We were lucky enough to get two lovely movie-related treats this holiday. First, a gorgeous package from Alvin and his friends, the Chipmunks. This included their latest DVD, Chipwrecked, and some exquisitely beautiful biscuits, baked and hand-painted by the Biscuiteers. I have long dreamed of getting my paws on an offering from the Biscuiteers. Admittedly, I was thinking more of love hearts or flowers than of small rodents …. but there you go, these were as delicious as they looked. I saw the first of the Chipmunks’ movie outings recently and was very pleasantly surprised. I was expecting to be driven mad by the helium-induced squeaks, but they were a curiously lovable bunch and this DVD is going to be my secret weapon against holiday doldrums.
Next, we were thrilled to be asked to the premier of Mirror Mirror, a lavish affair that was a sumptuous visual treat. Once you have got over the fact that the beautiful Snow White is played by Phil Collins’s daughter, Lily – yes! Really! I know! But she’s actually very beautiful, in an Audrey Hepburn doe-eyed way. As TL said, her mother must have been really, really good looking. And he never says things like that.
I was initially blown away by the fabulous colours and costume – the film really looks good enough to eat – but I became a bit disturbed by the message. As usual, I have reservations about the function of fairytales like this one and Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and the rest – they are basically cautionary tales to warn females off certain types of behaviour. Mirror Mirror also stars Julia Roberts, as the evil queen dealing very badly with those traditional female bugbears, ageing and jealousy. Normally, as you know, the queen asks the mirror who is the fairest of them all, and doesn’t like the reply, that Snow White has eclipsed her own beauty. This crucial scene is, for some reason, missing, though the queen is as paranoid about ageing as ever (the ‘treatment’ scene is truly horrible). So the film seemed to be trying to move away from the idea of the young girl stealing the older woman’s physical thunder – their fight is ostensibly over the unfair taxes the queen extracts from her impoverished subjects – but the queen was still obsessed with her looks. Why? And why, also, was the mirror itself housed in a creepy rickety beach hut in the middle of a lake? All a bit strange.
I did find it sad that Julia Roberts has now reached the wicked queen age, as far as Hollywood is concerned. I feel I have grown up with her towering over us all on the big screen, from Pretty Woman (itself a Cinderella spin-off) to Notting Hill and beyond …. Now, at whatever age she may be, but definitely older than me, she is still unlined and lovely and has obviously undergone ‘treatments’ which are even more revolting than those portrayed in this film. An irony, or just very sad?
I did love the look of this film, and it ended in a triumphant and beautiful Bollywood-style joyous dance scene, with Snow White cheekily reprising her traditional Disney costume of blue and white, but this time tied with an enormous, cheeky orange bow. Well worth seeing, despite its oddities, and your children will love it unreservedly.