Review of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

4th February, 2011 - Posted by DisAnim - Comments Off on Review of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The Seven Dwarves and Walt Disney

Regardless of whether you like Snow White, you can’t downplay its significance in the history of animation. It was the first full length animated feature. Everyone at the time said that it couldn’t be done profitably. Walt Disney proved that it could. To this day, Snow White remains one of the highest money-making films of all time. You may not think that Disney’s other projects could be classified as “classics,” but you can’t claim that Snow White isn’t.

I remember Snow White as being slow, dull, and boring. To my surprise (and delight), I did not find it so these many years later. At less than 90 minutes, Snow White is over before you know it. No time is wasted on anything that isn’t directly relevant to the story (I consider the lengthy dwarf scenes to be character development). And far from being boring, the movie’s comedic value cannot be overlooked. I actually laughed out loud while watching—something I rarely do. Walt Disney reportedly offered five dollars per gag idea from his team. It probably helped spike the production cost, but it was worth it. The finished product is charming.

Many elements of the film reminded me that it’s nearly 75 years old. The praying scene, for example, shocked me. The scene doesn’t speak to any single religion (though it does seem to be Christian). It’s a shame that while we allow all sorts of vulgarity and crude humor into contemporary animated films, religion is off limits. What an ironic message to send to today’s children.

The lightning sequences are also fairly interesting. Lightning is the power that creates the potion of turning the Queen into a hag. But it’s also the power that strikes the ledge, leading to her destruction. In any case, both locations seemed to be unnatural for lightning to strike. Is lightning a symbol of the divine or the diabolical? I’m not sure. But in the end, good triumphs. Is the lightning a response to Snow White’s prayer, leading to a perilous but positive journey aimed by foresight? Or is it a reminder that dark powers control and are not controlled, and ultimately they are indifferent to those who tap into their strength.

As wonderful as the dwarf sequences are, certain things about them still confuse me. For example, why are they mining jewels? It seems like they just pack them up in their shed and keep them there. The dwarfs are an enigma. Too many questions are left unanswered.

Ultimately, while I was enjoying the frantic animals and the dwarfs’ hilarious personalities, I realized that Snow White is about love. Not romantic love, as Disney would have us think, but charity and kindness. The Prince actually receives very little screen time. He doesn’t even have a name. But the seven dwarfs, each with a distinct personality, are what warm Snow White’s heart in times of difficulty. The two parties compliment and help each other. And when Snow White faces her darkest hour, the dwarfs rampage to help her.

Snow White was a hit when it was released, and it still has the same Disney magic as it did then. Its charm will last forever.

What are your thoughts? What is your review of Snow White?

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