(Photo: Different Drummer)
What's the price you'd be willing to pay for beauty? How about a few lives, an entire kingdom, and a couple hours-worth of excruciating treatments?
That's the price one woman was willing to pay in order to remain the most beautiful – and the most evil – woman in the land, with the help of a little magic of course.
In the upcoming film "Mirror Mirror," a retelling of the classic tale "Snow White" by the Brothers Grimm, the Evil Queen (Julia Roberts) shows audiences just how ugly desperate measures can be.
The remake by Indian director Tarsem Singh revolves around an evil queen who steals control of a kingdom originally intended for the beautiful Snow White (Lily Collins), her daughter by marriage.
When some "dark magic" invades the land, taking with it the king, the reign of terror – or in this case beauty – begins. With the help of a few rebel "dwarves," however, the princess attempts to win back her kingdom and her incompetent but good-looking prince (Armie Hammer).
Upon first glance, "Mirror Mirror" is a light-hearted, feel good flick, devoid of what perhaps the other "Snow White" remake, starring Kristen Stewart, will portray: drama, intensity, seriousness.
Julia Roberts perfectly fulfills the role of a vapid, heartless and obsessive queen, all the while drawing some sympathy for her futile and sometimes outrageous attempts to remain young and pretty, something many woman, or even men, can relate to.
Her interactions with Nathan Lane, who plays the Queen's "executive bootlicker," are always silly and funny. Most anticipated as well are her scenes with the clueless prince, who at one point begins acting like a literal lovesick puppy due to a bad spell.
While Lily Collins does inhabit her wide-eyed, innocent role as Snow White well, drawing envy from both the Queen and the audience due to her natural beauty, it's Roberts who appears to steal the show, just as she stole the kingdom.
Though the title "Mirror Mirror" was not something the director envisioned for his piece, preferring the simple title of "Snow" instead, the current name most appropriately portrays the heart of the film: the Evil Queen and her crazy obsession with her own image.
More interesting than Snow White's journey to reclaim her kingdom and restore it back to its glory days is the Queen's journey to do anything she can to maintain her fading beauty, which is a road all too familiar for many.
In one scene in the film, the audience is shown the Queen's pre-party routine, which consists of actual bees plumping her lips with their venom, cuticle eating maggots and fish, a mask made of bird droppings, and other exaggerated steps to achieve her ideal look.
Her few hours of care for the party require extensively taxing an already burdened and starving town due to her own dwindling funds from past treatments.
For the Queen, there is no cost too big and no life too precious for the maintenance of her beauty. Her obsession with image not only affects her own life but the lives of those around her as well, including Snow White and her seven rebel dwarves.
When Snow White first meets the seven dwarves – not exactly reminiscent of Sleepy, Dopey, and Happy in the original story – she learns of the effects the reign of beauty has had on the people.
After the Queen took over the kingdom, she "banished all the uglies," which included the seven dwarves who, no longer part of society, began stealing from the people in order to make ends meet.
With Snow White's help, however, the "uglies" are quickly accepted into society again and no longer expelled from the town.
Throughout the entire film in fact, many of the solutions to the problems presented are quickly resolved without much struggle, making it difficult to find depth and much meaning.
Lessons on beauty, insecurities, and broken love, for example, are only glazed upon and not fully developed as to gain sympathy from the audience. Whenever a potentially big problem appears, it is quickly covered by a wave of comedic relief, which keeps things light and simple.
If "Mirror Mirror" were to have delved just a bit further into some of its storylines, a much more touching and heartfelt film may have resulted, with a significant message to send home to audiences.
But as is, the film remains light, airy, and definitely "hilarious fun for the whole family."
And if the banter between Nathan Lane and Julia Roberts isn't enough, the spontaneous and random Bollywood dance in the movie only confirms what the film at the outset set out to do – make audiences laugh, have fun, and leave the theaters, maybe not more pensive, but definitely more happy.
"Mirror Mirror" releases nationwide this Friday, March 30, and is rated PG. The film also stars Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Sean Bean and Michael Lerner.
Watch the trailer here.