Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Wondering if I've Been Spelling "Dwarves" Wrong All My Life

The next movie I'm watching is the animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  This is the movie that made people take Walt Disney (and really the entire idea of an animated feature) seriously.  Before this, you've got mostly animated shorts, and pretty much everybody thought a full length animated film would be doomed to failure.  This is why you shouldn't listen to pretty much everybody.

Snow White's a pretty young princess who has to work as a scullery maid because her stepmother's a jealous bitch.  After she surpasses the queen in beauty, Queenie goes ballistic and puts a hit out on her.  But before we get to that, I feel like we need to address the elephant in the room. Does anyone else want to talk about how horrifying that magic mirror is?  I mean, the queen is scary, but more in a campy, over the top villainess kind of way.  The Mirror, on the other hand, is like looking into the dead eyes of Lucifer himself.

Unsurprisingly, the Huntsman sent out to kill Snow White lacks the homicidal rage needed to finish the job, so Snow White is left to scamper off into the forest.  Where she finds an empty house and decides to just let herself in and clean up the place?

Luckily the dwarfs don't seem to live in one of the Stand Your Ground states, otherwise this movie would have been a lot shorter.

They're all happy that there's one of them there purty wimmenfolk to do the cooking and cleaning for them, and it's not exactly a bad deal for Snow White either (free rent).  Although...can we talk about how old Snow White is supposed to be?  Because I feel like she's maybe fourteen and am finding something incredibly problematic about her living with seven miners.

But what's with them expecting her to do all the chores?  What, Doc's never heard of a broom in all of his extensive studies?  And why is a doctor doing working as a coal miner, anyway?

The sort of weird thing about this film is that there are easily fifteen characters that I'm more interested in than Snow White, yet she's the one with her name in the title.  Snow just comes off as this bubbly, naive airhead with a high-pitched baby voice the whole time.  To be fair, she does manage to find gainful employment and a decent living conditions, so she's not the total anti-feminist nightmare a lot of people make her out to be.  But throughout the film, she really does lack any sort of agency, which is problematic in a main character.  To be honest, she kind of seems like she's had a lobotomy or something.  And dear baby Jesus her singing voice is annoying.  I get that vibratos were very in during the 1930s, but she just doesn't have the strength in her voice to support it.  It's just this thin, whiny-sounding voice and it drives me crazy.

Anyway...meanwhile, back at the castle, the queen discovers that Snow White is still alive.  In her quest to remain young and beautiful, she uses a spell which turns her into a hideous old hag.  Logic, thy place is elsewhere.  She makes an evil poison apple to kill Snow White with, and sets off.  Is this one of the reasons why on Halloween kids aren't allowed to accept unwrapped candy anymore?  I remember having to throw out candy because it didn't pass the maternal safety inspection.  Thanks a lot, Queen.

In related news: Snow White is an idiot.  She lets a stranger into her house and accepts food from her.  This is like, Stranger Danger 101.  I know golden retrievers with more sense than that, and they eat their own shit.  So Snow White falls into an enchanted sleep, and the dwarfs chase the Queen off the end of a cliff in what turns out to be an oddly anti-climatic death scene.  They leave Snow White on a glass coffin because she's just too darn pretty to be buried.  Also, in case any young princes with a thing for necrophilia happen to pop by.

That's right, the prince shows up.  The guy in the film who is such a non character they don't even bother to give him a name.  Like, they're not even trying to pretend that they invested any time in coming up with a personality for him.  Prince kisses Snow White, waking her up from her cursed slumber, and they live happily ever after.  Who ever said getting married when you're fourteen was a recipe for disaster?

Random Musings:

  • "Hello?  May I come in?"  No answer, so I'll just barge in with my dirty, disease-ridden wild animals in tow.  Raccoons are like the second most common rabies carriers in America, yo.

  • Why do these dwarfs all live together?  Are they brothers, or just BFFs united by a common occupation, a genetic birth defect, and the thriftiness to split the rent on that cottage seven ways?

  • When I was a kid, Dopey was my favorite.  I thought he was funny and adorable.  But watching this film again as an adult, I find myself drawn to Grumpy the most.  I wonder what that says about me?

  • Have to admit, Dopey chasing and accidentally swallowing the soap is one of the funniest slapstick sequences I've seen in a Disney movie.  And this is coming from someone who's usually not a big fan of slapstick.

  • A small part of me is offended at how Snow White treats them all as if they were little kids, even though she's a guest in their house and they're all adult men with beards and stuff.

  • I don't remember this from when I was a kid, but the skeleton in the queen's dungeon is a really horrifying image.  Its arm outstretched, trying to a get a jug of water the queen has placed just out of reach.

  • OMG, the moment when Snow White looks up from her cooking to see the queen staring at her through the kitchen window reminds me so much of when my neighbor used to do that to my mom.  She was always hyper concerned about the stray cats that sometimes used to sleep in our shed, and she could have just rang the doorbell, but for some reason she preferred scaring the shit out of everyone.

  • A magic wishing apple?  Hey Snow White, I've got this really cool bridge you might be interested in purchasing...

  • Oh god I always HATED the vultures in this movie.  Ugly bastards.

Seriously, I think I was more scared of these guys when I was a kid than anything else in the film.  As much as they freak me out, they were a really smart move by Disney, because they make the Queen's death chilling without having to actually show her die.

  • So...the glass coffin ends up working out for the best in this movie, because she was in an enchanted sleep, but how did the dwarfs know that?  They had to be expecting her body to start to decay after a while, and with all the wild animals around...well, a glass coffin seems impractical at best.

That's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  This was never one of my favorite Disney movies.  It just wasn't one of the ones that I watched a lot when I was a kid.  I do think a lot of it's content comes off as pretty dated, but I have to admit that I liked it (or I guess I should say appreciated it) far more after rewatching it as an adult.  One thing you have to get it credit for is how unbelievably perfect the animation is.  Every animated cell is a piece of art, and I love the attention to detail you get in every single shot.  While I certainly prefer other Disney films to this one, it's hard to argue against the fact that when this movie came out, it was a watershed moment for animation.  Without Snow White proving that the format could work and captivate audiences, you never would have gotten all the other wonderful Disney movies that have been entertaining kids for generations.

Thanks for reading, and come back next time!

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