Before I start this, can I just mention one thing? “Dwarfs”. Shouldn’t it be “Dwarves”?
Anyway, let’s go!
Despite common beliefs, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs was not Disney’s first full-length feature film (that was Steamboat Willy in 1928), but it was the first in colour and therefore has the tagline “The One That Started It All” which, from the stand point of what put Disney on the map, it very well did ‘start it all’.
The film was released on 21st December 1937 (a film with ‘Snow’ in the title released on the Winter Solstice… nice!) and is still extremely popular today. Released before World War II even started, and we are still watching it over 80 years later! Amazing.
This film is a classic. The story is a good one, the animation is amazing (even 80 years later) and the songs are fun. Also, it’s funny. Our six-year-old son was refusing to go to sleep the evening we were watching this, so we let him come downstairs and join us. He thought it was hilarious and that is the mark of a good Disney film, in my opinion. They are films for children and my child loved it (as did my teenager).
All in all, not my favourite Disney film, but a good-un all the same.
So here we go, with great nervousness I am sitting down ready to watch the first Disney film ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’. Shouldn’t that be dwarves? It feels like it should. It’s ok, I’m willing to bet Kerry will address this. There’s no real plan to this blog and I’m not going to give some grand analysis of the story, I’m just going to say what I see. As a result, there will be many spoilers.
In preparation for this I’ve been drinking both wine and beer which is obviously to help kickstart the creative juices and in no way a way to numb me for what lies ahead. So apparently this wasn’t actually the first Disney film, as Steamboat… wait I don’t care. Ah, here’s the intro tune. It is exactly what I expect it to be, I could be about to watch an episode of Tom and Jerry, but alas, I know I will not be so lucky.
The start of the film sets the scene of a wicked, yet somewhat vain, queen who is fearful of her step-daughter (I am taking another big glug of beer). All I can say is that the queen is quite the bitch. I wonder what has gone on in her life to make her like this. I wonder if the fact she looks and acts so naturally evil made her think she must play the part, or if she acts that way because she likes the attention. In reality, a psychopath is usually charming and hides their narcissistic tendencies to make it easier to do the evil shit they do (this queen would be an abysmal poker player). This mirror is a right old sycophant as well, but I guess all magical mirrors could be, I have no basis for comparison. But Mr Mirror does like Snow White more, he obviously likes them young (once again, I suppose all mirrors could have “groomy” tendencies, I have no basis for comparison).
So at 3.48 minutes in, the ‘Disney Life’ app has crashed. Again. This is a very bad app. But at the same time, it has bought me some blessed relief. Only an HOUR AND TWENTY MINUTES TO GO.
Right, it’s working again. Oh well. Here is Snow White, she seems very happy. So happy she has decided to sing and WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH HER VOICE?!!! That is just unpleasant, and are we supposed to believe that is a 14-year-old singing?!! I seriously can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to check her singing voice out, it sounds like a drunk old lady singing on a trampoline after inhaling helium. Interestingly I think there are some doves pleading with her to shut up.
A prince has arrived. Presumably to find the old lady on the trampoline and request she shut the hell up. Oh no, he’s here to creep. On the 14-year-old. When he’s clearly thirty (I take another big swig of beer). It appears by the way they’re looking at each other that it is love at first sight, he’s straight over to her with no messing about! Now to impress her. Go on my son, don’t screw this up…and, oh no. He’s just sang good morning to her. Not smooth dude. Not smooth. She’s running inside, I’m not surprised if truth be told, she’s going to savage him on Twitter later (they have magical mirrors for Christ’s sake, so surely the Wi-Fi must be up to scratch).
So anyway, the queen wants the huntsman to kill Snow White. Seems a little drastic to me just because the mirror would rather get with Snow White than her. In fact, I’m curious what Snow White’s dad saw in this woman. Why did none of his mates say to him:
“Don’t you think her demeanour, cackling and black magic books makes her seem a bit…evil?”
I’m guessing his reply was:
“Yeah… but that rack.”
So the huntsman is supposed to kill Snow White and bring her heart back as proof. But ultimately, he realises he can’t do it and tells Snow White to escape. She enters a forest. Ah how’s your luck Snow (if that is your real name). You’ve just come close to meeting your death and now it appears you’ve had the shit scared out of you by A PSYCHO OWL! How many times does that happen? It’s a classic scenario. In fact, the whole forest is ‘on one’ it seems, and all hell is breaking loose. The trees are contorting into creepy shapes and the leaves have become really quite unhinged. I can’t imagine how bizarre this must seem to someone that’s reading this that hasn’t watched the film, but it certainly appears Snow has taken some really bad acid. Oh, it’s ok, it’s all returned to normal and the animals are cute and friendly again. That was weird.
Oh for the love of god she’s singing again! There are birds whistling and I swear they are less grating and high pitched than her bloody voice. Need Beer. Bizarrely the animals seem to be happy that she’s singing. I expect it’s the same pitch as their mating call. I’m sure I saw some horny chipmunks there.
