Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Review — High Hos

But are they high enough after eighty years?

  • I was thinking of how best to start 2017 on a positive note and decided that now would be a good time to get my Disney Animated Canon marathon going. Because let’s face it, we all got into the whole animated storytelling business thanks to Disney movies, and even though most anime fans would move on from the princesses in order to idolize teenage girls, Disney still sticks in our mind.
  • Hell, they’re still going strong right now given how long ago Snow White – which I should note came out in the late 30s and was the first feature-length animated film ever – and while they’ve sullied their reputation a bit along the way, most people still consider their existence to be a good thing, which is pretty damn impressive by studio standards.
  • Given how western animation in general (especially these days) has been taking inspiration from anime, it’s not like these films are mutually exclusive from the guys who gave us Gurren Lagann. Plus, I want to try out some new review techniques like this bullet-point format and see if they connect with people.
  • I’ll be going through all of these films in order, starting from Snow White and ending on Moana with no fixed schedule. With that said, let’s talk about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the film that kickstarted the whole Disney princess formula that has been lauded by young girls, seen as okay by young boys, and criticized to hell by people who say they’re smart, even though they don’t know the actual definition of the word.

Is it me, or does Snow White look like she walked in a different cartoon?

  • For the uninitiated who never had a childhood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is about a young princess whose evil vain stepmother wants to have dead so that she can be the fairest in the land. A land that is very sparsely populated since you never seen any actual people or towns around besides the princess, the prince, the dwarfs, and so on. Everything else that populates the film is nature and the animals that inhabit it, including one turtle who I always felt sorry for because the movie kept giving him the short end of the stick.
  • After the queen’s magic mirror states that those not-ugly-at-all maid rags could not keep Snow White from being the fairest in the land, she sends her personal huntsman to kill her. Said huntsman finds he can’t do it and makes her run away through a creepy forest where she ends up befriending all the animals, who lead her to the house of seven dwarves whose relationship with each other is kinda unclear. Maybe the original Brother Grimms book clarifies how Dopey is related to Happy, but there’s no such indication in the film besides them mining a shit ton of diamonds that they never think to cash in for a grand life for no real reason.
  • The dwarves discover Snow White making their place a clean environment and accept her in the house – with Grumpy taking longer due to his old-man tendencies – while the Queen finds out she’s alive and disguises herself as an old ugly woman (insert that’s what she’s like on the inside symbolism pun here) in order to trick our naive princess into eating a poisoned apple that can only be cured by true love’s kiss. A feat that would be unlikely because normal people would bury a dead person and definitely not kiss the corpse’s lips.
  • Even though most people know this plot, I feel it’d be unprofessional to state what happens after, so let’s just say there’s a one-year timeskip near the end that felt pretty unnecessary given how you could have easily accomplished the same goal with a one-month timeskip. Or a seasonal one.

It’s pretty impressive how they never animate the Queen smiling

  • Snow White’s visuals and character designs are like still good for the most part, even though Snow White herself, along with the prince whose every dialogue is a song, look kinda weird compared to the animals and the dwarves. Don’t really know how to describe it, but she’s definitely drawn with a softer style than her male friends. And y’know, for a film that functions as the prototype for Disney princess stuff, there’s some pretty scary imagery in here. Yeah the Queen’s disguise has been known to creep kids out, but the moment when Snow White runs into the forest and sees everything as a horror show can’t be denied either.
  • However, I think the creepiest part of the film for me were the vultures. The ones with the evil eyes who observed all the chaos and when it was done, they flew down to pick apart the remains. Yeesh. Keep those motherfuckers away from me.
  • The songs in the film, I’m fine with for the most part. However, I’ve always been inclined towards “The Silly Song” since I was a kid, mostly for that part where Dopey gets on top of Sneezy in order to dance with Snow White. That and I like how the song’s lyric blatantly state that the tune and words are dumb and meaningless, because that’s what silly songs are. I also kinda like “Heigh Ho” and “Whistle While You Work”, but only because I grew up with ’em.
  • Also, the climax is cool when it’s around at a stark 2-minute runtime, and when you add in all the resolution, it gets up to maybe 5 minutes. Yeah it’s ironic how much we complain about anime not having enough time to execute things when these old Disney films can do finales in the length of a short.

Admittedly, the Prince’s always singing voice is preferable to the wooden acting seen when he’s depicted in video games

  • As of today, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ storytelling is very much a product of its time with the dwarves being the only ones who show any actual character – with most of said character being in their names – and them having chemistry with only Snow White herself. While the queen’s animation is great, she feels too much like a prototype Maleficent to really be all that engaging. And of course, no one really looks at Snow White herself and thinks she’s a bastion of complexity.
  • However, if you’re one of those people who get enjoyment out of pure emotion, the film should tide you over fine despite its dated animation and tropes. Although for a film that’s only a little longer than eighty minutes, it sure felt 10-15 minutes longer.

Minor Quips

  • What exactly does “Doc” mean anyways? Like he’s the leader of the group or something?
  • I wonder what the magic mirror does when the queen isn’t constantly checking her frown.

2 responses to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Review — High Hos

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