Shop Menu

Product Review: Mirror Mirror vs Snow White and the Huntsman

Warning: May Contain Spoilers

This year has seen the release of two movies based on the classic Grimm Brothers fairytale – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. While there have been many movies based on this tale in the past, the first and most memorable being the Disney movie of the same name, none have been quite as startling in their contrast to each other as Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror.

Having watched and enjoyed both of the movies for their own individual merits, I have compiled a list of differences in some of the key characters and themes in order to review and compare each movie.

Snow White

Mirror Mirror
The Snow White in Mirror Mirror (Lily Collins) starts out as the typical Snow White character from the book, sweet, innocent and a little naive about the way the world really works. However, in a bit of a twist from the usual tale, once Snow White finds herself in the company of the seven dwarfs she not only joins them but becomes the leader of the rebellious band. While she becomes stronger and bolder she somehow manages to hang onto the purity and sweetness one would expect from Snow White.

I must say that I was fairly impressed by Lily Collin’s portrayal of Snow White, while not the best I have ever seen she definitely brought the character over well and was believable in her innocence and naivete. The only thing about Lily Collins that distracted me from her performance was her eyebrows. It may seem like a silly thing to complain about, but I’m pretty sure “fairest in the land” does not translate to “I am the love child of Eugene Levy and Frida Kahlo

Snow White and the Huntsman
I would like to say how the Snow White from Snow White and the Huntsman was a lot closer to the character from the book than her counterpart in Mirror Mirror. I would also like to say that the interesting differences in plot made it possible for an aspect of Snow White that we have not before picked up from the books to be brought forward. Unfortunately the choice of Kristen Stewart as the actress for the role prevents me from offering up such comments. The entire movie felt like a weird new chapter in the Twilight Saga, thanks to the fact that Kristen Stewart has apparently only one facial expression and insists on using the same breathless, stunted speech pattern that she did in her portrayal of Bella Swan.

The movie allowed for a potentially stunning look at the character of Snow White, of the powers of her purity and innocence and how they have the ability to physically manifest in a way not covered in any movie before. A better choice in casting would have made all the difference to the characters’ reception and it is a pity that this small casting error detracts from the originality of the movie.


The Evil Queen

Mirror Mirror
Once we meet the Evil Queen (Clementianna) in Mirror Mirror it is made obvious that this movie is meant to be a somewhat comical take on the classic tale. Julia Roberts is brilliant in her portrayal of the Evil Queen, obsessed with her beauty and willing to undertake whatever measures necessary in order to remain the fairest in the land. The Evil Queen in this movie is less sinister and more an overly enthusiastic cougar trying desperately to get the attentions of the handsome young Prince in order to win his hand – and his fortune, which she desperately needs to cover the debts incurred by her lavish and extravagant lifestyle. Probably not one of Julia Roberts’ best roles, but she is definitely enjoyable and shows that she is still one of the best looking women in Hollywood.

Snow White and the Huntsman
Charlize Theron delivers an absolutely stunning performance in her portrayal of the Evil Queen (Ravenna) in Snow White and the Huntsman. Her character was the highlight of the movie for me. Twisted, sinister and without morals, she preys on the young and beautiful in order to maintain her youth and beauty. After taking over the Kingdom on the night of her wedding, she reduces the land to a waste and rules with an iron (yet still pretty) fist.

The displays of her power are excellent, from her draining of young women in order to obtain their youth, to the absolutely spectacular scene where she takes on the form of a flock of ravens and returns in a black puddle of muck from which she takes back her human form. The special effects were definitely put to good use in this movie. This is definitely a pivotal role for Charlize, and proves that she has earned her status as one of the top actresses in Hollywood. I honestly feel that without her the movie would have failed.


