Hello and welcome to the first part of this brand new original series, The Disneyathon, and I’m your host The Blog Complainer. (Just note, none of this is scripted.)
I have been developing this series for about 2 months now because I have no life! I had to go out of my way to search for some of the more obscure movies. My current Disney movie collection, which started at about 10 movies just two months ago, has now expanded to about 40 movies. Disney has released so many movies over it’s 90+ year run so if this series continues it’ll most likely take the majority of this year or maybe even leading into next year to complete. But in this series I intend to mainly focus on the Walt Disney Animated Feature Length Films which as of now there are over 60 of these bad boys, but along the way I’ll add in some other Disney animated movies that take my fancy over this 22 part series.
My main intention is to review these movies and give my thoughts on whether they rightly deserve the classic sigil that so many have given them. If they suck I’ll comment accordingly whilst also inserting some funny comedy into the mix of things. Gee Willikers, this will be so much fun. (For me at least, it’s entirely up to you if you have fun too.) It’s probably best to point out that I will show no restraint on spoilers in these reviews as I think most of these movies really have nothing to spoil. Lastly, while you don’t have to check out every part in this series, I recommend you should as I will comment on previous parts throughout this series. So just view this series like the MCU where everything is connected and seeing every part will give you the full picture.
Any other questions, just comment and I’ll eventually answer. But enough rambling, let’s turn back the clock to a simpler time when movie critics didn’t exist, when you didn’t have to appease the Asian market or dummies to be a hit, when movies didn’t have any deeper meaning or didn’t have to make any sense because no nitpickers were around back then and most importantly to a time when people made movies for pure passion first and money was somewhere near the bottom. Back on December the 21st in 1937 Walt Disney and Co released their first feature length animated film and that was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs is probably the most important film in animation history as it’s the movie that gave birth to many other beloved Disney and other animated movies. It was Disney’s first big hit and it was the movie that proved animated movies could do just as well as Live Action films. I obviously wasn’t born when this movie first came out (as I imagine is the case for the majority of you reading this) but from what I read and heard from some of the special features that came with my Blu-ray, this movie was a massive game changer for the movie industry. Most people of the time thought it would be impossible for cartoons to run as long as normal films. As I mentioned before, this movie was made by people who really wanted to tell a good story that everyone could enjoy. The people involved put hundreds of hours into this with the limited technology of the time and Walt Disney personally made sure that everything was perfect which is so refreshing to see compared to the Disney of today. (Or any other animated studio of today.)
All that praise is for what the movie did and what it has influenced, but what about the movie itself? Does it still hold up over 80 years later? Is it still worthy to be called the animated classic that many before me have been calling it? Well (how thin is this ice I’m currently standing on?) no, not really. It does hold up in some areas like the animation still looks pretty impressive for the time, it’s very colourful and on the right TV I think it would look really great. The character designs are excellent, as just by looking at them you get a great understanding of what they’re all about. The more experimental artistic scenes of the movie look really impressive and I’m mostly referring to scenes that parents would fast forward through because they think it might give their kids nightmares or something. The musical score I really liked and some of the songs aren’t that bad either. The classic look and the sounds of old movies like this doesn’t bother me at all as it’s more appealing to me as it has a timeless feel to it.
But that’s about it, now let’s pick on the old fart! Let’s start with the story as I bet if you have seen this movie you could recite the whole story of the back of your hand, but I’m going to retell it, but not how you think. HEE HEE!
Once Upon a Time lived the only two women in the entire world. One of them was a queen of something who had no actual name but The Queen or The Evil Stepmother, or The Wicked or The Moody Dame. Our other woman is the Queen’s step daughter, Snow White. (How these two ended up together is beyond me.) Snow White is just an innocent imaginative girl who’s 15, I think. She spends her days as a maid talking to disgusting in real life animals but here they look really really cute. Come here and give me your diseases!! But what she really wants is some guy to take her away to his magic castle or something. But when he actually shows up she runs away. (Snow White, isn’t this what you wanted????)
