, but at the end we were all rewarded with a Bollywood style dance scene with Lily Collins singing. The staging of this dance/song was odd, Snow White dances with the dwarves around her. The crowd of people also dance with her and sing along while the Prince and other characters stand to the side, but the King stands at the back, the whole time. Not moving but the fact he is in frame most of the time is really funny. Snow is singing and dancing and the King is just standing there, really awkwardly. Best dance scene ever!
On a sad note, as most people will have read in reviews, they mention the clothes and how the audience will notice them before the acting. The amazing work of Eiko Ishioka who also worked with Tarsem on his previous films, is amazing. Unfortunately she died in January and didn't live to see the film released. I couldn't find a website for her but I did find this biography http://www.adcglobal.org/archive/hof/1992/?id=217
I really enjoyed this film but I understand it might not be everyone's cup of tea. But if you like visionary films I recommend you see this on the big screen.