Mirror Mirror (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Tarsem Singh Dhandwar
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 106 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, French
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish
MSRP: $ 39.99
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Review Date: July 13, 2012
Having married Snow White’s father (Sean Bean) and then disposed of him, the wicked Queen (Julia Roberts) has robbed the kingdom blind and stripped it of all its viable resources. Snow White (Lily Collins), having been required to stay out of sight for more than a decade, now turns eighteen and decides she wants to see her father’s kingdom (and the land that should rightfully be under her domain). In the woods, she meets the handsome and wealthy Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), and while they’re both smitten with each other, the Queen decides she needs the Prince to become her next husband in order to revitalize her own coffers. The Queen sends her henchman Brighton (Nathan Lane) with Snow to the forest with orders to kill her, but Snow is allowed to live and in the woods meets seven dwarfs who hide there stealing from any who dare enter. Together they decide they must retake the kingdom from the evil Queen and reunite Snow and the Prince.
Marc Klein and Jason Keller’s screenplay (from a story by Melisa Wallack) never really quite decides if it wants to be a full-out spoof of the fairy tale or only a slightly sardonic retelling of the story, and their indecision (and that of director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar helming the film’s three major set pieces) leaves the viewer with a movie that’s never enchanting enough to be the stuff of fairy tales and never satiric enough to rank as a send-up. Dhandwar stretches out a ball sequence (with everyone dressed in elaborate animal-inspired costumes), a black magic sequence where the Queen plagues the seven dwarfs with two giant marionettes, and the climactic fight with the Queen’s beast all well past the breaking point, and he also loses all sense of time continuity in a montage featuring Snow White being trained to be a fighter which seemingly takes only an hour in real time (the time it takes for the Prince to leave the castle and arrive to fight them) rather than the weeks it would naturally have taken to accomplish this. Despite the astounding production design and elaborate costumes, the film is actually only made bearable by the wonderful seven dwarfs (kudos to actors Joey Gnoffo, Martin Klebba, Ronald Lee Clark, Mark Povinelli, Jordan Prentice, Sebastian Saraceno, and Danny Woodburn), their delightfully offbeat personalities and knockabout camaraderie exuding the kind of enchanting mockery that much of the rest of the project only hints at and could have used far more of.
Miscast is a kind word for Julia Roberts as the Queen. The character needs the kind of razor-edged bitchery-with-a-smile that a Christine Baranski could summon up, but Roberts’ attempt at it is rather feeble (though she looks wonderful in a array of intricate Eiko Ishioka gowns). She also affects a meager British accent in the early going that she simply drops later on. Lily Collins isn’t much better as Snow White, not very convincing as a warrior but certainly demure enough and adorable enough when it’s time for that. Poor Armie Hammer as the hapless Prince gets buffeted and stripped repeatedly in the movie, not particularly funny but certainly eye candy for all interested parties. And how tragic to hire someone with Nathan Lane’s comic chops and not allow him to be even slightly funny. What a waste of a gifted comedian! Mare Winningham pops in and out as a castle baker who serves as a surrogate mother for Snow White and who fears for Snow’s safety. Sean Bean enters very late in the film as the King returning to his kingdom after an enchantment is broken.
The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is faithfully rendered in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. The image is pure pleasure from beginning to end with superb sharpness which is well sustained, and color saturation levels rich but never in danger of taking over. Flesh tones might appear the tiniest bit heavy in tan, but otherwise they are completely acceptable. Black levels are outstanding. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix features the most notable surround elements with Alan Menken’s incessant score placed solidly in the fronts and rears. (The ridiculous Bollywood number “I Believe” which plays over the end credits is very impressive sonically.) There are some agreeable ambient sounds in the soundstage as well with church bells, thunder, and crowd voices giving the available channels something to do. Most of the dialogue has been placed in the center channel, but there are a couple of instances of directionalized dialogue that are most welcome.
All of the bonus material is presented in 1080p.
There are five deleted scenes which can be viewed individually or in one 7-minute grouping.
“Looking Through the Mirror” is a behind-the-scenes production featurette featuring sound bites from stars Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, and Nathan Lane plus producer Ryan Kavanaugh talking about everything from director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar to the three major sets (Great Hall, the forest, the dwarfs’ home), the elaborate costumes, and the special effects. This runs 13 minutes.
“I Believe I Can Dance” finds movie choreographer Paul Becker teaching the dance moves to the climactic Bollywood number to a group of dancers (and to the viewer who wants to participate). It runs 11 minutes.
“Mirror Mirror Storybook” is a virtual video storybook with film clips. It can be read aloud and flipped through using the remote.
“Prince and Puppies” is a throwaway 2-minute fluff piece with a host of adorable puppies assessing Armie Hammer’s performance as a puppy at one point in the movie.
The film’s theatrical trailer runs for 2 ¼ minutes.
The disc includes promo trailers for Ice Age: Continental Divide and Cowgirls ‘n Angels.
The second disc in the set is the combination DVD/digital copy of the movie. There are enclosed instructions for installation on Mac and PC devices.
3/5 (not an average)
Mirror Mirror might supply some sporadic chuckles, and its production design is certainly eye-popping, but it’s an overall disappointing modern take on the Snow White tale even with its near-reference quality Blu-ray release.