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Movie Review: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Theatrical Release: 2/4/1938

Theatrical Release: 2/4/1938

Synopsis

The Queen (Lucille La Verne) has been the fairest one of all, a description that has been very important to her. However, she soon learns from her Magic Mirror that someone else now holds that title. Her stepdaughter Snow White (Adriana Caselotti) is now the fairest in the land, and so the Queen hatches a plan to eliminate her competition. After getting tipped off of her stepmother's plan, Snow White flees into the forest to find somewhere safe where her stepmother cannot find her.

That is when she stumbles upon a small house, but its residents are nowhere to be found. In the hopes that the strangers will let her stay with them, Snow White decides to clean up around the house and cook a home-cooked meal. She then falls asleep in their beds, only for the house's residents to return home shortly after. Seven dwarfs live in the home, and when they return to find their lights on, they know that someone, or something is inside. They proceed with great caution, as they do not know what awaits them inside. Fortunately, the dwarfs quickly take a liking to Snow White, as she does to them, but the evil Queen has not forgotten who now holds the title of the fairest one of all. Thus, she hatches a new plan to take Snow White out of the picture.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Dwarfs (+10pts)

Bumbling Around in the Woods (-2pts)

The Queen & The Apple (+4pts)

The Prince & The Conclusion (-3pts)

Snow White & The Animals (+5pts)

The Climax (-3pts)

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Pro: The Dwarfs (+10pts)

This should really go without saying, but the dwarfs were the best part of this movie. They were not introduced until a little ways into the movie, but once they arrived, the movie got a lot better. It was as if the beginning of the movie was all black and white, then the dwarfs showed up and everything got filled with color. They were the types of characters that after having seen the whole movie and their role in it, the beginning of the movie feels empty without them.

The dwarfs were funny as a group, and you will want to see what their lives are like. They had a fun, brotherly dynamic with one another, and it was funny to see how they responded to learning that something was in their house. I also liked seeing how their lifestyle clashed with Snow White’s. Then there was each dwarf‘s name and individual personality. There was the word jumbling Doc, the impossible to please Grumpy, the explosive nose of Sneezy, the clumsiness of Dopey, the shyness of Bashful, the endless joy of Happy, and the eternally tired Sleepy. Each one of them had their comedic moments to shine, but they also had a lot of heart, and they made for a really fun group of characters that I could not get enough of.

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Con: Bumbling Around in the Woods (-2pts)

It is funny that watching this movie as a kid, I remember being scared by this scene. This was the scene right after Snow White found out that the Queen wanted her dead. Upon learning that information, Snow White then fled into the woods, where she became frightened by owls, branches, and logs. Seeing this movie as an adult, I have realized how pointless this scene was. There was no reason for her to be afraid of these things, and it made Snow White seem pretty dumb. There was nothing about the woods being haunted or enchanted. Snow White was just easily scared for no reason.

The scene also added nothing to this story, although it made me want to see a remake of this movie. In that remake, I think it would be pretty funny to see Snow White bumbling around in the woods, terrified of every branch and shadow. Then the movie could cut to a group of animals casually watching her, wondering what on earth is wrong with her. I think such a scene would be pretty funny, and the hypothetical filmmakers could cut back and forth from Snow White‘s perspective, in which everything was terrifying, to the animal’s perspective, where everything looked harmless and peaceful, with Snow White just looking like a crazy lady running around in the woods. I am not exactly sure why such a specific scene popped into my head, but I think it was a testament to how pointless this scene actually was, and how dumb it made Snow White seem.

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Pro: The Queen & The Apple (+4pts)

The Queen was extremely one-dimensional, but she worked for this story. She wanted to be the fairest of them all, and Snow White was the fairest of them all, so she wanted to kill Snow White to take the title for herself. That was really her entire story. Yet as simple as her story was, it worked for this story. She felt like a real threat, especially when it became clear that she was not only a Queen, but also a witch. Despite her first assassination attempt failing, it always felt like it was only a matter of time before she tried again. She was a simple but dangerous character, and she was coming for Snow White, who felt pretty defenseless.

Then there was the apple. Upon watching this movie as an adult, I could not help but think that there were plenty of more effective ways to try to kill someone, especially for a witch. Nonetheless, the poison apple was effective for this story. It was so effective in fact, that it has become an iconic little fruit. When you think of Snow White, you think of the seven dwarfs, but you also think of the poison apple. It seems like an impractical method to try to kill someone, but it worked for the story and it has become a pretty iconic weapon.

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Con: The Prince & The Conclusion (-3pts)

The prince was a character that really needed more development. He played a pretty key role in the conclusion of this story, but he was just a generic prince that will mean absolutely nothing to the viewer. If the filmmakers did not want to develop him further, they should have just taken him out of the movie and had the seven dwarfs kiss Snow White instead—a direction I think hypothetical filmmakers would likely go in if they remade this movie for live action. Nonetheless, the filmmakers kept the prince in here, and no one will care about him. I then found Snow White and the dwarfs’ last scene together felt weird, when considering everything the dwarfs did for Snow White, and considering the friendship they made through the events of the story. In short, the prince was just a generic prop, and Snow White’s last scene with the dwarfs suggested she had little appreciation for her time with the dwarfs and what they did for her.

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Pro: Snow White & The Animals (+5pts)

There was not much to this, but I liked the relationship between Snow White and the animals in the forest. The animals helped make this story appeal to kids before the introduction of the dwarfs, and they helped make this movie more entertaining, as it was fun to see the animals cleaning and washing, and getting around the house—like the turtle trying to get up and down the stairs. The animals worked, because they not only made the the movie more fun, but they also made Snow White feel special. I never got the impression that these were just helpful animals that would have helped anyone. It always felt like they helped Snow White, because there was something special about her, and while the filmmakers never explained what that was, it still added an extra layer to this story.

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Con: The Climax (-3pts)

I do not want to spoil the ending—if you have somehow avoided spoilers for this movie for 82 years, I certainly do not want to be the one to burst that bubble—but the climax of this movie seemed to conclude in a pretty anti-climactic way. There was no confrontation between protagonist and antagonist. It was a kind of random, meaningless ending, when there should have been a heated confrontation. I am not saying I needed any physical violence—I actually think that would have been out-of-place in a movie like this one—but I think the climax needed at least some verbal confrontation. Unfortunately, that never came, and instead we got build up, build up, and more build up, only for all the steam to be let out of the scene in an unsatisfying way.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

64-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B+ (86pts)

I got Disney+ because I knew it would have all Star Wars movies, all Marvel movies, and a bunch of new series for both of those, but I also knew it would have all those classic Disney movies that I grew up with. I knew it would be fun to revisit these movies, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was one of those movies. Was it a perfect movie? No, not at all. I thought Snow White bumbling around in the woods was a dumb, pointless scene, I thought the prince was incredibly underdeveloped and made for a somewhat meaningless ending, and I thought the climax of the movie was missing the confrontation that I thought it needed.

Fortunately, all of those issues were minor issues, and I think plenty of that is nostalgia talking, but I think it is also a result of how well other aspects of the movie worked. I liked Snow White's interactions with the animals in the forest, as the animals provided some much needed life and humor to the story, and they made Snow White feel special and almost magical. I also thought the Queen was an effective villain, as simple as she was, and her weapon of choice—the apple—has become as iconic as this story itself. Last, and certainly not least, were the dwarfs. They made this movie so much fun, and I enjoyed absolutely every second that they were on screen—a statement that was true when I was a kid, and is equally true today.

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