Mirror, Mirror

By Jared Young

Mailed on January 22, 2013

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Dear Eiko Ishioka
Costume Designer

Dear Eiko,

There are many reasons to make movies. Jon Peters tried for years to make a movie just so that he could see a giant mechanical spider onscreen. Sony rebooted a Spider-Man franchise barely a decade old just to maintain the creative rights to the character. And the entire second half of Nicolas Cage's career seems to be an endurance test (for both him and audiences) in the service of paying off his income tax debts.

And what's the reason for Mirror, Mirror? Well, that becomes clear about a third of the way through the film: swan hats.

This was a real coup for you, Eiko. And clearly made the most of the opportunity - you've been nominated for an Academy Award! Congratulations! Talk about putting a feather in your cap.

There's also something admirable about director Tarsem Singh's attempt to imbue a modern colloquial tone into a classical fairy-tale treatment of the Snow White story. Unfortunately, the substance of this movie seems to be not in the form, but in the style--much of which is expressed in your golden cloaks and stunning ball gowns and elaborate costume-ball get-ups (which is where we get to see the swan hats, the bunny-ears top-hat, the antler hat, etc.).

That focus on aesthetics, while pleasant, comes with a price. The chemistry between Lily Collins and Armie Hammer feels wasted, Nathan Lane seems only to be operating at three-quarters efficiency, and Julia Roberts, who plays the wicked witch like the darkest timeline version of Vivian from Pretty Woman, can't quite chew the scenery fast enough (and there's a lot of scenery).

But what does it matter to you? This is a film made to showcase your talents, and as an amateur fashionisto, I can say that they are considerable. Best of luck on Oscar night, and, please, if you can, send me a link to where I can purchase one of those hats.



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