Same story. New twists. Totally different approaches. 3 months apart. Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman may be telling the same story, but they are vastly different and weirdly have really, really opposite endings.
Mirror Mirror: Fun and family friendly. Willfully silly. Julia Roberts clearly having the time of her life as the Evil Queen - in funny, sarcastic - but not very sinister fashion. The sets are bare and sometimes obviously in studio - but the costumes are incredible, other wordly - so artistic and beautiful. There is a scene where the queen is playing live action chess - with her 'subjects' and the costuming is divine! Lily Collins is fresh faced and cute and ultimately adequate for this light fair. Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane help bring the funny - but none seem to lend it any credibility. It feels more like a made-for-TV movie - with a really great and winsome cast and some crazy artistic and amazing costumes. I have no idea why but I kept thinking about the 1965 made for TV Cinderella with Lesley Ann Warren mashed up with the 1997 version with Brandy and Victor Garber in comparison to this film...both TV movies. It takes a few liberties with the original story. But a very literal adaptation with the Dwarfs - and Snow Whites presence among them. On Rachels rating scale: Redbox this one with your kids.
Snow White and the Huntsman: A more dark and serious telling of Snow White. Earnest in its creation of this world. Visually stunning - with some incredible CGI - albeit - sometimes un-necessary. Visual seems to be the priority - I have no idea why Charlize Therons magnificent Evil Queen needed to suddenly in silence take a milky white bath and emerge covered in some smooth white plaster like substance and stand there looking like a statue - but it looked really cool. I also didn't know exactly why fairies needed to emerge from the bellies of birds - but it looked jarringly cool. All of the stuff with the Evil Queen was visually fantastic - and Charlize gives new meaning to the word sinister and is by far the best part of this movie. There are so very many problems with this script - do I really need to know the back story on the Evil Queen - she was abused? Am I supposed to understand her behavior, then?
Kristen Stewart - is a little better than adequate for this material and is lovely as Snow White - but there was no real arc for her. Yes, she teams up with the hunstman (the ever yummy Chris Hemsworth - wielding an axe instead of a hammer) - but he did not really train her. He gave her a knife and 15 seconds of direction - no arc. So, how she emerged this strong warrior after being locked in tower all her life - is unknown. Her speech in front of the people was not commanding nor the words inspiring or coherent, really. I like the few twists and variances from the original fairy tale- but the end fell very flat. I like this view of Snow White and the Dwarfs. I think there were actually 8 dwarfs in this film - mostly British actors shot to appear small - led by the fantastic Bob Hoskins - but this Snow White was not about to do any cooking and cleaning nor tidying up of any kind. She is a warrior and a leader - and I generally like this outlook - if only the writing had supported the attitude and visuals better - this would have been a great movie. Instead its just a good one. Its great on the big screen - see it at a matinee.
Casts both good. Snow Whites both adequate. Visuals in their own way both striking. Both lacking.
Snow White and the Hunstman wins by a dwarf for its earnestness and general outlook and look, though the comedic Mirror Mirror is not terribly inferior - just incredibly different.