Catholic Movie Reviews - Mirror Mirror, Wrath of the Titans

By  Catholic News Service
  • March 30, 2012

While everybody is still busy talking about The Hunger Games (read our review here), this week's two releases will provide an alternative to audiences. Wrath of the Titans is a sequel to 2010's Clash of the Titans, while Mirror Mirror sees Julia Roberts playing an evil queen who steals control of a kingdom in a new adaptation of the Snow White fairy-tale.

MirrorBig

Mirror Mirror

By Joseph McAleer Catholic News Service

NEW YORK - "Who's the fairest one of all?" The answer may surprise you in "Mirror Mirror" (Relativity), a fresh live-action take on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

This go-round, the handsome prince is the center of attention, as the wicked queen and her lovely stepdaughter stage a battle royal for his hand, and the fate of a kingdom hangs in the balance.

Directed with high camp by Tarsem Singh ("Immortals"), "Mirror Mirror" piles on the one-liners and innuendos, along with life lessons that range from the need to help the poor and fight discrimination to the importance of promoting feminism. The end result is a bit leaden and somewhat charmless for a children's fairy tale. But remarkable costumes and grand set pieces go a long way to compensate.

Playing against type, Julia Roberts is the evil Queen, chewing up the scenery in glamorous ball gowns, and revealing her character to be insecure and afraid of growing old. The magic mirror offers a creepy-looking self-image that dispenses bad advice.

With her stepdaughter, Snow White (Lily Collins), locked away in the tower, the Queen sets out to find a rich husband, whose fortune will save her bankrupt realm. The populace is poor and starving as a result of the crippling taxes exacted to support the monarch's lavish lifestyle. Her luxuries of choice include some gross-out spa treatments -- who knew pigeon droppings made the best ingredient for a facial?

Enter on horseback the fabulously wealthy Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), who catches the eye of both the Queen and Snow White. The Queen eliminates the competition by banishing Snow White and ordering her killed. But the hapless royal butler, Brighton (Nathan Lane), weakens, and Snow White escapes into the forest. There she stumbles upon the Seven Dwarfs.

Viewer, beware: These are not the endearing dwarfs of Disney lore. They are a wisecracking band of hoodlums with names like Napoleon (Jordan Prentice), Wolf (Sebastian Saraceno), and Butcher (Martin Klebba). They steal for a living, but Snow White persuades them to spare the poor and take from the Queen instead. They, in turn, teach her the ins and outs of street fighting.

Cross Robin Hood with Joan of Arc and you get the picture, as Snow White leads a crusade of diminutive warriors to overthrow the Queen, snag her Prince Charming, and live happily ... well, you know.

"Mirror Mirror" takes none of this seriously, and inside jokes abound. At one point, when it looks like the Queen may triumph, Prince Alcott interjects, "Don't change the ending! It's been focus-grouped, and it works."

It does, in its own unique fashion.

The film contains mild action violence, some rude humor, and one semi-profane utterance. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

 

Wrath of the Titans

Wrath of the Titans

By John Mulderig Catholic News Service

NEW YORK- Nothing less than the fate of the universe, so we're assured, is at stake in the mythological sequel "Wrath of the Titans" (Warner Bros.). Who would have guessed that an Olympian-scale near-apocalypse could prove such a bore?

Director Jonathan Liebesman's stilted 3-D follow-up to 2010's "Clash of the Titans" -- itself a remake of the 1981 cult hit of the same title -- centers, like its predecessor, on the conflicted demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington). Retired from the Kraken-killing biz and recently widowed, Perseus asks nothing more than to be allowed to ignore his semi-divinity and instead pursue a quiet life among mortals as a hardworking fisherman and devoted dad to his young son Helius (John Bell).

But that, of course, is not to be: Destiny and a massive special-effects budget dictate otherwise.

So Perseus' pa Zeus (Liam Neeson) comes calling. He's out to enlist the hardy lad's help in an impending cosmic war that will ultimately pit the King of the Gods against Perseus' Uncle Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and half-brother Ares (Edgar Ramirez).

Despite his daddy issues, a sweat-soaked nightmare convinces Perseus to go along with the plan. His allies in the struggle eventually include earthly warrior queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Poseidon's shifty son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) and the exiled smithy to the gods, Hephaestus (Bill Nighy).

Boulders fly and monsters die along the path of Perseus' quest. But the effects- and action-driven proceedings are all spectacle and no substance.

The pagan theologizing to which some of the pompous dialogue is devoted, moreover, may confuse the impressionable.

Thus we learn that the gods depend on the prayers of their human devotees for strength. Since people have become indifferent to them, Zeus et al. are not only unable to hold back the evil Titans they long ago imprisoned, they themselves are in very real danger of death. And, unlike human beings who have a place to go once they shuffle off this mortal coil, for a god, it seems, death means oblivion.

Adults, of course, will have no difficulty in dismissing the above, along with many of the other tedious ins and outs of Perseus' world. Given that most of the violence on view is restrained, and the language problems in Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson's script minimal, "Wrath of the Titans" is also possibly acceptable for older teens, at least those who have been well catechized.

The film contains pagan religious themes; constant, occasionally bloody, action violence; at least one mildly sexual joke; and a single crass term. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.