The King

Mirror Mirror
Traditionally the role of the King in the story of Snow White is a short one, we meet him long enough to know of his love for Snow White and then he is tragically snatched from her. Mirror Mirror starts out with this theme, although we don’t actually see an actor playing the King (the opening scene is done with puppets). Where the movie takes a twist from the usual tale is that the King is returned to Snow White at the end of the film, after we find out that he has been the evil beast haunting the woods (having been turned into a monster by the Evil Queen, instead of being killed). The King is played by Sean Bean and it is quite a waste of his superb acting talents to have him play such a small role, he is infinitely more regal in A Game of Thrones and could possibly have been better utilised in this film.
Snow White and the Huntsman
The story of the King in Snow White and the Huntsman is much closer to the traditional story role. After losing his wife he goes to war against a mysterious shadow army that has invaded his lands. Once the army has fallen he discovers a wagon in which a prisoner is being transported. The prisoner, despite being dirty and shabby, immediately steals his heart and the very next day he marries her. The only slight divergence from the traditional tale is that usually the Evil Queen disposes of the King in a way that will deceive his loyal followers into believing she is innocent of the crime and his death was a tragic accident. In this movie the Queen first poisons and then blatantly murders the King by stabbing him in the chest on their wedding night. A short and gruesome end for Noah Huntley who plays the King well enough but without leaving any lasting impression on the mind of the viewer.
The Magic Mirror

Mirror Mirror
The concept for the Magic Mirror in Mirror Mirror is one I have never seen before and it takes a very different approach to the way the mirror works. The Evil Queen approaches a normal mirror and speaks the traditional mantra of “Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”. But instead of the mirror responding, it opens a portal to another dimension containing a reed and thatch hut on stilts over a lake that is full of mirrors, in which is housed her reflection (which is also the source of her magic powers). I found it a pity that this brilliant new way to portray the Magic Mirror was used in a comedy version of the story, it really was an interesting way to interpret the Magic Mirror and would have done better in a more serious movie like Snow White and the Huntsman.
Snow White and the Huntsman
This film also takes a slightly different approach to the traditional Magic Mirror. In Snow White and the Huntsman the Magic Mirror is a golden disc, from which appears a golden hooded and robed figure that responds to the Queen when she too asks “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”. The Magic Mirror worked well in this darker portrayal of the fairytale. Mysterious and possibly evil it is only visible to the Evil Queen, which unfortunately has the effect of making the viewer think that she may just be a little more insane than evil.
The Seven Dwarfs

Mirror Mirror
Once again Mirror Mirror seems unable to decide between keeping to the traditional characters of the book, and making them unique. The Seven Dwarfs are, for the most part, true to the personalities of the dwarfs from the original fairytale. Where they differ is that these mischevious ex-miners decide to take on a life of crime in order to survive after being thrown out of the Kingdom by the Evil Queen.

After taking in Snow White they train her in the ways of banditry and convince her to join them in their life of thievery, but only after she in turn convinces them to turn over all of their profits to the poor and starving people of the once happy Kingdom. All of the actors used in this movie were actual dwarfs, and I particularly enjoyed seeing Martin Klebba (known for his character Marty in Pirates of the Caribbean) in his role as Butcher.

Snow White and the Huntsman
Snow White and the Huntsman has fallen under heavy criticism for its use of actors of “normal” height for the casting of the Seven (or in this case eight) Dwarfs, as opposed to using dwarf actors. Warrick Davis (made famous for his role as Willow in the movie of the same name, as well as recurring roles in the Star Wars franchise and the Harry Potter franchise) in particular has been very outspoken about it and had the following to say (quote courtesy of

“Considering the vast experience of many short actors working in the film industry today, I think it inexcusable that in casting for Snow White & the Huntsman, producers did not utilise this pool of talent. My colleague Peter Dinklage won an Emmy for his performance in Game of Thrones, proving that short actors need roles that will not only challenge them, but allow them to express themselves as actors in their own right. It is not acceptable to ‘black up’ as a white actor, so why should it be acceptable to ‘shrink’ an actor to play a dwarf?” –

That being said, the dwarfs were all quite enjoyably portrayed. It is difficult to judge whether or not the film would have been less successful if the dwarfs had not been played by such well know and high caliber actors. But as Warrick Davis pointed out, there are many well known and established dwarf actors who could have brought just as much to the roles as their taller counterparts did.


