I got the Blu-ray from Netflix, and it looked amazing! I thought the restoration was so well done, and I loved that you could just see that every frame of this movie was hand crafted. I don't remember the movie looking so hand-drawn ever before. However, the last time I watched this was when I was a kid, and kids can't really notice any differences in animation quality. Not because kids are dumb, but because everything is new - they haven't really seen enough movies to compare.
I went into this a little skeptical, but I ended up enjoying myself. I liked the plot, and wasn't traumatized like I was by other Disney movies. I also really just loved the animation. The animals were so cute, and it was awesome to see how beautiful each frame was.
We all know the story - there is an evil queen (Snow White's stepmother) who wants to make sure that she is "the fairest of them all". She discovers that she isn't, and that Snow White is the most beautiful. The queen orders a hunter to kill Snow White, and bring back her heart in a chest. However, when the hunter sneaks up on her and sees that she is so sweet and kind, he can't do it. He tells her to run, and she runs until she reaches a tiny house, inhabited by the seven dwarfs. She cooks and cleans for them, and seems to inspire them to be braver, better people. The queen makes a poison apple for Snow White - it puts her into a sleeping death until she experiences first love's kiss. Of course, this happens, and she lives happily ever after.
It's sort of hard to write about how important a movie like this is - there never was animation like this until this film. And certainly, animated movies were never long, and never had so much motion. I am not an animation historian, and instead of just paraphrasing Ebert, I really advise you to check out his essay. He knows a lot about this movie and does a great job of talking about how and why it is important. I loved reading his insights, and learned a lot from them.
Since I really can't technically weigh in on any of the technical and historical side of things, I'll just talk about how I felt about the movie. I thought the animation was stunning, and I knew that it was groundbreaking when it came out. I loved that the way that the little animals moved - they looked so soft and roly-poly. I liked that they were cute, but didn't like, talk or have opposable thumbs or anything (when they helped Snow White with her cleaning, they didn't use their hooves as hands or anything doofy like that). It was seriously just a joy to look at this movie.
I also sort of liked the story. It was contrived, but it seemed nice. I enjoyed the fact that Snow White was kind and gentle, and that she inspired those around her to be better. It was passive, yes, but it was nice. I loved that at first, the dwarfs were too afraid to even go up to Snow White when she was sleeping, but by the end, they were storming after the evil queen, ready to attack her for hurting Snow White. And all the characters, as Ebert mentions, as so memorable. The dwarfs so totally personify their names - their body language just conveys it so well. That really says how great the animation is, I think.
So, I'm not a convert or anything, but I liked this movie far more than any other Disney film that I've seen in a long time. I always appreciate Disney animation, but I rarely like the story or characters. I just thought this was a nice little film. The history of it is impressive - everything Ebert writes about in his essay just frames what an important milestone this movie was. He describes so much, like the process of cel animation and filming with multiplane cameras - it's a great read, and I hope you check it out! I think this film is great to revisit, especially with how nice the Blu-ray looks. Let me know if you see this!
Have any thoughts on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Share them in the comments!
Ebert's Great Movie Essay on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
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