Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 229 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) directed by David Hand

Snow White is so famous that it invariably comes up from time to time so that it remains relatively fresh in my memory. Or that it is so influential that it has become a permanent fixture in my consciousness. I haven't seen this film since I was a little kid, but I feel like I could just throw it on and be familiar with it like an old friend I hadn't talked to in a while. Who could ever forget "Mirror mirror on the wall"? Who could forget the names of the seven dwarfs? (Well, I could. I just watched the film and I don't think I can name them all.) But perhaps more so than the historical significance of the film, it is the very first full length animated feature, or the familiar story any eight year old could recite, it is the feeling you get when you watch this film that leaves the greatest impression. There are a lot of films, even some great ones, that are pretty forgettable. You name a good movie and sometimes the only thing that comes to mind is "That was a pretty good movie." But you name a timeless classic like Snow White and you're not just talking about a movie, you're talking about a piece of your childhood and terms like magical, wonderful and enchanting get thrown around.

Snow White isn't my favorite Disney movie but it is perhaps the one that I respect the most for what it accomplished and the influence it would have. Yeah the story is kind of simple and contrived, but you can't help but admire its charm. I will say that I didn't remember this film being so frightening. You got this evil queen who wants Snow White's heart in a box for crying out loud. There is the huntsman who sneaks up behind Snow White and is about to Norman Bates her. When she flees through the woods it turns alive trying to eat her. These are pretty frightening images to little girls. And let's not even talk about the scene when the seven dwarfs sneak up on the sleeping Snow White. I've seen many videos start this way, haha. (I feel like I had to add in the haha to lighten that comment otherwise you'd just think I was a sick pervert. I take serious offense to being called sick!)

The animation is quite excellent and looks fantastic on Blu-ray, perhaps not quite as good as Bambi, but still pretty impressive. It's kind of insane to think that this entire thing is hand drawn and a single scene could take days if not weeks to do (though I'm sure working with computers present its own set of problems).

There isn't really much else I can say about the film. It kind of speaks for itself.

Grade: A-

1 comment:

  1. Yup. Classic.

    I am a crazy Disney fan, obsessed especially with the older movies, but do have to say that out of the first 5 or so classics (Dumbo, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, Snow White) this is my least favorite.

    Don't get me wrong, I still love it. It just doesn't have much more to offer to me other than being the first animated movie. That might very well be more to offer than anything... I get that, but I guess I mean it doesn't have a strong message like the other movies.

    Bambi is a grandiose retelling of all the big questions in life, told in as artistic a fashion as can be imagined.

    Pinocchio is a cautionary tale about peer pressure, conscience, and responsibility.

    Dumbo is about being comfortable in your own skin (and also about how awesome it is to get drunk because you get to see pink elephants on parade... best Disney scene ever!).

    Don't even get me started on Fantasia. Gotta be the most ambitious, artistic, and mind-blowing film of Disney's career. It could have taken American animation in a whole new direction had Disney's employees not gone on strike shortly afterwards and set him off on other pursuits (Disneyland).

    And then there is Snow White - the first one. Without it, none of the others would exist.

    9 out of 10 times, though, I'm opting for one of the other 4 when I get a hankering for classic WD.