Director Tarsem Singh has an unquestionable sense of style. As stated in my Blu-ray review of Immortals, the man has an eye for visuals. His movies look incredible, they are dazzling works of art. They are also, all too regularly, distinctly lacking when it comes to story and plot and just about everything outside of the look. There is, however, always the sense about Singh that if he can manage, just once, to put it all together and create a movie not just with his sense of style but also with a great story that it would be a classic that would stand the test of time. 2012's Mirror, Mirror is not that movie, but it is certainly closer than Singh's previous effort.
Mirror, Mirror is Singh's take on the famed Snow White tale and features Lily Collins as Snow White and Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen. Played for laughs, the film is full of great moments and neat ideas. The shortcoming is that these great moments and neat ideas don't end up coming together into one cohesive piece, rather they just remain these separate great moments.
The single most interesting thing about the film is the interaction between the Queen and her magic mirror. Rather than simply talking to her mirror, she steps through it and into some sort of secret, magic, world. The image in the mirror, the one that she speaks to, is actually a reflection of her, but one which can work magic. It is this fascinating idea, this amazing notion about the relationship between the Queen and the mirror. It also goes no further than the setup. Singh simply throws it out there—the Queen goes into this funky world to talk to an image of herself, but with flawless skin—and then does nothing whatsoever with it. It is an idea which desperately calls for exploration, for discussion, for something deeper, but he doesn't bother.
That then is really the way many of Singh's films, including Mirror, Mirror play out. It all feels as though it's a little schizophrenic, bounding from interesting setup to interesting setup with exploration and payoffs few and far between. One can almost imagine meetings about the film with a whole lot of enthusiastic shouting "Yes, I love that idea, we'll include it… yes, I love that idea, we'll include it… yes, I love that idea, we'll include it!" But never did anyone then go back and wonder how all the ideas were going to connect and tie together and go anywhere.