Next, she sees a house and just walks in. If there’s someone in the house they’re going to be for a hell of a shock. They’ll just be sitting there minding their own business and then a Princess, a tortoise and a plethora of birds, rabbits, chipmunks and deer just stroll in. That could really unsettle your day. And furthermore, who the fuck just does that!? Fortunately, there’s no one there, but I must ask who the hell breaks into a house and proceeds to complain about how messy it is! Bloody cheek! I’m starting to think Queenies rage and hatred may be justified here.
And now she’s just questioned where the woman is to tidy the place!!! Now my wife claims to be a feminist and yet fanatically loves films with these backwards sentiments. For shame! And obviously what do you do when you’ve broken into a shithole with a pack of wild animals? That’s right, you start cleaning it. This is the first time it has become truly apparent that this is not the modern day, as if a teenager from the modern day broke into a deserted property, they wouldn’t start cleaning. They would go hunting for the alcohol cabinet. Within an hour there would be inebriated chipmunks everywhere.
What follows here is what I imagine must be the longest cleaning scene in the history of film. The animals are all helping out as well and the dexterity of the birds with cleaning utensils is something to behold. As all this happens Kerry is singing and whistling along. It doesn’t help.
Dwarves! Many dwarves have appeared on screen! And they are in the diamond mine doing a proper man’s work. And singing the infamous ‘Hi-Ho’ song. Meanwhile, Snow, exhausted from her trespassing-cum-cleaning party (I probably should have phrased that differently) has decided to take her disrespecting of basic social convention to a whole new level and sleep across three of the tiny little beds. That girl!
The Disney Life app has just crashed again, it really is abysmal. I’m really questioning if it’s worth the money, and that’s before taking into consideration that the app’s contents are Disney films. My son (6) has now decided that he doesn’t want to sleep tonight and is watching the film with us.
The dwarves have come home and are pretty ungrateful to find their home spotless, but to give them their dues, I can’t really blame them. After all, their house has been broken into and their personal space and privacy has been treated with rather large levels of contempt. But then saying that, there are seven of them that share not only a house, but a bedroom as well, I’m thinking privacy isn’t their biggest concern. I wonder what happens when Horny (is one of them called Horny? Doc, Bashful, Grumpy, Sneezy, Dopey, Sleepy and…… yeah, sure it must be Horny) brings a dwarfette home? Do they all turn their backs? Or maybe they all take tur…… ok let’s not go there.
Next we have an extended sneezing scene. Yes, you have read that correctly. Now my son is a tough customer to please with films and television shows, yet he is next to me in fits of laughter at this. And not only am I also thoroughly entertained by it, but it’s a truly enjoyable experience to see your children (my daughter (15) has been here the whole time) enjoy a film so much. And this is where, despite the amount I’ve taken the piss out of it, and at times been tortured by it, I applaud the film. I can completely see the appeal of the film for both girls, who idolize the princess, and boys, that love the silly yet well-crafted slapstick comedy. The Dwarves mannerisms and general behaviour here as they nervously creep closer to the bedroom to discover who the intruder is, is the highlight of the film so far, and they are winning me over far quicker than Snow White yodelling at a rabbit. Compliment over.
Eventually Snow White gets busted by the Dwarves and once again her social ineptitude is shining through as instead of profusely apologising, she ‘height-shames’ them and generally patronises them to within an inch of their lives. She may as well just pat them on their fucking heads and have done with it. She strikes a deal with them that she will look after them, and their property, in exchange for a place to sleep.
She cooks them dinner but insists that they wash before eating. There have been a lot of animals roaming around the property to be fair, god only knows what they have on their hands by now. But the Dwarves find the concept of washing strange and are alarmed by water and cannot fathom that it is “wet”. Curious as to how they have quenched their thirst prior to this. Maybe scientists should change the theory to “Water is required to harness life. Except if you’re a Dwarf”.
We had an epic cleaning scene earlier, and now we have an epic washing scene. The Dwarves do make it far more entertaining though. Also, it should be noted that Dopey + bar of soap = Good.
Here we go, we’re back to that bloody queen and her paedo mirror. She’s cottoned onto the fact that she has been tricked and Snow White is still alive and shacked up in a Dwarf harem. So Queenie has decided to take matters into her own hands and make a potion that will disguise her as an old woman and make another potion to poison an apple, that she will then convince Snow White to eat. Seriously, surely, surely, surely some of her late husband’s mates would have said:
“C’mon now Fred (he could be called Fred). Most wives want a conservatory, while yours wants a bloody great dungeon with a cauldron with an ‘Amazon black magic starter kit’, are you sure she’s not just a little bit too evil?
Again, I’m guessing his reply was:
“Yeah… But dat ass. By the way guys, have you heard about that new prince that’s moved in up the road that goes around creeping up on the local girls and singing good morning to them? What a fucking bellend!”
