Friday, April 21, 2006

Snow White Pessimism

SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS is often regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. I've been meaning to watch this film again for some time to see if I feel the same way. I can't say I do.

This movie is in no way one of my favorites, Disney or otherwise, but there are still plenty of admirable traits. It was probably the most important thing the studio ever did and certainly was groundbreaking. I also liked the animation of the dwarfs, and the dramatic themes with the Queen.

But there was a lot I didn't like about the movie. I really, really don't like the boring realistic human animation. I think it really dates the feature as being a staple of 1930s animation (as well as Fleischer's GULLIVER'S TRAVELS), and it results in a very limited range of facial expressions and movement. That's one of the same problems I had with CINDERELLA too, where the title character, the Prince, and the Stepmother all look like they belong in a different movie, whereas all the other human characters in the movie are pretty funny looking and expressive. Cartoony humans are probably the reason why I like the characters in ALICE IN WONDERLAND and PETER PAN so much more.

One thing I couldn't help noticing throughout the movie is that it made me think of a lot of other films and cartoons. I guess you can account that to how influential it was on the entire film and animation industry.

I really hope I'm not the only other one who thought of Rod Scribner's fantastic animation from COAL BLACK & DE SEBBEN DWARFS and burst out laughing during the wishing well scene. And I hope you don't think of me as horrible for thinking Snow White's vocal abilities were on par with Jean Hagen's as 'Lina Lamont' in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN.

Only Bob Clampett could parody like this.

I also felt that a lot of the movie was extraneous, which is odd, because I never felt that way during PINOCCHIO, a slightly longer and much, much, much better film all around (if anything, that movie would have been better if it did have more). Parts like the dwarfs entering their house, and the washing and yodeling songs went on too long to hold my interest.

Keep in mind that this is the first time I've seen the movie in over 10 years. The last time I saw it was whenever it was last theatrically reissued, in 1993 I believe. Even back then the boring realistic animation was forever burnt in my brain.

I've had the DVD set since it came out in 2001 but have not watched it until now. Remember, that was 2001. Anything that fit in the description of 'classic cartoons' had to be bought, or at least asked for as a gift. All we had back then were overpriced singles of Disney features and crappy Cartoon Crazys discs.

I am not at all familiar with the movie's history, and am slightly interested in reading about it. Though the debating over the animation of Grim Natwick, Hamilton Luske, and Bill Tytla has admittedly bored me silly. If anyone has any good sources about the movie, please let me know.

Like I said, the movie was groundbreaking and very well-made, but that doesn't mean much 70 years later if it doesn't hold up as well. And for the record, so it's not as if I'm against early Disney features, I'll say it again, that I enjoyed Pinocchio about 100 times more than this one. And I liked Dumbo even more than that one!

Because nobody demanded it, here's another video I made at 2 in the morning. I promise the next entry will actually identify an animator.

No comments:

Post a Comment