It’s an age old story. Evil woman becomes evil queen by charming king (what was he thinking, really?) and getting married. Then, when her position is good and established, she kills off the King and, when realizing that the daughter poses a threat to her rule, decided to kill her, too. But goodness is harder to kill than all that.
Such is the story that unfolds in Mirror Mirror. Though, this tale may be a bit different than you have read about in your fairytale book sitting on the shelf.
The moral of the movie is obvious. Looks can be deceiving, and this theme is carried out on multiple levels, not just sticking to the obvious with the evil queen who is pretty, but ugly on the inside.
Many of the characters in Mirror Mirror are hiding something within. The queen her ugliness, the dwarves their… well, dwarfism (they wear collapsible stilts in an effort to be taller and, supposedly, more intimidating), Renbock (steward to the prince) wears padding underneath his clothes to make him look stronger, and the fearsome beast of legend in the forest may not even be what it seems!—all of this plays into the theme of the movie, but it does so on a rather superficial level.
Mirror Mirror is very magically driven, which I know is the question many people will be asking. However, contrary to fairytale style, this movie portrays magic as a bad thing. The Evil Queen is the only one who has it, and she’s warned that sorcery comes with a grave price. And before the credits roll we are able to see what exactly that cost is.
Love is, obviously, a big deal in Mirror Mirror, and we have something of a twisted love triangle going between the Queen, Snow, and the Prince. While love is certainly not an issue for me, I wasn’t crazy about the love story in this movie, or the sub plots that unfolded around it.
As part of her schemes, the Queen gives Andrew a love potion, which accidentally happens to be a puppy love potion. We then see Andrew begin acting much like a puppy… in a man’s body. He becomes devotedly attached to her, jumping on her, knocking her over onto the bed, crawling across her, licking her face- you get the picture. While he is under a spell, the fact remains that we still see Andrew pawing all over the Evil Queen, puppy love or no puppy love.
Poor Andrew. What’s Snow to do? Well, seems that the cure for his infatuation is for Snow to kiss him. We then see a very big deal made out of Snow’s first kiss (huzzah, about time someone does), only to have it cheapened by the fact that she’s going to go kiss Prince Andrew in order to break the curse. Not that Snow and he don’t enjoy the “romantic” (for me it was very over dramatized) kiss in the process.
But our story doesn’t end there. Throughout the movie we also see the queen ogle a shirtless Andrew, and she draws out his indecent (he’s in his undergarments, but their version of undergarments are white pant-like garments) situation and tries to make him as uncomfortable as possible by making comments about how sad it is that he is going to cover up.
The violence is more like…rollicking mayhem, to be honest, and the only language is an irreverent phrase which includes God’s name, but isn’t exactly taking His name in vain. Also worth mentioning is that one of the dwarves is shown drunk at some point in the movie.
When I read reviews of Mirror Mirror, after having watched it, I was surprised to hear so much talk about Snow. A couple of reviews talked about how she had morphed into this formidable, feminine diplomat, as opposed to the simpering child she was to start out with… unfortunately, I can’t agree with those critics.
Lauded is the fact that Snow doesn’t passively wait for true love’s kiss. She takes charge, she initiates true love’s kiss, and she takes control of her rightful place as heir, making her kingdom whole once more. However, I can’t really laud those things (other than taking back her kingdom- that lacking detail always irked me about other Snow White stories). I wouldn’t say it is because I prefer the tried and true fairy tale, because I often like to see remakes of my favorite stories, with new plots and twists. Rather, I think the issue is that Snow is lacking in depth, as is her film. She tells the queen that she is more than she seems, but she has to do more than just say she’s more than she seems. She has to convince her audience. And I left the theater very unconvinced.