While we let the queen get started with her potions, we get to see how Snow and the Dwarves are spending their evening. And it would appear that they are having drunken Swiss yodelling night. They sure know how to show a girl a good time. For a dopey dude, Dopey can do sick tricks on percussion, in fact they are all quite musically gifted it seems. The Dwarves ask Snow to tell them a story. Like all teenage girls she starts talking about herself. She tells them a story about how she has fallen in love. The Dwarves ask questions such as “Did he tell you he loves you?” and “Did he steal a kiss?” I’m praying she answers truthfully with “actually he watched me do the washing for a couple of minutes and then sung good morning at me before I ran inside”. I’m sure they’ll be thinking “and you love him from that?! What a bunny boiler!” She decides to distract them instead by singing. My beer glass is empty at the worst possible time! Except I can go to the kitchen to refill and save my ears. Winning! The dwarves are smiling at her while she sings, and I realise how easy it is for the terrible singers that audition on talent show to get the delusion that they are talented because a dwarf has been humouring them beforehand. Now the Dwarves know that Snow’s in love and off the market they tell her she can have their bedroom and they will sleep somewhere else. Now we check back in and see how the Queens getting on.
Her first potion had indeed successfully made her look like an old lady. This old lady disguise looks far too sinister for her to be trusted in my opinion, but Snow White has shown a few times that she’s thick as shit, so it will probably do the trick. The queens second potion is one that will put the victim into an eternal sleep. A few questions spring to mind here: Firstly, why would she not make a fatal potion here? Chuck a load of cyanide in it and it will be far more effective. In fact, just give her cyanide. Even better, as cyanide is found in apple pips and she is planning on giving her an apple, why not just give her a very ‘pippy’ apple and make her eat the core? Secondly, considering the potion won’t even finish Snow off, it seems an awful lot of trouble to go to. She could go around to the Dwarves house without a disguise and a knife in hand and have done with it. She clearly has far too much time on her hands and is going with the Bond Villain over-elaborate approach rather than logical efficiency. I’m sure if she was getting some on a regular basis, she wouldn’t be pissing about poisoning an apple. Furthermore, it turns out the spell has a clause in which it can be reversed with a make-out session, no doubt due to some government regulation. Pretty convenient plot device that.
We’re back at Chez Dwarf and no doubt with hangovers raging, it’s time for the vertically challenged septet to go to work, Snow tells them not to worry. “I’ll be alright”. Famous last words. Apparently the eight minutes of “Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho” earlier in the film weren’t sufficient so we get a reprise here.
She’s bloody singing again as well. About the prince she barely knows of course. For Christ sake he could be a rapist or a Junkie for all she knows. It’s just naïve. Speaking of naïve, the queen turns up and despite looking like the MOST SUSPICIOUS AND EVIL HUMAN EVER, she trusts her and eats said apple. So even if she doesn’t end up buried alive, she could eventually be molested by a junkie Prince and she has no one to blame but herself and her own ignorance to stranger danger. Hell, even the animals can sense the danger this woman’s presenting here so there’s no excuse. And she collapses. Oh no.
There’s only twelve minutes of the film left and thanks to ten-minute songs about cleaning and washing they’re going to have to resolve all this pretty damn quickly. The Dwarves and animals are all upset that they think Snow’s dead, but I’m sure she’ll be saved and the queen will pay, although they better be lively as there’s now eight minutes left.
The good thing about Disney is that they don’t stray away from dark places, at least from what I’ve heard about the early films anyway, so I knew the queen would get a serious comeuppance. But after being chased by many Dwarves and animals to the edge of a cliff, it’s still pleasing to see her first get struck by lightning THEN fall off a cliff THEN presumably get squashed by a giant boulder. Many months later the prince turns up and finds Snow seemingly dead. So naturally he kisses her. So he may not be a rapist or a junkie but a bit of a casual necrophiliac cannot be ruled out here. She wakes up and they live happily ever after. Most of the plot was crammed into the last ten minutes.
I’ll be honest, this isn’t a film I would seek out or watch again. I really enjoyed the antics of the dwarves, and as I said before, I can really see the appeal for children (and grown women trapped in a nostalgia bubble). I felt the writers meandered through the first 75 minutes before realising most of the disequilibrium and subsequent return to equilibrium (otherwise known as the fairy-tale ending) still had to occur and then cram it in so the film didn’t go on for hours on end. I found because I watched it for the first time in 2019, the gender stereotyping was cringeworthy and I don’t want children to see this as acceptable. Also because I watched this after so many millions of films that have copied this formula, the characters felt stereotypical. But I think this is not the fault of the film, rather all the films since. The love story, as I’ve subtly mentioned, is ridiculous with literally no depth or reason for being, or reason for investing in it or reason to want them to get together. This is only worsened by the fact the Princes character has about as much depth as a Vengaboys album.
I don’t completely feel like I’ve wasted the last 85 minutes of my life though which I suppose could be considered a success. However, I think there are some issues with this film and some sections are almost unwatchable, but as most of this was caused by Snow White’s singing, I’m hoping that going forward it will be the last time I say that. But who am I kidding?