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At its heart, “Mirror Mirror” is a fairy tale filled with surprisingly value-affirming morals, lessons that Christians in particular and families of all stripes can appreciate.
More subtly, it reflects the antics of certain “bad apples” in government, a lesson particularly poignant in America today.
A retelling of the story of “Snow White,” the film is told from the perspective of the evil queen (played by Julia Roberts) who is frustrated at every turn attempting to vanquish the king’s daughter and rightful heir to the throne, Snow White.
Snow, meanwhile, is a shining example of purity at heart (she’s bashful, for instance, over having to kiss the prince to break a spell – it is, after all, her first kiss). She’s humble and gentle, yet fiery in the face of wrong. She’s courageous and strong, principled even when banished to join a band of outlaws. She’s a heroine out to save the prince, for a change, without going overboard into some sort of feminist mantra.
There’s even a surprisingly Bible-affirming theme in the film about the evils of sorcery.
“Are you ready to discover the price for using magic?” the Mirror asks the evil queen.
The queen dismisses the cost and demands the power. The price she pays, in turn, is steep – a refreshing morality tale about dabbling in the dark arts that is unusual from a genre that usually treats magic as neither good nor evil.
As a film, the story is a bit simplistic, and the script has its holes, but the characters are delightful, the dialogue is often outright hilarious and the costumes and sets are marvels on the screen. “Mirror Mirror” is never particularly profound and doesn’t deserve to win awards (except, perhaps, for costuming), but it was more entertaining than I had expected, and most audiences will likely enjoy it, from children right though grandparents.
But “Mirror Mirror” is also a story about a ruler gone corrupt and the nature of oppressive government. Is it only coincidence that it “mirrors” so closely the current administration?
The queen has lived in isolation from the people for years (Columbia, Harvard, the White House, vacationing in Hawaii and Paris – if you catch my hint) and slowly finds herself in charge of a financially crumbling kingdom (the U.S. isn’t a kingdom, but the parallel is still there, yes?).
Her answer to this dilemma? She’s going to spend lavishly in a scheme to fix her country’s financial fortunes (stimulus package!).
“But, my queen,” her advisor explains, “you’re broke.”
Her answer? “Then go collect more taxes!”
Sounds quite a bit like the plan proposed by Obama – spend the nation into oblivion, then raise taxes to pay for it.
Later, the local magistrate balks at surrendering the people’s money to the queen’s czar, I mean, assistant. But tax day just so happens to arrive right after the kingdom is devastated by news of Snow White’s death.
“Are you seriously going to argue about money,” the queen’s assistant asks, “on this day of grieving?”
No sooner were the words out of the assistant’s lips, than my wife and I turned to one another in the theater and said in near unison, “No, because you should never let a crisis go to waste.”
Of course, the words we quoted weren’t actually spoken in “Mirror Mirror,” but by Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Later in the film, Snow White learns the bandits have stolen what the thieves call “the queen’s gold,” but what is really the collected tax money.
“Did you break into the queen’s palace to steal it?” she asks.
“No, we got it outside the village,” she’s told.
“So you stole the people’s gold,” she responds.
Wait! Wait! You mean tax money is actually the people’s money? Hmm … sounds like “Evil Queen Obama” could learn a few things by looking in the “Mirror.”
- “Mirror Mirror” contains only two very minor profanities and no obscenities.
- The film contains a significant amount of flirtation, lusting, innuendo and sexual themes, without actually depicting any sexuality outside of kissing or any nudity except a man’s chest and a bit of cleavage here and there. For example, in one scene the queen is driven to distraction by lusting after prince’s bare chest. In another, a man turned into a cockroach laments that a grasshopper “took advantage” of him. While it’s mostly all in the meaningful looks and playful banter (like the prince flicking Snow’s rear with a sword during a fight scene), it may make some parents with children in tow uncomfortable.
- The film also contains a fair amount of swordplay-style violence, with characters getting knocked down, punched, disarmed and so forth, but there are no blood, gore or serious wounds depicted. On a related note, there is a scene where the queen is given a “beauty treatment” that includes being stung and smeared with bird droppings, among other gross images – all played for humor.
- As mentioned above, the movie portrays magic as an evil force that comes back to bite those who would wield it. There are some unexplained magic symbols, a magical crescent-shaped pendant, potions, a dragon and a magic mirror that transports the queen to the home of witch-like character who weaves spells. Though no incantations or other “magic” is practiced on screen, there is a scene where the witch controls marionettes in a voodoo-like fashion, causing real wooden soldiers to manifest and do her bidding. There is a line that claims, “Everyone has magic within them, though very few learn to use it wisely,” and a line that pronounces, “One of God’s great mysteries is His plan for each of us.”