An odd, but beautiful, interpretation of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Mirror Mirror” will leave some viewers enchanted and others scratching their heads.
If you have an affinity for “A Knight’s Tale,” you might enjoy this strange, mostly comic take on the fairy tale.
Snow White (Lily Collins, who is, incidentally, the daughter of musician Phil Collins) is a sad princess who is about to celebrate — well, observe, anyway — her 18th birthday. Her stepmother is the queen (Julia Roberts), who seeks another husband since Snow White’s father vanished and is presumed dead.
Snow White is supposed to stay in the castle and not get underfoot. The queen makes no secret of the loathing she feels for her stepdaughter, but the servants love Snow White and try to make her as happy as possible under her oppressive circumstances.
On her birthday, Snow White decides to leave the castle and see what the common folks are doing. She discovers that they are starving: The queen has ruined the beautiful, happy kingdom that Snow White’s father had built. During her adventure, Snow White also explores the woods, where she finds handsome Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer, “The Social Network”). The two have eyes for each other right away.
But the prince ends up at the castle, where the queen decides he would make a good marriage partner. And just to ensure that he never lays eyes on Snow White again, the queen dispatches her most trusted servant (Nathan Lane) to kill the girl out in the woods. He cannot murder Snow White, though, and tells her to run away, which she does.
She ends up in a cave with seven dwarfs who take care of her as they go about their business (which is thievery).
To be truthful, the script doesn’t always work. Some of the jokes fall flat and some of the action scenes are a little over the top, even in a send-up such as this. But the look of the movie is gorgeous, and it’s a pleasure to see. The lovely Collins resembles Audrey Hepburn so much in a couple of spots that you’re liable to do a double-take. Wait until you see how the dwarfs dress for work. This is impressive. And the woods themselves often resemble a Bev Doolittle painting.
Fairest of the family fare? Maybe not, and maybe not for everyone’s taste. But it’s safe, if not spellbinding, family fun, especially for older kids.