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Category: Lily Collins

'Mirror Mirror': What happened to the fairy-tale renaissance?

April 2, 2012 |  7:00 am

"Mirror Mirror," starring Julia Roberts and Lily Collins and directed by Tarsem Singh, is the latest fairy-tale disappointmentOf all the ways American pop culture defines itself in the early part of the 21st century, myths -- larger than life, older than time -- supersede them all.  World-creation (usually based on the rules of a world someone previously created) is what we consume, as one glance at the "Lord of the Rings"-ish enthusiasm for HBO's just-launched second season of "Game of Thrones" demonstrates.

No world is getting (re)created these days more than the one shaped by the Brothers Grimm. And yet it's these myths we seem to want least.

This was supposed to be the era of the fairy-tale movie. Big studios threw big money at big stars to take us to the land of happily ever after. In part, this was -- let's be honest -- because the source material came cheap. But it was also happening for all sorts of cultural reasons, we were told, a metaphor for evil and escape in a post-9/11 world, children's folklore with a Christopher Nolan spin.

TIMELINE: Snow White through the years

Yet like Cinderella's slippers on the other women, none of them have quite fit. In fact, fairy-tale movies so far have been dismal commercial and creative affairs. This past weekend's "Mirror Mirror," starring Lily Collins as the put-upon princess Snow White, was the latest such disappointment -- a paltry $19-million opening, just a 53% favorable rating on Movie Review Intelligence. And though you can toss out specific reasons for its failure (mistimed marketing, the diminishing appeal of Julia Roberts), it's starting to feel like something larger is going on here.

Tarsem Singh's decision to spin a fairy tale into a bouncy, punny, girl-empowerment story has fared no better than the bending of the form to other genres, not to the earnest teen romance ("Beastly") nor the gory period thriller ("Red Riding Hood"), both of which struck out with critics and audiences as well. Over the river and through the woods, to the house of flopdom we go.

This is all in pointed contrast to other mythic cinematic offerings -- the kind, such as "Harry Potter" or "The Hunger Games," that take stories to the realm of the fantastic without the strictures and expectations of a direct fairy-tale adaptation. It's also in contrast to television, where the fantasy procedural “Grimm” and the fairy-tale adventure "Once Upon a Time" have both enjoyed at least modest success, suggesting that if you are indeed going to try to put your mark on the Brothers Grimm, perhaps you need more than 100 minutes to do it well.

TIMELINE: Snow White through the years

There's still time for others to reverse the tide: Universal Pictures has been parceling out pieces of this June's "Snow White and the Huntsman," for example, hoping that the straight-faced seriousness of an action movie will be the fairy-tale formula that finally catches on. Maybe it will. Or maybe we'd rather look to new, "Games of Thrones"-like horizons instead of continuing to gaze in the mirror.


Hollywood is churning out classic fairy-tales -- with a twist

"Mirror Mirror": Snow White tale is fair (not fairest), critics say

Box Office: Greek gods, Snow White no match for "The Hunger Games"

--Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Lily Collins as Snow White, surrounded by dwarfs, in "Mirror Mirror." Credit: Relativity Media

'Mirror Mirror': Snow White tale is fair (not fairest), critics say

March 30, 2012 |  2:21 pm

Mirror Mirror
The first of two Snow White films this year, "Mirror Mirror" outfits the classic fairy tale with some humorous elements (Julia Roberts as a catty evil queen), some modern updates (Lily Collins' Snow White wields her own sword) and some visual flair courtesy of director Tarsem Singh ("The Cell," "Immortals"). Many movie critics are finding the film to be, well, fair.

In a positive review for The Times, Sheri Linden calls "Mirror Mirror" a "visually inventive interpretation" of the familiar fairy tale that manages to avoid "shortchanging the requisite froufrou or sugarcoating the story's dark Oedipal heart." Roberts pulls off "an exceptionally entertaining evil monarch" and leads a game cast, including Collins, "a convincing foil," and Armie Hammer ("J. Edgar"), who lets "his princely flag fly." Linden adds that director Singh's "singular knack for spectacle" is mostly put to good use and owes much to "Tom Foden's lush and witty production design and the splendid costumes by Eiko Ishioka."

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times similarly declares "Mirror Mirror" "a sumptuous fantasy for the eyes," with the caveat that it's also "a pinball game for the mind, as story elements collide and roll around bumping into each other." Beyond the impressive visuals and a show-stealing turn by Roberts, Ebert says there's not much depth: "The dialogue is rather flat, the movie sort of boring, and there's not much energy in the two places it should really be felt: Between the Queen and Snow White, and between Snow and the Prince."