The Prince

Mirror Mirror
The role of the Prince in the traditional fairytale is quite simple – find Snow White, fall in love, bring her back to life with a kiss. This doesn’t leave much wiggle room as far as trying a different approach with the portrayal of the character. And yet Mirror Mirror manages to bring a bit of a twist to the tale, in that Snow White is the one who does the kissing. After the Prince (Armie Hammer) has been placed under a spell by the Evil Queen (amusingly, she mistakenly gives him a potion for puppy love instead of true love) it is up to Snow White to figure out the reason for his sudden infatuation with the Evil Queen and to break the spell by offering up her first kiss.
Snow White and the Huntsman
Again a very different approach was taken with the Prince for Snow White and the Huntsman. In this film the Prince (Sam Claflin), who is known as William, is a childhood friend of Snow White. When the Evil Queen takes over the Kingdom William is separated from Snow White as those loyal to the King flee from the Kingdom and fail in their attempt to rescue her. Over the years he assumes that she has been killed by the Evil Queen, but once he realises she is alive he does everything in his power to be reunited with her. Unfortunately this effort is wasted, as in another unconventional twist, Snow White falls for the Huntsman instead of the Prince. This little twist irritated me, but was somewhat understandable in light of the casting for the Huntsman (more on him below).
The Huntsman

Mirror Mirror
The traditional role of the Huntsman is completely done away with in Mirror Mirror. Instead the duty of luring Snow White into the woods and pretending to kill her is left up to the Evil Queen’s manservant, Brighton (Nathan Lane). Poor Brighton really does suffer under the hand of the Evil Queen, as any intelligent, middle class manservant would while serving an overly enthusiastic widow with a penchant for younger men. Eventually he falls into the traditional role of the Huntsman when he refuses to kill Snow White and allows her to flee instead. Once the Queen discovers Brighton’s treachery, she turns him into a cockroach as punishment with some rather bizarre and unfortunate consequences for Brighton. Nathan Lane has always been one of my favourite actors, and he does not disappoint in his role in this movie.
Snow White and the Huntsman
The Huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman seems to follow the more traditional role, but also has major differences that add to the plot. A grieving widower with nothing to lose, the Huntsman is baited into finding and killing Snow White by the Evil Queen, in return she promises to bring his late wife back to life. Later he finds out from the Evil Queen’s brother that this is impossible, and during his time with Snow White slowly falls in love with her. It is his kiss, instead of the kiss of the Prince (William), that restores life to Snow White by removing the curse of the poison apple. And together they fight to take back her Kingdom. The Huntsman is played by Chris Hemsworth, and while the role was interesting I feel he was cast more for the “eye candy” factor and the fact that he is a recognizable actor, than for anything he could bring to the role.
The Queens Anti Aging Routine

Although some may not find this an important or pivotal part of the storyline, the differences in the Queen’s anti-aging routine is so drastic that I just had to make a comparison.
Mirror Mirror
In Mirror Mirror, the queen subjects herself to a number of treatments in order to maintain her appearance. This is mainly due to the fact that her magic is starting to wane, and thanks to the constant warnings of her reflection she is forced to take steps that do not include the use of magic.

This beauty regime includes the use of bees (to sting her lips into an Angelina Jolie style pout), Garra Rufa fish, scorpions, maggots, a milk bath and a face mask made of bird droppings. The entire process is lengthy and disgusting, but the end effect appears to be worth the torture.

Snow White and the Huntsman
In contrast, the beauty regime of Ravenna is much simpler. She regularly steals the youth and beauty of other women by using her magic to drain it from them. This is coupled with milk baths (the only technique that the movies have in common). After her milk bath the milk is drained out onto the streets where the starving and filthy inhabitants of the city gather or drink it (yuck).

In conclusion both movies are definitely worth watching and owning. It is difficult to pick a favourite between the two, especially seeing as both were done in different genres. As a comedy Mirror Mirror is funny and intelligent and well worth watching over and over. The plot is interesting and the storyline is light and easy to follow. The cast are mostly well known and show their worth by bringing to life the timeless characters from a well known and classic tale.

Snow White and the Huntsman had the potential to be one of the greatest movies of the year, it is a dark retelling (although I found the fact that most of the characters in the movie are constantly dirty and covered in filth to be somewhat irritating). For the most part it is a truly excellent film and definitely one I will watch again. If you can overlook Kristen Stewart’s dismal portrayal of Snow White, then it will probably become a favourite movie to add to your collection.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply