Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Fairy Tale Project | Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Who's in it?: A bunch of cartoons

What's it about?: An animated, musical adaptation of the fairy tale, "Snow White."

How is it?: Reading the Grimm version before watching Disney's affected my enjoyment of the latter. Disney's is still a great, successful adaptation, but I wasn't as over the moon about it as I usually am. On any other day, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a classic. It's amazing that it's 82-years-old. The animation is still top notch, Snow White is still utterly charming, the dwarfs are still hilarious, and the Queen is still completely terrifying.

As I wrote when talking about the Grimm version, the main character of the fairy tale is the Queen and I understand why she feels threatened. Her story isn't really appropriate as text for a children's film, though. Although it would have been possible to highlight as subtext. But Disney wasn't interested in that and I don't fault the filmmakers. It's just something I was thinking about as I watched this time and it dampened my enjoyment a little.

In other ways, it's a great adaptation. The prince comes out of nowhere in the Grimm version, so Disney makes a good call by introducing him earlier in the story and at least paying song-service to his love for Snow. The dwarfs of course are given names and personalities that are missing in Grimm. And the Queen's attacks on Snow are reduced to one, successful one instead of including the Grimm Queen's two, unsuccessful attempts that Snow stupidly refuses to learn from.

I don't know how I feel about sticking the Sleeping Beauty kiss in as the way to revive Snow White. She's revived by accident in Grimm, so I appreciate the attempt to make the prince more involved, but the Love's First Kiss antidote doesn't make a lot of sense. (Frankly, I'm not sure that it even makes sense in "Sleeping Beauty," but I'll wait until I've read the Grimm version of that before I decide.)

The Queen's death is far less horrifying in Disney than in Grimm, but it's still very powerful due to the sheer talent in the animation, score, and sound design. In all other ways, this is a faithful retelling of the Grimm Brothers' version with some extra singing and dancing thrown in.

Rating: Four out of five secret dungeons.

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