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Mirror Mirror is a 2012 comedy fantasy film based on the fairy tale "Snow White" by the Brothers Grimm. It is directed by Tarsem Singh and stars Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, and Sean Bean.
The film opens with Queen Gertrude
(Julia Roberts) narrating the tale which she says is actually her story, not Snow White's. Snow White's mother died after giving birth to her. Her father, the King (Sean Bean), then raised Snow White so that she could rule the kingdom one day. Feeling that she needed a mother, the king married again. His new wife is Gertrude, the most beautiful woman in the land. One day, the king leaves to fight a great evil that has invaded the land, giving Snow White a golden dagger. He rides off into the forest and never comes back. Gertrude rules in his place. Jealous and threatened by Snow White and the people's devotion to her, the queen decides Snow White must do what snow does best, fall. Ten years later Snow White (Lily Collins) is turning eighteen and has spent much of her life locked in the palace. The Queen does not care for her but Snow White is still loved by the palace staff,especially a kind baker named Margaret, who treated Snow White kindly ever the King disappeared. Margaret tells Snow White that the kingdom is rightfully hers and that she should go outside and see what has become of her people. Snow White then defies the Queen's orders and leaves the palace, intent on seeing the conditions of her kingdom. In the forest, she meets Prince Andrew Alcott (Armie Hammer) and his companion, Renbock who have been robbed by bandits (the seven dwarfs). She and the Prince are drawn to each other but go their separate ways. Snow White arrives in the town which the palace overlooks, and discovers it is barren and the people are destitute due to the Queen's greed. She remembers visiting the town once before with her father, and how the people used to sing and dance. A townswoman tells her that such things have not happened for many years. Angered that Gertrude has destroyed everything her father worked for, Snow White decides to help the kingdom and overthrow the Queen.
Prince Alcott finds his way to the palace. The Queen, realizing he comes from a wealthy kingdom, hatches a plot to get him to marry her so she can solve her financial problems. She hosts a ball in honor of the Prince and goes to great lengths to make herself as beautiful as possible. Snow White secretly attends the ball, planning to ask the prince, whom she believes she has not met, to help her restore the kingdom. She and Alcott learn the truth about each other when they are partnered in a dance. Smitten, Prince Alcott makes sure that Snow White stays by his side which the Queen notices. The Queen has Snow White seized by her guards, and Snow White, for the first time in her life, stands up to her stepmother and tells her she has no right to rule as she does. The Queen, seeing Snow White as the threat she always feared she would be orders her manservant, Brighton (Nathan Lane), to take the princess into the forest and feed her to the Beast that lives there. Brighton takes Snow White to the forest but is unable to kill her, instead he releases her and tells her to run. Snow White flees the Beast (Frank Welker) and collapses at the door to the Seven Dwarfs house. The Queen goes to her magic mirror, a portal to a bleak and barren world that contains a house full of mirrors. Within the mirrors lives a reflection of the Queen. The reflection the complete opposite of the Queen, who is much wiser, kinder, and some what younger version of her. (Lisa Roberts Gillan). She gives advice to the Queen when she asks for it. The Queen requests a love potion so she can make the Prince fall in love with her. The Mirror Queen repeatedly warns her that there is a price for using magic, but the Queen refuses to listen. Back in the forest, Snow White wakes up to find herself surrounded by the dwarfs Grimm, Butcher, Wolf, Napoleon, Half Pint, Grub, and Chuck, nicknamed Chuckles because he is always laughing. After much debate they agree to let her stay with them for one night.
The Queen levies another tax against the people to pay for the parties she throws for Prince Alcott. Brighton is sent to collect, and is informed by the town magistrate that the people can not tolerate much more. On the way back to the palace the dwarfs rob Brighton and steal the tax money. When Snow White finds out that the dwarfs are thieves, and that the stolen money belongs to the townspeople, she is angry. The dwarfs explain that no one stood up for them years earlier when the Queen expelled them from the kingdom because she thought they were ugly. Thus, they feel no guilt for stealing. Snow White sneaks away while they are distracted to return the money. The townspeople are overjoyed to have their money back and Snow White lets the dwarfs take credit for it, earning them the people's acceptance and gratitude. The dwarfs agree that Snow White can stay permanently if she agrees to become a thief, like them. She agrees, but only if they can steal from the Queen and give back to the people.
