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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Tarsem Singh
Cast:
Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn
Writing Credits:
Jason Keller, Marc Klein, Melisa Wallack (screen story), Jacob Grimm (original story), Wilhelm Grimm (original story)

Tagline:
The Snow White legend comes alive.

Synopsis:
One of the world's most beloved fairy tales takes a hilarious turn in this fresh, exciting film starring Oscar Winner Julia Roberts ... After she spends all her money, an evil enchantress queen (Roberts) schemes to marry a handsome, wealthy prince (Armie Hammer). There's just one problem - he's in love with a beautiful princess, Snow White (Lily Collins). So, the sinister queen banishes Snow White from her own kingdom! Now, joined by seven rebellious dwarves, Snow White launches an epic battle of good vs. evil in this funny, magical movie that the whole family will love.

Box Office:
Budget
$85 million.
Opening Weekend
$11.095 million on 3618 screens.
Domestic Gross
$63.915 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/26/2012

Bonus:
• Five Deleted Scenes
• “Looking Through the Mirror” Featurette
• “I Believe I Can Dance” Featurette
Mirror Mirror Storybook
• “Prince and Puppies” Featurette
• Sneak Peeks and Trailer
• DVD Copy/Digital Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Mirror Mirror [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 28, 2012)

Occasionally, Hollywood produces two similar movies in a short period of time. For instance, we got Armageddon and Deep Impact within months of each other in 1998.

This struck again in 2012, as two Snow White-based flicks made it to cinemas in rapid succession. June’s Snow White and the Huntsman delivered the bigger hit, whereas April’s Mirror Mirror took in pretty mediocre grosses.

Despite lackluster earnings and reviews, I was curious to see the film’s take on the old fairy tale, so I gave it a look. A prologue tells us that a girl named Snow White was born to a king, and her mother died in childbirth. Eventually the king remarried but he later disappeared after evil invaded his realm. This left Snow to the care of her stepmother.

We pick up the story from there, as we witness the relationship between the Queen (Julia Roberts) and Snow (Lily Collins). The Queen keeps Snow restricted to her bedroom, but the girl ventures out on her eighteenth birthday in hopes that she can attend the Queen’s big gala. However, the Queen makes her disdain for Snow clear and sends the girl back to her semi-prison.

Inspired by staff members loyal to her father, Snow finally decides to leave the castle and see the world. As she wanders in the woods, she encounters Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), a young man out for adventure. On the road with his valet Renbock (Robert Emms), a gang of dwarfs robbed them and left them tied up in the trees. Snow frees Alcott and the two obviously feel smitten with each other, but they nonetheless go their separate ways.

While this occurs, the Queen becomes desperate to improve her fortunes. She lacks funds and may have to marry a not-so-attractive but wealthy nobleman to stay afloat. Into this situation steps Alcott, and the Queen views him as a much more appealing way to increase her financial fortunes. This leads to a competition between the Queen and Snow for both the heart of the Prince as well as the fate of the land.

When you retell a story as well-known as Snow White, you need to do something creative to give it a fresh spin. In the case of Huntsman, the tale takes on a much greater action orientation. In the case of Mirror, however… well, the filmmakers don’t seem quite sure how they want to shake up the old girl.

I’ll say this for Mirror: it’s quite appealing in a visual sense. Director Tarsem Singh delivers a vibrant storybook feel from start to finish with lavish images. We also get a Snow White clearly more beautiful than the Queen, something I can’t say for Huntsman; as I watched that flick, I found it tough to reconcile the notion that Kristen Stewart was supposed to be “fairer” than Charlize Theron.

Outside of the film’s vivid visuals and a gorgeous Snow, Mirror lacks much to make it distinctive. While Singh delivers a good-looking movie, he doesn’t seem like the right person for a light fairy tale. In the past, he helmed darker, “R”-rated films like The Cell and wouldn’t seem like a logical choice for the resolutely “PG” Mirror. He appears unsure how to tell a family-oriented story, so the flick ends up unfocused and disjointed.

This leaves Singh hung up on the visuals but unsure of much else. Mirror’s not exciting enough to be a good adventure, and it’s not funny enough to offer a solid comedy. We see a smidgen of romance, but it’s not warm enough to develop that side of things.

