Trailer Tuesday: Mirror Mirror

Given that last week I profiled upcoming fairy tale-to-film adaptation Snow White and the Huntsman, it makes sense (and is only fair) to give the same exposure to its cinematic rival, Mirror Mirror.

Mirror Mirror, which is subtitled The Untold Adventures of Snow White, is in fact the first of the 2012 Snow White reimaginings to release, opening in North America on 16 March, while Snow White and the Huntsman is only out in June. Also, out of interest for those concerned about Snow White movie overkill, the trailers for the 2 films make it clear how very different they are. While Huntsman appears to be a somber action-packed fantasy epic infused with the dark supernatural creepiness of the original Brothers Grimm tale, Mirror Mirror comes across like a goofy theatrical pantomime - a live-action Shrek meets Enchanted.

In Mirror Mirror, Julia Roberts stars as the Evil (or should that be Sassy Bitch?) Queen, who bosses around her castle servants, including bumbling Nathan Lane. Terribly insecure about her looks, the Queen also banishes her beautiful and popular young stepdaughter Snow White (Lily Collins). That doesn't however stop the affections of the wealthy Prince (Armie Hammer) from redirecting swiftly from the queen to the exiled princess. Snow White, meanwhile, emerges as a woman of action intent on reclaiming her kingdom. To do this she aligns herself with a band of diminutive rogues, robbers and rebels.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that of the two 2012 Snow White movies, Mirror Mirror is the one with much more niche appeal. This is a movie for viewers who don't have a problem with high camp, musical numbers and artificial-looking, always indoors sets. This Film Experience blog post does an excellent job of presenting everything worryingly wrong about the trailer, as well as summing up online reaction - which has been overwhelmingly negative. Again, this is in stark contrast to Snow White and the Huntsman, where the trailer popped up out of the blue to impress a lot of people.

It's worth noting at this point that Mirror Mirror is directed by Tarsem Singh, he of recent Immortals (my review) fame. While it's admirable the "visionary" filmmaker is clearly trying something new here with a lighthearted family adventure, it's a bit strange how devoid the upcoming film seems to be in terms of visual spectacle. The director's trademark surrealism looks like it's been funneled into crazy costume design at the expense of everything else.

Personally, I think Collins looks great as Snow White but Julia Roberts's Queen comes across as loud and irritatingly overbearing. Roberts should have been reigned in a bit more because her snarky comments are not only jarringly modern, but also feel forced. In fact, my biggest gripe with the Mirror Mirror trailer as a whole is that the film looks like it's trying too hard to be quirky and fun.

For now I'll continue to keep an eye on Mirror Mirror. As I've mentioned before, the entertainment value of trailers can be inversely proportionate to the quality of the full, finished film. We could be surprised come March... but at the moment I doubt it.


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