Meanwhile, Clementianna informs Alcott that Snow White is dead, and attempts to get him to marry her, only to be interrupted by Brighton. When the Prince finds out that the bandits have robbed Brighton, he goes after them, unaware of the awful things the Queen has done. In the forest Alcott discovers that Snow White is not only alive but in league with the bandits. Each believing the other to be in the wrong, Snow White and Alcott duel. Alcott returns to the Palace defeated and informs the Queen that Snow White is alive and in league with the bandits that stole her money. The Queen consults the Mirror Queen once again. She demands that the Mirror Queen punish Brighton for lying to her (She turns him into a cockroach.) and tells the Mirror Queen to use its magic to kill Snow White. The Mirror warns her again that there is a price to using magic, but the Queen, blinded by hatred, agrees to accept whatever consequences her actions may bring. She uses a love potion to make the Prince fall in love with her with unintended results (she accidentally used a potion called Puppy Love which causes the Prince to act like a devoted puppy dog). Although the effects of the potion were wrong, she uses the Prince's new found devotion to get him to agree to marry her. When Snow White learns of the wedding, she is heartbroken. The Queen then uses black magic to create two giant wooden puppets in the forest and uses them to try and kill Snow White and the dwarfs. Snow White is able to cut the strings of the puppets and break the mirror's spell, but she decides to run away to protect her new friends. The next morning, the dwarfs find her gone and discover a note she left them telling them she loves them all. They intercept her just as she is preparing to leave. The dwarfs are able to cheer her up, and convince her their lives are better with her. They decide to crash the wedding of the Queen and the Prince, and do so. The Queen arrives at her wedding to find the Prince gone and the noble guests in their underwear, robbed of their clothes and valuables. The guests inform the Queen that Snow White has captured the Prince. Back in the forest, the Prince (still under the spell) wishes to be with the Queen. The dwarfs and Snow White come to the conclusion that they have to use true love's kiss, which will break any spell. Snow White kisses Alcott, her first kiss, and the spell is broken.
The Queen arrives in the forest, intent on killing Snow White herself. She reveals that she can control the Beast that has been plaguing the forest and sends it after Snow White. Snow White fights the Beast, with help from the dwarfs and the Prince, but all are soon overcome. As the beast is about to deliver the killing blow, it hesitates and Snow White sees that it wears a necklace with a moon charm on it, similar to the one the Queen wears. She cuts the chain with her father's dagger and the Beast suddenly becomes engulfed in light. In the mirror house the Queen is gloating but suddenly realizes something is wrong. She begins to age and the mirror tells her this is the price she has to pay for using magic. The Beast turns out to be Snow White's father who has no memory of the last ten years. Grateful to Alcott for his assistance he agrees to let him marry Snow White. During the wedding celebration, a hooded crone offers Snow White an apple as a wedding gift. As she is about to take a bite, Snow White realizes the crone is what has become of the Queen. She then cuts a piece of the apple and offers it to Gertrude and remarks it is time to accept that she has been beaten, something the Queen once said to her. Accepting defeat, the Queen eats the apple. In the mirror house, the Mirror Queen says calmly,"It was Snow White's story after all". The mirrors shatter, and the mirror house collapses destroying the portal in the palace as well. It also shows what happened to the dwarves. Grimm writes a book of fairy tales, Napoleon becomes a hairdresser, Wolf rejoins his pack, Half-Pint finds a girlfriend,Grub just eats, Butcher works in the pub again, and Chuck joins the royal circus. The film ends with Snow White singing "I Believe in Love", Bollywood style.
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Lily Collins as Snow White, kind and generous as she is beautiful, Snow White was the apple of her late father's eye and is beloved in the royal household by all but the Queen and her simpering minions. Surviving mistreatment and neglect to blossom into a spirited young woman gifted with her father's courage, wisdom, and love for his subjects, Snow transforms herself into a battle-ready people's princess to win back the kingdom from the conniving Queen.
Julia Roberts as the Queen, a bewitching beauty with a towering temper, the scheming Queen is actually an enchantress who keeps herself alluring with extreme beauty treatments, from bee stings and snake venom to flesh-eating worms. After usurping the throne, she bankrupts the kingdom with her extravagant ways. When the wealthy Prince Alcott fortuitously comes her way, she uses every weapon in her arsenal to beguile him.
Armie Hammer as Prince Alcott, the devastatingly handsome and somewhat earnest heir to the throne of Valencia who looking for the princely adventure of a lifetime when he stumbles into the Queen's court. The unrivaled prosperity of his realm makes the Prince catnip for the cash-strapped Queen—but he only has eyes for her lovely ward, Snow White.
Nathan Lane as Brighton, the Queen's executive bootlicker who is also her favorite whipping boy. The hapless, bumbling sycophant is always ready to bear her insults and do her bidding, from extorting ruinous taxes from the people to planning the murder of her rivals.
Mare Winningham as Baker Margaret, warm and kindly, she has been Snow White's port in a storm since childhood. But her cozy exterior hides a fierce heart that is still loyal to the late King and she inspires the princess to take back her birthright by any means necessary.
Michael Lerner as the Baron, the lascivious and ambitious Baron who embodies the sloth and corruption of the kingdom's self-indulgent aristocracy. The gleeful bearer of bad news, he is hoping the Queen will agree to marry him when her dwindling funds finally run out.
