The film begins with a brilliant ceramic-styled animation to explain the back story of how Snow White lost her mother during childbirth, how the wicked queen seduced her father and how the King was lost in the woods. As we break from the animation, we see the queen now in charge of the kingdom. The population is impoverished and Snow White is almost 18 and has never left the castle. Life is grand for the queen with her multitude of servants and courtiers, but the coffers are running empty, which is the driving force in the storyline - she needs a wealthy prince to marry.
Snow White is played by Lily Collins (daughter of Phil) and Prince Alcott is played by Armie Hammer. Whilst their acting is functional, everyone watching the film knows it's The Julia Roberts Show and features prominently on all promotional movie posters (Lily Collins actually auditioned for Snow White and the Huntsman but lost out to Kirsten Stewart). She gets all the best pithy one-liners "Blah blah blah, her hair is not black, it's raven and she's 18 years old -- and her skin has never seen the sun, so of course it's good." - when she's trying to down sell her stepdaughter to the Prince. And you would never imagine Julia Roberts a few years ago saying a line like this: "It's not a wrinkle, it's a crinkle".
Perhaps an unusual choice is having Tarsem Singh as director given that his previous work include the rather more adult The Cell and Immortals, but his background in commercials clearly shows with slick design and picture postcard images of the snow covered kingdom. His direction isn't groundbreaking here, but is solid and assured. Worthy of mention and being touted for a posthumous Oscar is the outstanding costume design from Eiko Ishioka, mainly for the wicked queen's garb, but also standout costumes in the ballroom and chess playing scenes.
Nathan Lane is watchable as ever as Brighton, but the dwarves were not distinguishable or colourful enough. The transition from lawless bandits to national heroes didn't flow quite as smoothly as one would have hoped. I enjoyed the surprise cameo at the end and also the appearance of the poisonous apple (how could it not make an appearance when it's all over the posters!). There is a Bollywood style dance sequence, too, which is a bit out of tune with the rest of the film, but I can forgive Tarsem Singh for a little self indulgence.
Mirror Mirror is not going to pull up any trees in the enchanted forest, it's not groundbreaking but it definitely delivers solid entertainment for the whole family for this coming Easter season. The children can admire the fairytale and the mothers can check what's in fashion this season. The film is a bit old school, but the brothers Grimm will not be unhappy. It will definitely keep the children happy this Easter.