Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Reviews
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves officially marks the first instance in which the overtly cartoonish style they were known for in shorts became mixed with more realistic models that seemed to move and act on an entirely different plane. That is to say they did. They were animated apart from the other subjects and painted onto different cels, and it holds up as well as Dopey and Sneezy in a trenchcoat. This creates my biggest gripe with Disney's feature films, being an inconsistant artstyle that only creates visual turmoil onscreen. This is where it began, and since this was the start of many successful films following it, this is why it mostly didn't stop.
The first wave feminist angle has done this movie in easily, but an angle that I'm not sure has been realized as well is the religious one. It's barely there but it does come out in the writing, and creates an entirely different perspective on why this film isn't something I would want to show my hypothetical daughters.
Only one small scene shows it. After the dwarves fight over a pillow downstairs, Snow White is seen and heard praying upstairs to the night sky (this was before the star). She feels "blessed" for the kindness of the dwarves and "prays" for the realization of her romantic wishes, "amen". The dialogue is probably written without a thought in mind as popular America was and is overtly Christian.
What follows right after is the temptation of the apple. What occurred before was a princess basically mothering a bunch of old men in a polite and proper fashion, undertaking the tasks of a housewife and being an all around flawless kind girl. Snow White is written as the perfect Madonna, and the minute she gives into a bit of her own desire, elements of the Eve story are impossible to ignore.
It is only her remaining beauty (two seasons of avoiding decay and somehow not losing the blush in her cheeks after her blood congeals and her pulse stops) that saves her in the end and allows her wishes to be granted. Of course her actions beforehand were accompaniment to her beauty, and it acts as the other male characters' memory of her, but in a story of competition between two women on how good they look it's obvious that the simple fairy tale just doesn't translate well when given Christian overtones. The original fairy tale has stronger comparisons to Roman mythology and the tale of Mercury, Apollo, and Chione.
Especially now when Disney (both man and studio)'s faults have been mostly realized, they only succeed in making the film more uncomfortable and bumpy to watch. The relationship of Snow White and the dwarves teeters on motherly love and their own attractions, Grumpy's sexism is extremely off putting and only serves to strengthen the film's own messages of a Madonna/Eve duality, and the "slave" in the magic mirror is modeled with common (though subtle) cartoon facial tropes of black men.
The main factors that have aged well are the senses of extremities in emotion during those scenes dedicated to it. Snow White surrounded by terrifying green eyes in the forest is fantastic emphasis on the realization of her murderous stepmother, the Queen's spell brewing and transformation sequences create great atmosphere, and even a couple of the dwarves' scenes devoted to padding are effective like the silly song or Snow White's story of romance. The rest of the padding is unfortunately quite sleep inducing (a VERY bad thing for this film especially), and it takes up dozens of minutes. This is a half-hour film stretched out to feature length.
The songs, now that I think about it, are quite underwhelming. It's only because they've existed for about a hundred years that we all remember them. And since Disney has had so much practice with animating charming things and making a happy atmosphere, those types of scenes come and go without much impact anymore.
Snow White is emotionally sound and an impressive start to cinematic animation. The thematics are far too simplistic for us to really get into, and a bit too flawed and outdated for kids nowadays. It's a classic that is easy to praise, but only to a certain point. Although no other major ones exist, this adaptation of the German fairy tale certainly isn't fairest in the land.
|It's an 8,9 out of 10|
It was so charming. I'll definitely be watching it again.
Now this is classic Disney.