Mirror Mirror (2012)
This movie sucked. Future anthropologists who double as film critics will bewail what this movie could have been. Don’t get me wrong, parts of it are great and fun and the graphics/special effects are decent. The concept isn’t even that bad. There’s probably a lot of people out there saying, “oh stop being a douchebag, I liked it! It was cute kids movie, stop being so critical!” And I think that was the problem. This movie was the equivalent of some latte sipping, Eddie Bauer bedecked, self-consciously groomed jackass pushing his sister’s kids on the swings at the park while waiting for taut yoga-pants moms to ooh and aah at how cute he is. The actors were a problem for me, the acting was a problem for me, the tongue-in-cheek pandering was a problem for me. 22 years of spooning in the adulatory pap, Julia Roberts has shit this British-accent turd out and then brought the whole family in to cheer for her. Meanwhile Richard Gere is a murderous KGB assassin hiding in the CIA.
Which brings me to why I thought it was relevant. I’ll try and show some parallels. The Queen (Bush Jr) has taken over the kingdom from the previous king (Clinton) who is now portrayed as a monster (adulterous liar). In contrast to the happy, singing prosperity of the previous years there is now an inexorable decline into cold poverty (no parallel, this really happened to the American economy). How does she maintain her power and taxation? Fear. The fear of the monstrous beast (terrorists) that she keeps at bay with their tax dollars. And how does that go for her? About as good as it went for Bush’s administration when newcomer Obama (Snow White) took over and brought back an old ruler in a new incarnation (Secretary of State Clinton).
So you can see there’s the classic sense of some kiddo fun, imagery/effects and storyline that has this wonderful secondary and more adult layer cleverly applied. And somehow they just proceed to fuck it up. I think most of the blame lies with Julia Roberts and Lily Collins (who obviously loves Anne Hathaway’s quirky bush-browed chick-power attempts). They set the tone as they attempt to outpretty and outquirk each other. The irony is in the unexpected twist that they never intended, as they act out the plot of Snow White, in real life, as an older and younger actress trying to see who is the fairest in a movie which completely screws the actual enjoyment of a retelling of the story of Snow White. If I remotely thought there was even the chance of intentional pretension to that type of oeuvre, I would think Tarsem Singh had been a poor apprentice to Zack Snyder.
The line that made me decide to include it was when Julia Roberts says to her typecast henchman, “tell them bread is meat…” and then nearly stops the movie to accept applause for her witty social commentary and keen understanding of political science.
I would return this nose-thumbing at bollywood and exchange it for a gritty remake later on that gives a little more emphasis to the recovery of national power by traditional/native leadership from the foreign usurper that would give more significance to the British accents and underlying Indian tones. Less subtly, the triumphant ethnic dance at the end would be a big “fuck you!” to British imperialism from one of its former colonies. That would lend well to a sequel where two major super powers attempt to interfere or destabilize the fledgling indigenous government in order to further or protect their national interests. There’s your social commentary Julia.