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You can't do that! It's the way things are! It's approved by focus groups!

Mirror Mirror
(2012)

The second case of great visuals, sloppy plotting from Tarsem Singh in the space of a year. There's no sense of narrative drive to either this or last year's Immortals, and if his take on Snow White isn't quite such an insult to the viewer's intelligence as his murdering of Greek myth it still ends up feeling like bit of an endurance test.

Part of the problem is the very knowing, wink-wink, approach. For the most part the script isn't witty or clever enough to sustain this. There's the odd amusing line about changing endings approved by focus groups, but it won’t go down as this generation's The Princess Bride. And, while the director knows the look he wants, it's debatable how well this works; a forest clearly shot on a sound stage and limited locations give the impression of fairy tales on a budget. The self-consciousness means there's never any sense of atmosphere or danger, while the music reinforces the impression that it’s a lazy jape more fun to make than to watch.

On the plus side, Armie Hammer hits just the right note of self-mockery, and Nathan Lane could sleepwalk this kind of role but brings bags of energy along. Julia Roberts isn't as much fun as she should be as the Queen, although her beauty treatment is amusing, but then I've never been a great fan while Lilly Collins' eyebrows are extraordinary, and good for her.

**




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