TIMELINE: Snow White through the years

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The battle over 'Snow White' movies: Who will be the fairest and first of all? [update]

May 23, 2011 |  1:12 pm

Kristenstewart When Universal Pictures announced last week that it was moving up the release date for "Snow White and the Huntsman," its reimagining of the classic fairy tale, to June 1, 2012, it was clear the studio had thrown the first punch in a contentious bout to get its "Snow White" movie to theaters first. (The film, which will star Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth, was previously slated for December 2012.) Universal is battling against Relativity Media, which had already slated its untitled "Snow White" film (starring Julia Roberts as the evil queen) for June 29, 2012. 

Now sources say Relativity Media is deliberating whether to make the next move and jump its  film ahead of Universal's. It's a game that seems unlikely to end well: Neither movie has started filming.

Director Rupert Sanders is supposed to begin shooting Universal's $160 million-budgeted fairy tale in August in London. Relativity, meanwhile, is expected to start production sooner but with plans to turn that film (which also stars Lily Collins as the titular character and "Social Network's" Armie Hammer as the prince) into a 3-D spectacle, the movie will require more work in post-production. Correction: Relativity confirms that its "Snow White" will not be in 3-D.

Let's see if Relativity goes forward with another release-date move. They don't have a lot of room to maneuver. May 2012 looks pretty crowded with "The Avengers," "Men in Black: 3D" and "Battleship" already scheduled. However, "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is the only female-centric film so far to stake a claim to the month, though the studio says its movie will be a family-friendly action adventure film closer to the original Disney classic.

There is no guarantee that going first will result in better performance at the box office, but more often than not, it seems to pay off. "Tombstone," which came out in late 1993, grossed more than double what another western-themed film, "Wyatt Earp," did when it was released six months later. In 2004, "Troy" made close to $500 million worldwide when it debuted six months ahead of another swords-and-sandals epic, "Alexander," which earned just $167 million around the globe. Only "Armageddon" disproved the first-is-best theory: It earned $200 million opening only two months after the disaster movie "Deep Impact," which grossed $140 million.

It will be interesting to see how far these two studios can push it. They can shave only so much time off the schedule before the cast and crew start to balk.


Hollywood is churning out classic fairy tales with a twist

Kristen Stewart vs. Lily Collins: Who's the fairest of them all?

After 'Twilight,' a fairy-tale renaissance looks for a happy ending

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Kristen Stewart. Credit: Evan Agostini/AP


Kristen Stewart vs. Lily Collins: Who's the fairest of them all?

April 2, 2011 |  9:43 am

Stewart              Lily













The announcement Friday that Lily Collins would play the title character in the other Snow White movie (or is Kristen Stewart's the other Snow White movie?) offers a rare chance to compare two actors who'll take on the same role at virtually the same time. Which one is best suited to play the fairy-tale heroine? We grade them on seven key characteristics.

Likability. Snow White has to be relatable if not downright sweet, Mia Wasikowska's Alice if not Anne Hathaway's princess. Stewart doesn't do smiling well. Collins, on the other hand, is a beaming presence who practically gushed to HitFix when she got the role. Advantage: Collins

Resume. Even at 21, Stewart has a lot of acting experience, not just in three "Twilight" movies but dramas such as "The Runaways" and "Welcome to the Rileys." Collins' most prominent role is as the daughter you nearly forgot amid Sandra Bullock's Oscar-winning performance in "The Blind Side." Advantage: Stewart

Tonsoriality. it's all about the hair. Stewart's can be lustrous, as in the photo above, but it can also be gothy, stringy, unprincessy. Plus she's always tugging at it. Not very Snow White. Collins' is long, flowing, Rapunzel-like. Advantage: Collins

Pedigree. Stewart's father was a stage manager, giving him some everyman respectability. Collins' father was the man who gave the world "Su-su-sudio." Advantage: Heavily Stewart

Attractiveness. Always a subjective category. We'll defer to the experts. Collins landed on Maxim's list of the 20 hottest daughters of rock stars. Kristen Stewart failed to make Maxim's Hot 100 last year, though did merit an FHM mention. Advantage: Collins (despite the loose definition of "rock star")

Slyness. Mental acuity is just as much a part of Snow White as physical beauty; after all, you need to outsmart the queen and her evil designs. Collins went to Harvard-Westlake and is studying journalism at USC. Stewart left organized education in the seventh grade. Advantage: Heavily Collins

Fleetfootedness. You have to outrun the huntsman and anyone else the queen will send after you. As Bella Swan, Stewart has plenty of on-screen practice running away from the bad guys, even if she mumbles incoherently while she does it. Collins has mostly avoided any pursuer-type situations. Advantage: Stewart

Final tally: Collins: Three advantages, one heavy advantage. Stewart: Two advantages, one heavy advantage


How many new Snow Whites does the world need?

Will Kristen Stewart make a good Snow White?

Kristen Stewart: Breaking Dawn will change people's minds about Bella Swan

--Steven Zeitchik


Photos: Kristen Stewart. (credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images) Lily Collins. (credit: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)


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