Not that I was expecting anything all that great from this movie, but such a massive massive fail. Mostly in regards to the Prince, our supposed hero. So, the main story is the same, however, the dwarves that Snow White stays with are bandits rather than miners, and were forced out of their villages by the Queen's edicts. Snow White learns to fight from them. Which was really the only reason I watched it in the first place, looking for a Snow White who stood up for herself (well, that and it's about the only live actual version of Snow White that uses little people). I know that also happens in Snow White and the Huntsman, but the script and performances were all over the place in that one, and the dialogue often terrible, and so I didn't care for it.
When we first meet Prince Charming in Mirror Mirror, he gets attacked by bandits in the forest....those bandits turn out to be the dwarves, wearing stilts. The Prince repeatedly mocks the dwarves even after he's defeated: referring to them as children, as harmless, uses ableist slurs, how embarrassing/humiliating/wrong this was to get beaten by them. And then when he eventually gets free and reaches the Queen's castle, he lies (several times) about who attacked him, and builds his attackers up to enormous size and strength, because he can't have people knowing the truth.
The Prince once he's at the court, falls in with the Queen's party line, having absolutely no qualms about how opulent and frivolous her court is, despite seeing how how starved and mistreated her people are, and the severe punishments inflicted on them by her guards. He is so taken in, that he goes back out with her guards to attack the bandits; and that's where he fights with Snow White. And during the course of their fight, he spanks her repeatedly with his sword. Hilarious. Just hilarious. And tells her that girls can't fight, she should go back to her rightful place (doing girly things), etc.
And then there's the Queen. Of course she retains her jealous obsessive nature. No attempted motive for why she does what she does (unlike Snow White and the Huntsman, which however badly and problematically done, tries to give the Queen a back story of being abused and hurt by the men in her life, so she decides to exact revenge on other men). There's this weird awful scene of the Queen getting ready for the ball; and she undergoes a beauty treatment, where birds literally poop right on her face, she gets stung in the lips by numerous bees, maggots/worms eating her dead skin to exfoliate, and other gross things. I have no idea what the scene is supposed to be; if it's a commentary on the horrible things in beauty products, it fails. If it's supposed to be a commentary on a vanity obsessed culture where people will undergo gross and dangerous procedures to look beautiful, it fails. It's just gross, no exploration or commentary here.
And as obnoxious as Julia Roberts looked in the trailer, bless her for trying. It's like she realized how terrible the film was, and decided to chew the scenery for all she was worth to try and entertain herself. And she manages to be about the only bright spot in a bevy of bad performances. Even Nathan Lane just gave up and played dead....when another actor manages to out-ham Lane, you know something is wrong.
Finally, the ending. We've got our horrible Prince marrying Snow White (despite him finally coming over to the people's side with Snow White, there's never any really change or growth in his character--he certainly never really apologizes to all and sundry for being such a jerk). Snow White actually has been slightly sympathetic to this point--although she does know how brutal the Queen is to her people, and does nothing about it for years. Even once she escapes and lives in the forest, she still really doesn't do anything to help her own people for quite a while. At least in the other Snow White film, Snow White has been locked up in a tower for years and so has no idea what is going on outside and what her people are going through. And then when she does escape, becomes the figurehead of a rebellion against the Queen. So anyway, back to Mirror Mirror, it's their wedding, and Snow White's father has come back (instead of dying he had been turned to a beast by the Queen); and the Queen shows up in disguise. With a poisoned apple. And our supposed heroine smilingly forces the Queen to eat the poisoned apple herself to commit suicide. At which point a joyful Bollywood song begins playing and everyone dances on the Queen's figurative grave and the end. (Don't ask me about the song, for some reason Disney loves to end with a song that is jarringly out of step with the rest of the movie.)
1 star out of 5