On December 21, 1937 Walt Disney released “Disney’s Folly,” a reckless endeavor that was mocked by critics and seen as the worst mistake that he could ever make, would completely bankrupt him, and destroy his career. The thought of making a full-length animated film was completely absurd and nobody would want to watch it.
Imagine their shock when they discovered that they were completely wrong. Not only did the film have a good storyline, but it made people laugh and cry and everyone loved it. The film was an immediate success the mocking by critics stopped and now we all know it as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the movie that was the foundation for the Disney empire and everything that came afterwards.
The story was based on a Grimms’ Fairy Tale about a young princess, Snow White (Adriana Caselotti), whose evil stepmother, the Queen (Lucille La Verne), was jealous of Snow White and her beautiful looks. In order to be the most beautiful woman in the land, the Queen ordered a Huntsman (Stuart Buchanan) to take the princess out into the wilderness and murder her. To prove he accomplished the task, he was to bring the Queen her heart. But thankfully, the Huntsman had a conscience and could not do the horrific deed. Snow White fled into the forest only to come upon the house of seven dwarfs who befriended her. The Queen would discover the truth and strike out on her own to kill the young girl.
The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p High Definition Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 with a 7.1 DTS -HDMA and 2.0 mono audio track. Granted the original film is almost 80 years old but I was expecting a lot better quality from Disney. The video was just okay and nothing special really stood out. There was not a really significant difference from previous releases. But to a certain degree that’s understandable because the original animation needs to stay intact as much as possible and over cleaning the original source material would really be a travesty.
The bigger issue was the audio quality. Maybe they were intentionally trying to keep it more pure, but there really was no surround sound. With the exception of some light background music, most of the audio came from the main speaker. It was a huge missed opportunity that could have been accomplished without ruining the integrity of the film. Along with that issue, Snow White’s voice would distort on some of her higher notes during songs, which should have been corrected before this release.
Where the Blu-ray wasn’t lacking was in the Special Features department. There are 17 special features included that cover all aspects of the filmmaking process. Some of the extras that stuck out were the ones that focused on the artwork, the artists, and the hundreds of people involved in the entire process that brought the story to life.
“Disney’s First Feature: The Making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was as good as any feature you can find. It used a lot of old footage that really told the story of how much hard work and sacrifice it took to create the film.
“Bringing Snow White to Life” is an expose on the Nine Old Men, a group of artists who started off as young men and how they developed over the years as the cream of the crop in the animation industry.
“Decoding the Exposure Sheet” is an interesting look at the actual sheet the artists used, how to read it, and how the animation process worked.
But not all of the features were great. There were a couple that stuck out because they were bad. “Iconography” is a feature following three people. One who is making a poison apple out of LEGOs, one who makes clothing the same color as characters in the films because you aren’t allowed to wear actual costumes at the theme parks, and one who makes scenes out of construction paper. Not only was the concept strange but the people they chose to follow were a little odd themselves. “Snow White in 70 Seconds” was by far the worst. It started off interesting with a young girl planning to rap the entire story in 70 seconds, but the rhymes were forced and sometimes the facts of the story wrong.
Overall, it was nice to see a film I hadn’t seen in a long time. There were a lot of parts to the story I didn’t remember and it was fun. I laughed a number of times. I just as easily could have enjoyed it just as much by watching it on a regular DVD or even on a VHS tape. I just don’t think there was anything that I needed to see in a Blu-ray format.