Director Tarsem is suddenly a busy boy. After completing a mere two films in a decade he finally made a return with the better than expected Immortals
and it will be a mere four months before he’s back with his next project.
Mirror, Mirror is a new take on the Grimm Brothers classic Snow White story, starring Julia Roberts as the evil Queen and Lily Collins as the titular lead. In this alternative version, the Queen takes control of the kingdom and banishes Snow White because she needs to be the fairest of them all so she can bag the handsome Prince (Arnie Hammer). Lost in the woods, the young woman is rescued by a band of rebel diminutive sorts. While Snow White becomes the fearless leader of the dwarfs, the Prince is sent out on a mission to take her down.
Convoluted, isn’t it? Well just wait til you see the trailer.
When news reached us that there were two Snow White adaptations in development, Tarsem’s then untitled project seemed like the clear winner. Its rival, Snow White and the Huntsman
is coming from first time feature director Rupert Sanders – who is probably better known for some pretty great video game promo like Halo Believe
. It stars Twilight’s turgid Kristen Stewart in the lead and get’s some help from Thor himself Chris Hemsworth in a fight against the nefarious queen played by Charlize Theron.
On paper the two sound pretty similar, until you take a look at the recently released trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman.
The darker tone we were expecting from Tarsem’s version is in full effect in Sander’s film (even if we're a little ambivalent about the use of the Inception music), with an epic tone that’s out to capture a LOTR vibe and a grim visual style. On the other hand, Mirror, Mirror looks like a farce, with a tone that wouldn’t be out of place in a TV special, were it not for the decent visuals. Tarsem’s flair for camera angles and colour looks to be put to good use here but he works best with rather more niche material – the broad comedy evident in the trailer is remarkably dull and flat, even if the film is openly aimed at kids.
It’s harder to declare the victor between the two casts. Theron wins merely by being more appealing than Roberts, and not being forced to play the buffoon. Stewart is a bore and isn’t likely to impress in action scenes no matter how shiny her armour but she is a household name, unlike alternate Snow White Lily (son of Phil) Collins who has nothing to her name bar hanging out of Taylor Lautner for much of Abduction. Maybe it’s the supporting roles that will swing it – Mirror nabs the likes of The Social Network’s Arnie Hammer and the always likeable Sean Bean (plus Nathan Lane, if you care) while Hunstman features Click fave Ian McShane, Ray Winstone and Toby Jones.
Mirror, Mirror sports a production budget of around $50 million while we can’t find details for Huntsman but it’s likely to be significantly higher. That’s reflected in their release dates – the relative doldrums of March for Mirror and June for Sander’s flick – which is also rumoured to be the first part in a suitably epic trilogy.
We hate to say it but things aren’t looking good for Tarsem’s latest.
Mirror, Mirror is in cinemas in March 2012 while Snow White and the Huntsman follows in June.