Thursday, March 17, 2016

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Magic Computer on the Desk, who is the one who can't think of a good rhyme for "desk"? This is another movie that's hard to talk about, because it's reached the point of being iconic for being iconic. It is so pioneering that any criticism leveled at it is just kind of "Well... yeah, it was uncharted territory". And everyone has heard the criticisms. The fact that the Prince is so bland he doesn't even get a name and barely exists as anything but a plot device. The fact that Snow White talks in rhyming phrases a lot of the time and squeaks a lot. The fact that characters aren't really developed so much as they just sort of exist. But that doesn't really matter, because it is all new. You can obviously tell the animators are more used to animating shorts, since the animals and the Dwarfs move more naturally and fit more seamlessly into the backgrounds than Snow White, the Prince, the Queen, or the Huntsman (whose neck isn't the same color as his face). The animators are obviously more comfortable drawing the gags then they are drawing the dramatic scenes - just compare how smoothly the jaunty little turtle walking with the other forest animals is drawn vs. how Queen Grimhilde is during her transformation sequences. Which isn't to say the movie isn't a work of art. The backgrounds are incredibly lush and detailed. Just look at the stairs while the Dwarfs are creeping up them - every single stair has a carved face on the edge. The animators did an incredible job of giving an overall Bavarian feel to the set design. The castles all look like they were designed by King Ludwig II and the Dwarfs cottage looks like it was transported from a Bavarian forest, right down to the steins and the cuckoo clocks. For the story, it's just very simple and very padded by musical numbers. But that's to be expected, because after all, they were doing something completely new. No one was sure if you could keep the audience's attention for a full-length animated feature. So they threw in a bunch of generally catchy songs and a bunch of gags from their shorts to keep the audience's attention. As a feature film - just as a piece of film-making, I think it holds up artistically, but not so much cinematically. However, it is obviously worth the watch based on cinematic importance. Disney has obviously made vastly superior films, but they wouldn't have been able to without this one.

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