Sometimes a movie has all the elements in place, yet despite its best efforts fails to click for whatever reason.

That is the case with the new fantasy film "Mirror Mirror," the first of two 'Snow White' adaptations in 2012. Boasting a strong cast, that includes Julia Roberts, and some intriguing twists on the popular fairy tale "Mirror Mirror" falls flat. It all feels second right despite everyone's best effort.

Roberts plays the evil queen, who has used magic to take control of the kingdom. Her reign of terror is threatened when the king's youngest daughter Snow White (Lily Collins) rises up to challenge the queen.

Snow White is banished to the woods, left for dead. Instead she is befriended by seven vertically challenged bandits, intent on restoring peace and happiness to the kingdom.

The plan is complicated when a young prince (Armie Hammer) arrives on the scene, with Snow White and the Queen battling to win his heart.

It all sounds good in theory, but the end result doesn't live up to the promise.

Roberts gets to sneer and vamp her way through 'Mirror Mirror' with some moderate success, but it isn't quite as fun as it could have been.

Collins is fine as Snow White, even if I don't quite buy her transformation. She does have good chemistry with Hammer, but his character is rather dull until he comes under a spell in the final third of the film. During that stretch Hammer shows some good comic timing, helping the film pick up a little steam after a dreadful start.

The seven dwarfs also give 'Mirror Mirror' a slight boost, but even their roles feel underutilized. I think I would be much more interested in seeing a film about these seven bandits.

To its credit 'Mirror Mirror' never stops trying to entertain and it does get better as the film progresses. But even the positives can't save a film that never quite finds its whimsical stride.

 

Grade: C-

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