So who is the fairest of them all?
Definitely not this spin on the Brothers Grimm perennial, clunkily directed by Immortals man Tarsem Singh, with his usual emphasis on style over substance.
Mirror might have stolen a march on Kristen Stewart starrer Snow White And The Huntsman , but it’s a hollow victory for an ill-judged affair, whose main achievement is to set a low benchmark for the multiple fairytale adaps heading our way.
Snow White – daintily played by Lily Collins ( Abduction ) – isn’t really the lead here. Instead, scripters Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller build the story around Julia Roberts’ evil Queen, required by unspecified “financial problems” to marry herself off to Armie Hammer’s exiled Prince Alcott before her despised stepdaughter gets him first.
Dipping every utterance in spiky sarcasm, Roberts at least brings gusto to her pantovillain role. Yet putting her centre stage merely serves to diminish Collins’ arc from naïf to sword-wielding rebel, not to mention the studiously non-Disney dwarves.
That there are more dwarves than laughs suggests Singh was a poor choice of director, for all the visual pizzazz. (A deserved shout-out to the late Eiko Ishioka, whose costumes are a riot of corsets, colour and Elizabethan ruffs.)
What’s absent here is any lightness of touch, Singh’s extravagant compositions draining the foreground of energy and spontaneity – any jollity is as forced as Alan Menken’s aggressively jaunty score, laid on so thick you’d think he conducted it with a trowel.
Mirror only works in action mode, set-pieces involving a dragon and huge, cottage-destroying puppets giving more value than any amount of laboured tomfoolery.
To borrow a line Roberts spits at Collins, there’s something about Mirror that’s incredibly irritating. Fingers crossed Huntsman has more edge.