Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937) Movie Review
It may have been Mickey Mouse or Goofy that really established Disney as a franchise. However, you cannot take away that along with those famous characters there were Disney princesses. Canonically speaking there are 12 princesses so far.
What's truly amazing is that the first full-length film by Disney was also the first to feature a Disney Princess, Snow White. And seriously, her legacy transcends until today.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has a pretty short runtime compared to today's standards. It only spans 83 minutes.
The story begins when a young princess, Snow White who had just lost her parents and is living with her wicked stepmother. The Queen seeks the advice of the Magic Mirror, to tell her who is the fairest of them all. For years the mirror always answer the Queen but one day his answer changed when he mentioned Snow White. On that same day, she fell in love with the prince who happens to be passing by and heard her sing. The Queen angry and frustrated ordered the Huntsman to take Snow White into the forest and kill her. However, he cannot do so and instead reveals the Queen's plan to her. Snow White ran into the forest. After a while, she got lost and passed out in the middle of the woods.
When she wakes up a group of several forest animals gather around her. She befriended them and they guided her to a nearby cottage. In the place, she notices several different things all equally divided into seven like plates, beds, utensils, etc. She assumes that the place belongs to seven orphaned children. Since the place is dirty and unorganized, she asked for the help of the animals to clean the place. In a nearby mine, a group of Dwarfs had just finished work and decided to go home. At their place, they are surprised that a girl was sleeping there. Snow White awakens and befriended the dwarfs and offered to cook a meal for them.
At the castle, the Magic Mirror tells the Queen that Snow White is alive and living with the dwarfs. The Queen now madder than ever concocts a poisoned apple that whoever eats it will put into a sleep-like death. The only way to break the curse is by a true love's kiss. She disguises herself as an old lady and went to the place of the Dwarfs. As soon as the Dwarfs leave, the Queen showed herself to Snow White. She fools her to bite on the poisoned apple and she falls into a slumber.
Warned by the forest animals, the Dwarfs return and chased the Queen away. Just before she was able to outwit them, a clap of thunder struck and she fell off of a cliff. Back at the cottage, the Dwarfs were unwilling to bury her under the ground so instead, she placed her inside a glass coffin. After a year, the prince arrives and visits her coffin. Saddened, he decided to kiss her and broke the curse. The dwarfs rejoice and the prince and Snow White go to the castle.
More than anything, the story is based on the fairytale written by the Brothers Grimm in 1812.
What really astounding is that I cannot really imagine what it was like in 1937 to see a technicolor animation that is way ahead of its time. I mean it must be a marvel to go to a film theater, sit there, and just watch in awe. I assume people during those days were not accustomed to seeing movies in technicolor. But to be able to do it in animation should really be both shocking and awesome at the same time. Whereas if you compare it to today's animated films it really doesn't fall in comparison. In my opinion, the whole animation of the film is still very likable.
The story on the other hand is very simple and just like most of the Disney Princesses, the character always immediately falls in love with the leading man. But since there are several issues like budget or technical quality that must be considered, I think it's a pretty okay concept to just remove those parts in between.
Snow White as a character has a tremendous influence on children. I mean if you go to Disneyland for example, you will definitely see some kids or adults dressing up like her. That just explains how influential her character was despite the film premiering more than 8 decades ago. However, in my honest opinion, her character as a Disney Princess is not my favorite go-to model. I like the more recent ones than her.
There are a few merchandises like bags, gowns, puzzles, toys, etc. were made out of this classic. Even to this day, it's not uncommon to see something related to Snow White or the Dwarfs. It's really that influential.
I still think that this film deserves to be called a classic for its cultural significance and literally enabled the birth of future animated movies. If Disney didn't do this film I don't think they will succeed. The fact that they challenged themselves just to make a more than an hour-long film is truly marvelous.
A classic as it may be, I think Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs deserve a 3 out of 5 stars.