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Featured Blu-ray Review: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

February 2nd, 2016

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Buy from Amazon: Blu-ray Combo Pack
Video on Demand

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a movie I swear I've reviewed. Maybe I've reviewed so many Disney classics that I can no longer remember which ones I've reviewed and which ones I haven't. This film is absolutely a classic in both senses of the word. It is the first feature-length cell-animated film, first hitting theaters nearly 80 years ago. Additionally, it is widely considered one of the best feature-length animated films of all times. However, part of that is due to nostalgia and how ground-breaking it was. If you ignore the age and the technological marvel it was at the time, does it still live up? Or has it aged poorly.

The Movie

The film begins, like so many of the early animated Disney films did, with a book of fairytales. We learn of a vain Queen, who checks with her Magic Mirror who is the fairest of them all. He always tells her she is. Except for today. Today, he tells the Evil Queen about a maiden with skin as white as snow, Snow White, who, despite wearing rags, is the fairest of them all. She also happens to be the queen's step-daughter.

We see Snow White doing chores, because that's what Disney Princesses do. She begins singing about the wishing well when a Prince joins in and begins singing as well. The prince has fallen in love with the princess and while Snow White is a little startled at first, she is intrigued.

Meanwhile, the Queen has summoned her faithful Hunstman. She tells him to take Snow White into the woods and kill her. Kill her and put her heart in a box, so that the Queen knows she is dead. He does what he's told, but when it comes to actually killing Snow White, she's too kind and pretty and he lets her go telling her to hide in the woods or the Queen will kill her.

She runs off frightened, but soon Snow White finds herself surrounded by woodland creatures and after a song, she asks if they know a place where she can sleep through the night? They know the perfect place, a small cabin in the woods. The keyword is small. She thinks there might be children living there, seven by the number of chairs. With how dirty the place is, she assumes they must be orphans. Feeling sorry for them, and needing a place to stay, Snow White and the animals clean up the place. By the time they are done, Snow White decides to take a nap.

Meanwhile, we see the actual occupants of the cabin, seven Dwarfs: Doc, Happy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy, Bashful, and Sleepy. The seven Dwarfs work in a mine, mining gems. When they come out at night, they see the lights on in their cabin and they freak out. They think there might be a ghost, or a goblin, or a dragon. ... Like a dragon could fit in their tiny cabin. They decide to sneak up to whatever it is and kill it. At the last second, they realize it isn't a demon, but a young lady. They might actually be more scared of her than they would be of a demon.

Fortunately Snow White is charming enough to win over the Dwarfs, plus she can cook and clean and they clearly can't. Only Grumpy isn't 100% sold. He's convinced the Queen will find her and wreak vengeance on them all. Turns out he's right, but those details are spoilers.

Like I mentioned above, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs does benefit from nostalgia and its place in the history of the medium. There are some elements that have not aged particularly well, both in the technical department and with its narrative. For instance, while the animation is very smooth, the characters sometimes move without weight. It was like they were floating through a scene rather than walking on solid ground. Additionally, techniques like the multiplane camera were used here, but were further developed later on. As for the narrative, the pacing isn't as tight as a lot of movies made today would be. Also, Snow White doesn't do much in this story. She doesn't have a whole lot of agency in what happens to her.

That said, I still think it is fair to call this movie a classic. It has one of the best bad guys in Disney's histories, while some of the songs, especially "Heigh-Ho", are still among the best the company has put out. I think it is safe to say "Heigh-Ho" isn't just a song, but a part of our pop culture heritage. I think that's a good way to describe Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs overall. It is not just a movie, but a part of our pop culture heritage.

The Extras

We have some good news and some bad news when it comes to the extras on this Blu-ray combo pack. Good news: There are plenty of new extras. Bad news: While much of the old extras are ported over, not all of them did. This is to be expected, as the old release was a two-disc Blu-ray. The new extras start with In Walt's Words, a four-minute audio interview with Walt Disney about the making of the movie. Iconography is a look at how Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs become such an pop culture phenomenon. Designing Disney's First Princess looks at Snow White's evolution from the early character designs. Sofia Carson of Descendants shows up to give us seven facts about the movie. Up next is a hip-hop retelling of the story. There is an alternative scene where Snow White meets the Prince. Finally, there is an extended version of the making of featurette from the original Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray combo pack costs $23, which is good for this type of release.

The Verdict

If you have the 2009 Blu-ray release for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, then I would keep it. It's got more extras. However, since that release is out of print, getting this Blu-ray Combo Pack is a great deal.

Filed under: Video Review, Walt Disney, Sofia Carson, Adriana Caselotti, Lucille La Verne, Moroni Olsen, Stuart Buchanan, Harry Stockwell, Roy Atwell, Otis Harlan, Billy Gilbert, Eddie Collins, Pinto Colvig, Scotty Mattraw