Sean Bean as the King, a benevolent ruler revered throughout his kingdom and a loving father adored by his only daughter, the King is entrapped into marriage by the wicked Queen's evil enchantments. Shortly after the wedding, he disappears, the first victim of a deadly beast that terrorizes the kingdom, and Snow White is left to fend for herself.
Danny Woodburn as Grimm, the de facto leader of an unruly gang of bandits who still enforces the rules and regulations that made him a tyrant in the classroom.
Martin Klebba as Butcher, the Dwarfs' resident wild man who is not to be crossed for his fuse is even shorter than he is.
Sebastian Saraceno as Wolf, a nerd in coke bottle glasses who is more comfortable keeping the accounts than committing highway robbery.
Jordan Prentice as Napoleon, peppering his chatter with a soupçon of his native French, he is always on call to answer any question a girl has about hair, fashion or romance.
Mark Povinelli as Half Pint, the tiniest dwarf who bears a grudge against tall people since he lost the pub he ran in better days.
Joe Gnoffo as Grub, the loveable slacker who can be called chubby, obese, or full-figured, but won't stand to be called late for dinner.
Ronald Lee Clark as Chuckles, the perpetually grimy dwarf who guarantees if anyone comes within arm's length of him immediately understands how he earned his name.
Robert Emms as Charles Renbock, Prince Alcott's faithful valet and confidant as well as his royal employer's companion in his search for the adventure of a lifetime. As timid as the prince is courageous, Renbock is a man who prefers luxury spas to heroic escapades and gratefully accepts the Queen's apparent hospitality.
Frank Welker as the voice of the Beast
- Roberts was the first to be cast, because very early on Tarsem Singh wanted an Evil Queen with whom audiences could relate. He stated that in the film, the queen is not evil, but rather insecure. He also revealed that the Queen's true ugliness may be revealed at the very end of the film.
- Originally Saoirse Ronan was considered for the role of Snow White but the age difference between her and Armie Hammer was too large (he was 25 and she was 17). Felicity Jones was offered the part but turned it down. Collins was eventually cast in the role Collins said in an interview that her casting happened in 24 hours after she met Tarsem Singh and read for him
- Hammer was cast as the prince who is at first drawn towards the Queen and then towards Snow White. He beat out James McAvoy and Alex Pettyfer for the role
Filming for Mirror Mirror began on June 20, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec under the working title, Untitled Snow White Project. Production on the film wrapped in mid-September.The film was officially titled Mirror Mirror on November 4, 2011. The first trailer was released on November 30, 2011 in partnership with Relativity Media and Trailer Park.The teaser poster was released the same day. Mirror Mirror was the last film which Tarsem's regular costume designer, Eiko Ishioka, worked on before her death. The visual effects were done by Wayne Brinton, Tim Carras, Sébastien Moreau and Amanda Dyar.
Relativity Media announced the movie's final cost as being $85 million, though an article in the Los Angeles Times said the true budget was closer to $100 million.
The film was released March 30, 2012 in theaters. The film was originally scheduled for a March 16, 2012 release, but was delayed until a date of March 30, which was announced January 26. Plus, before the March 16 date, a June 29 date had been scheduled. So, the film has been rescheduled twice, finally landing on its date of March 30.
On its opening day, Mirror Mirror made $5.8 million, coming in at the #3 spot behind The Hunger Games and Wrath of the Titans. For its opening weekend, the film earned $18.1 million while holding onto the #3 spot at the box office. As of June 1, 2012, Mirror Mirror has grossed $62,543,139 in North America and $97,900,000 internationally, bringing its worldwide total to $160,443,139.
The film received generally mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports the film currently holds a rating of 50% with an average score of 5.6/10 based on 162 critical reviews. The site's general consensus is that "Like most of Tarsem Singh's films, Mirror Mirror is undeniably beautiful – but its treatment of the age-old Snow White fable lacks enough depth or originality to set it apart from the countless other adaptations of the tale."On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 reviews from film critics, it has an average score of 46 from the 34 reviews, which indicates "Mixed or average reviews"
Robbie Collin from British newspaper The Telegraph gave the film four stars describing it as "an exuberantly charming fairy story that owes as much to the gnarled folk tale illustrations of Arthur Rackham as the stagey, saturated lunacy of that half-loved, half-feared East German fantasy The Singing Ringing Tree. It's a Grimm piece of work, but far from a grim one: without rehashing the seminal Disney animated version, it radiates gorgeousness and good humour with a near-nuclear intensity." Collin praised costume designer Eiko Ishioka's work, saying "every outfit in Mirror Mirror is a masterpiece". He concluded the film is "the opposite of Tim Burton's brash, chaotic, dispiritingly popular Alice in Wonderland: here, the artistry of the
cast and crew leaps off the screen, not 3D computer graphics.