‘Who’s the fairest of them all,’ is a cruel question to pose to a Hollywood beauty in her forties facing competition from ever-younger starlets, but Julia Roberts gamely takes it on the chin in Mirror Mirror, a snazzy tongue-in-cheek reinvention of the classic fairy tale Snow White.
Oozing vanity and disdain, she’s the story’s evil queen, the usurper of the throne that should rightfully belong to her timid stepdaughter Snow White (porcelain pretty Lily Collins). When Armie Hammer’s handsome, swaggering prince turns up, the Queen needs her beautiful young rival out of the way and dispatches her to certain death in the surrounding forest.
But Snow White turns out to be a good deal feistier than anyone imagined and teams up with a septet of, um, diminutive outlaws to win back her realm and rescue the prince from an enchantment that is making him behave like a love-struck puppy.
As these turn of events suggest, Mirror Mirror takes a distinctly offbeat approach to fairytale convention, turning the dwarfs into stilt-wearing bandits and the prince into the butt of many of the jokes. The snarky tone won’t appeal to everyone and the gags don’t always work, but with gorgeous set design and even more sumptuous costumes, Immortals director Tarsem Singh’s typically lavish visuals provide ample distraction whenever a joke falls flat.
On general release from Monday 2nd April.
To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.