The story of Snow White is very familiar to most. King and Queen marry, sire a child. Queen dies. King remarries. King dies. Evil queens usurps young princess to take the throne, banishes said princess from the castle, and proceeds to make life miserable for the rest of the kingdom.
In a way, the Queen (Julia Roberts) is the perfect representation of the one percent. However, she has squandered most of the kingdom's fortunes and finds herself on the market for a man with a lot of money and not a lot of brains, despite what the focus groups suggest.
Like The Princess Bride before it, Mirror Mirror takes leaps and bounds to avoid treading on one too many tropes of the genre. The handsome prince is a dork (albeit an incredibly good looking one), the seven dwarfs are less affable care-takers than disgruntled revolutionaries and even Julia Robert's Queen is a little meta. Perhaps the most redrawn character is Lily Collin's Snow White. She may not wield armor and a mace like Kristen Stewart, but she is not above reminding the kind Prince that she doesn't need rescuing.
Still, if she were looking, what a prince indeed. He's good looking, he's talented, he has an excellent voice. One may think that this description matches Prince Charming, but in reality this portrays none other than Armie Hammer.
His turns in The Social Network and J. Edgar made the public aware of his abilities, but with Mirror Mirror he finally has the platform to take himself to the next tier. Hammer knows how to poke fun at himself and he's not afraid of a little slapstick. He's a leading man in-the-making. It's a good thing he's around considering how often these stories rely on cardboard cut-outs and audience familiarity.
With such an oft-told story, the director must make most of what the screen can show. For those of you whom wondered whether Tarsem Singh's colorful palette would continue, worry not. However, where Immortals and The Fall were lacking in humor, Mirror Mirror attempts, not always to great effect to get a belly laugh.
When Singh isn't going for laughs, he uses all of his discernible talent to dazzle with CGI.
The film excels when charm is hefted out, not leaving any to spare and even when the humor falls flat, the cast and visuals are more than enough to save it.