I really didn't think I'd like Mirror Mirror. This was mainly because of its rubbish trailer that had the "Snow way!" line (thankfully that line isn't actually in the film). Mirror Mirror isn't slightly better than Snow White and the Huntsman though, I think it's much better! In the end I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this film!
In Mirror Mirror Snow White's mother dies and her father then marries another woman, the Evil Queen (Julia Roberts). Snow White's father than goes off to fight a great evil and mysteriously vanishes. He is never seen or heard of again. The Evil Queen then takes the throne and rules in his absence for 10 years. She also keeps Snow White locked up in the castle during this time but Mirror Mirror's Snow White (Lily Collins) has an easier time of it than Snow White and the Huntsman's Snow White. Mirror Mirror's Snow White still gets to sleep in a beautiful bedroom and still gets to roam around the castle and talk to people. However, Snow White decides to violate her house arrest for one day so she can see her kingdom. She sneaks out of the castle and bumps into the charming, handsome and wealthy Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) in the forest. They go their separate ways but they're instantly smitten. Alcott then shows up at Snow White's castle as he's been robbed by bandit dwarfs and wants to seek shelter. The Queen instantly makes plans to marry Alcott when she finds out that he's from a wealthy kingdom and is filled with jealousy when she sees Snow White and Alcott talking together. She then orders her manservant to take Snow White to the forest and feed her to the Beast that lives there. The manservant spares Snow White though and she ends up meeting the Dwarfs. Snow White befriends the Dwarfs and they soon make plans to defy the Queen. This gives Snow White the chance to remove the Queen from the throne, save her kingdom, and find true love.
Mirror Mirror is the polar opposite of Snow White and the Huntsman. It's much more family-friendly and it never ever tries to be a dark adaptation of the admittedly dark Grimm Brothers fairytale. Instead Mirror Mirror is more of a live-action, modernised update of the classic Disney film. It even has Nathan Lane (Timon from The Lion King) starring in it as the Evil Queen's servant and long-time Disney composer Alan Menken providing the music. Mirror Mirror is much more light-hearted than Snow White and the Huntsman and there's no gritty realism in it whatsoever. Instead the film positively embraces the fact that it's based on a fairytale. It has a beautiful animated opening, a clifftop castle, a mysterious beast that lives in a forest, and extravagant parties with vibrant costumes and lavish production values. The director Tarsem Singh is known for being very visually inventive and the film is bursting with light and colour. The costumes and sets in this film are gorgeous, especially the costumes which bagged the film an Oscar nomination. I loved the visuals in this film and it was such a nice contrast to the dark and dreary-looking Snow White and the Huntsman. I really don't understand why Mirror Mirror has been criticised for being lacking in originality and inventiveness either. In Mirror Mirror the Queen actually goes inside the Mirror and is transported into a different world. She literally becomes consumed by her own appearance. The Dwarfs use stilts to make themselves look like giants. There's a scene where the Evil Queen tries to kill Snow White with some giant, wooden puppets. When we see the Beast it looks like a bizarre hybrid between a dog, a snake and a dragon. There's even a Bollywood-style song and dance number at the end of the film!
Snow White's love-interest in this film is Prince Alcott. He's played by Armie Hammer who is probably most famous for playing the Winklevoss Twins in The Social Network. Hammer provides some comic relief, his character is likeable, and he and Collins have great chemistry. Surprisingly even Julia Roberts is good in this film! I've never been a Julia Roberts fan and I've always thought she was a very overrated actress. After seeing her in this film I still don't think she's a great actress but she did give the sort of performance that this film needed and she clearly had a lot of fun. Another great thing about Mirror Mirror is that the Dwarfs get much more screentime in this film than the Dwarfs in Snow White and the Huntsman, and their characters are much better fleshed-out too. OK they're still not massively well-developed characters but you do get much more of a sense of their individual personalities. It's really nice that the Dwarfs are actually played by Dwarfs as well.