The Queen hates Snow White because she is more beautiful than her. (Sorry, age isn’t working for you, hon!) She asks her Magic Mirror on the wall to tell her who is the fairest in the land and of course it’s Miss White. (It’s a really really small land.) The Queen wants her dead so she sends out her faithful huntsman to kill her. The huntsman takes Snow White out into the fields where she now looks more like a princess, that’s odd what happened to the ragged dress? The guy doesn’t have it in him to kill a teenage girl so he just scares her away and she gets lost and is scared by the spooky trees.
The filthy animals of the woods help Snow White find a small cottage that she describes as a doll house. Snow White breaks into the house to discover it’s a complete mess, OH NO! Since Snow White is really only good at being a maid she cleans up the place and forces all the animals to help her out. But they’re whistling while they work so it’s okay. Meanwhile we’re introduced to the other 7 titled characters and their entire character is based upon their personality or trait, for example Sneezy is forever stuck with a nasty cold, Sleepy will never have a good night sleep and Doc has too many personalities to be named anything else. So the neck beard dwarfs are done for the day and they sing the classic song Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho it’s off to work we go, even though they’re currently leaving work???
After a long day slaving at the house Snow White decides to nap on three of the dwarfs small beds. The dwarfs return home and they spend about 10 minutes trying to get up the stairs to see what’s going on. Once they discover Snow White they immediately get over her breaking and entering into their home and treating it like it’s her own home. They spend about 3 hours washing their hands, then they party, Snow White sings the only song I actually remember from this movie, Some Day My Prince Will Come, then the dwarfs spend about 7 hours finding a place to sleep in their living room.
Meanwhile in the deep dark depths of the Queen’s labyrinth, the Queen isn’t happy that her step daughter still breaths so Plan B involves changing her runner up appearance into something that would win the attendance award. (You’d also think in her book of disguises there is a potion to change her into a supermodel or something.) Now looking like an Old Hag her plan is to poison Snow White with a poison apple to put her into a deep sleep and her plan hinges on the idea that the dwarfs will bury her alive and the idea that no handsome hunk comes by and gives Snow White her first kiss. (Trust Me Guys, It Won’t Fail!)
The next day the dwarfs are off to Heigh Ho and off to work they go. Yay, you got it right! Doc warns Snow White not to let any strangers come in, in case they work for The Queen. Five minutes later Snow White lets an Old Hag enter the dwarfs house and offer her an apple. She wishes to the apple that she could be with her prince, she eats the big red apple and dies. (YOU HAD ONE JOB SNOW WHITE!!) The Old Hag is chased by the dwarfs and all of a sudden it’s raining and there’s lightning everywhere. The Hag is cornered on a cliff and she tries to kill the dwarfs but a convenient bolt of lighting removes the ground around her and she falls to her death.
About a month or so later the dwarfs lay the lifeless Snow White in a nice fancy glass casket. Then the guy from the beginning of the movie brings her back to life with the power of love. The guy takes Snow White to his castle while riding off into the sunset and apparently they lived happily ever after. (So the apple really did make her wish come true. AWWWWWWWWWWW.)
For such a simplistic story the movie is only an hour and 20 minutes long and about 25% of the movie is filler, mainly focusing on the dwarfs hijinks or whatever Dopey is up to, which isn’t really that bad as these scenes are somewhat humorous and kind of cute. There is nothing really that deep in this movie. Probably my least favourite parts of this movie are the ones with the Queen as, when she shows up, it’s a completely different tone to the rest of the movie which is more innocent, fun and easy going. Also there is nothing to her besides her motives and that’s pretty much the same with most of the characters.
That’s the main reason I don’t think it’s aged so well, as stories are alot more complex now than they were back then and with no compelling characters besides some quirky side characters the only thing holding this movie together is the slapstick humour. Which is fine for the time and thanks to this movie better movies spawned from this stepping stone. I give it a 5 or 6/10, it’s not good nor bad. I am showing some restraint because, well, it’s older than my grandmother and since movies were very different back then I’m feeling generous. I think it’s a good first movie to introduce to a young child since it’s so short and you don’t really need your full attention on or it’s good from a retrospective viewpoint. It’s intended for all ages so make of it what you will.
That’s it for part one, coming soon we’ll be entering the 1940’s as we check out the rest of the movies from the golden age era of Walt Disney Animated. See You Then.