Some lackluster performances don’t help. I expected Roberts to sink her teeth into a juicy role like the Queen, but she seems more preoccupied with her spotty British accent than anything else, so she comes across as curiously restrained. Collins looks lovely but she lacks personality. In many versions of Snow White, that’s not a problem – heck, the Disney heroine was a dull cipher. Here, however, Snow is supposed to be much more dynamic, so Collins’ anemic acting harms the film.

Not that Collins does a lot to hurt it, though, as Mirror’s too bland for any one actor to mar it. While it attempts a lively reworking of a classic fairy tale, Mirror ends up as inconsistent and bland. It tries hard to enchant us but fails.

Potentially catty footnote: we hear Collins – the daughter of famous musician Phil – sing a song over the end credits. This may offer the most heavily Autotuned performance in history; the vocals make Britney Spears sound all-natural. Maybe the junior Collins actually has a decent voice – and she’s sure a lot more attractive than her dad – but this performance makes me suspect she couldn’t carry a tune if her life depended on it.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Mirror Mirror appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was an appealing presentation.

Sharpness was the only minor weak link, as a smidgen of softness crept into occasional shots. This remained reasonably minor, however, so the majority of the flick looked accurate and concise. The image lacked jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement appeared to be absent. In terms of source flaws, the movie lacked any defects; it seemed clean and fresh.

The majority of the film opted for a golden tint, though some rich hues also materialized. Forest scenes tended to be desaturated, while the more lavish palace sequences added warm tones. Within the film’s design, the hues looked solid. Blacks came across as dark and dense, while shadows showed good clarity and smoothness. All in all, this became a good transfer.

Mirror boasted a strong DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Though not a consistent assault on the senses, the soundscape opened up the material well. Action sequences provided the most zing, of course, as they broadened around the room and engulfed the viewer with various elements. Quieter scenes also showed nice breadth, and the music spread across the front in a satisfying manner.

Audio quality also was positive. Speech remained natural and concise, with no edginess or other problems. Music was dynamic and full, while effects seemed strong. Those elements produced good punch and lacked distortion. They seemed accurate and tight, and the movie featured nice low-end response. This wasn’t a consistently killer track, but it was certainly worth of a “B+”.

Only a handful of extras flesh out the set. Looking Through the Mirror goes for 12 minutes, 58 seconds and includes notes from producer Bernie Goldmann, executive producers Jeff Waxman and Kevin Misher, costume designer Eiko Ishioka, cinematographer Brendan Galvin, VFX supervisor Tom Wood, and actors Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, and Nathan Lane. They discuss what director Tarsem Singh brings to the project, sets, costumes and visual design, cinematography and effects. The program goes for a heavy promotional bent, but we still learn enough about the production to make it worthwhile.

Another featurette called I Believe I Can Dance fills 11 minutes, one second with comments and demonstration from choreographer Paul Becker. Along with a team of performers, he teaches us the dance from the movie’s ball scene. If that interests you, have fun!

Prince and Puppies lasts a mere one minute, 59 seconds as it shows a dog’s-eye view of Hammer’s performance as a puppy. It’s firmly kiddie-oriented and is probably amusing for younger members of the audience.

Five Deleted Scenes occupy a total of six minutes, 55 seconds. These include “Alternate Opening” (1:59), “So You Are From Valencia?” (2:11), “I Need Meat” (0:52), “Snow White Is Dead” (0:39) and “Thank You For Coming” (1:14). The “Opening” introduces us to the magic mirror earlier but otherwise doesn’t change things much, while the others tend to pad out existing themes/plot points. None of them seem particularly interesting.

The set also provides a Mirror Mirror Storybook. In this, we see a text version of the movie’s story accompanied by some photos and short film clips. The presentation’s a bit clunky, mainly because the “Storybook” writes out the words in animation, so we’re forced to wait for them to slowly progress. Still, it might be a fun addition for kids.

The disc opens with ads for Ice Age: Continental Drift and Cowgirls n' Angels. These also pop up under Sneak Peek, and we get the trailer for Mirror as well.

A second platter provides both a DVD Copy and a Digital Copy of Mirror. The DVD version lacks any bonus materials.

Maybe someday we’ll find a version of Snow White more enjoyable than the Disney version, but 2012’s Mirror Mirror doesn’t seal that deal. While it offers some appealing visuals, it can’t decide if it wants to be a comedy, a romance or an adventure, and it fails to develop any of those threads well. The Blu-ray comes with very good picture and audio as well as a smattering of minor supplements. This might offer some innocuous family entertainment but it does little for me.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.5 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main