We’ve all heard the story of the fair maiden whose beauty garnered her the murderous envy of an evil queen, forcing her to flee the kingdom, seek refuge with a houseful of dwarves and await the arrival of her prince and her happily ever after.
Snow White is everywhere. In fact, this is her second appearance on 2WC in a week (check out Zer’s …White Out). But that’s nothing, she has a television show and two movies, the first of which I will reflect upon (and judge…with fairness of course) today.
Inspired by the work of the Brothers Grimm, the minds who brought you Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and many more, “Mirror Mirror” directed by Tarsem Singh, strives to be a witty, clever retelling of this classic tale.
Narrated by the vain, and sometimes funny, evil Queen (Julia Roberts), this story is quickly established as a satire of the original tale. Snow White (Lily Collins) is a meek, kind and beautiful girl who does what she’s told…until she doesn’t anymore.
Meanwhile Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) arrives and attracts the attention of the Queen, who decides to marry him. Unfortunately Snow attracts the attention of the Prince and the Queen, and only one of the attentions is admiration.
When the Queen tries to have Snow killed by Nathan Lane, or rather the Queen’s aid Brighton played by Nathan Lane (either way you never truly fear for Snow’s life), Snow runs away and finds herself at a house of (bet you can guess how many) bandit dwarfs (Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba, Ronald Lee Clark).
These wonderfully witty warriors train the formerly meek Snow White in their ways and create a rather fierce princess ready to take back her kingdom. Snow and her seven dwarfs provide a small dose of real world perspective in the midst of fairy tale caricatures.
It’s a fairy tale that quite literally questions the mainstays of fairy tales. Questions that any modern audience would pose are spoken aloud by the characters and if the comedic timing were constant, it would be quite brilliant. As it is, it’s clever and well written, just a little awkwardly paced at times, but enjoyable nonetheless.
I must add that in a world full of smart, witty, but just a smidge off-beat retorts the seven dwarfs provide a very welcome dose of perfect timing. Seriously, best chemistry of the movie.
That’s really saying something when you consider that they’re up against Armie Hammer, the man who was born to play Prince Charming. I don’t mean to type cast, but he is grace, poise, and everything you would expect from a fairy tale prince.
I admit it’s nice to see Snow fight her own battles, and Lily Collins handles Snow’s inexplicably speedy change of heart with grace and enough believability to satisfy a fairy tale audience.
But even a fairy tale audience needs a hand sometimes, and the Queen (our narrator) had way too much evil magic going on to not throw us a backstory bone. We see her evil lair, we see the magic mirror (a reflection of herself), and that’s all we get. I was disappointed.
Luckily I had Nathan Lane to distract me from the slightly less than satisfying motivations of the villain, and he is so very good at it.
“Mirror Mirror” is a modern take on a classic story, told in a fantastic way. It’s colorful, moving, and imaginative. The frame is the same, the means different, ultimately leaving the overall effect intact.
I was considering the title of …herdederdeder, but it occurred to me that only two people (literally, you know who you are) would get that reference, so I skipped it.
But I’m not one to completely waste comedic moments. So, let me explain.
I love all things French (painting, food, music, etc.). So obviously, when it came time to pick a foreign language in high school I chose la langue francaise.
I went on to take five years of French, for multiple reasons:
1.) it’s a beautiful language/culture…anyone who’s seen my apartment knows it’s an homage to Paris.
2.) my high school and university made me.
3.) I can’t roll my R’s. That flemmy sound that the French make with their R’s I’ve got it down pat, but the rolling thing you need for Spanish…I sound like a bad impersonation of a car that won’t start. Hence, herdederdeder…
So…what’s the point?…Flash forward to this past weekend when I “re-taught” (really she wasn’t snapping before, but I’ll be kind) a friend how to snap(My apologies to the other people on the Red Line, but we’ve all been a part of the “obnoxious” group on the train).
At the moment I was floored that no one had told her that snapping is supposed to make a sound. But then I thought of my R’s (of course, I’ve always know I’m not supposed to sound like a busted engine), and of all the times that people don’t get my references.
And I realized something. Yes, I’m usually shocked when people don’t get my references (because they’re a part of my life everyday), but I love teaching people how to snap/explaining who Nathan Lane and Dame Judi Dench are (not obscure references for most, but there are exceptions to every rule, and I love them).
But even more than that I love learning about the references that go over my head (yes, it happens). And I love being taught how to roll my R’s (even though it’s a lost cause).
So, here’s to incorrect snapping, broken down cars, lost references, and ultimately not knowing everything (yet)…life’s more fun that way.