On a recent trip to Disneyland, we decided to sit down and watch every full-length, theatrically-released Disney animation ever. First up – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
After not seeing this movie in over 20 years (if ever), I realized something: folks who say that characters like Snow White are weak, or need a man to make them complete, have literally no idea what they are talking about. Sure, it’s more than a little odd that Snow falls in love with The Prince after he hops over the wall and butts in on her singing, but they do fall in love, making “Some Day My Prince Will Come” make much more sense. Taken out of context, that songs is a bizarre plea for some prince – any prince – to come and whisk her away from her life of cleaning and singing to animals. In reality, she’s not saying that she feels incomplete, or that she’s waiting for just anyone to come and save her – she wants one specific person. And it’s not like she needs saving, she’s just hanging out with her new pals the Dwarfs, after she runs away from the huntsman. Not to mention the fact that she almost had her heart cut out, ran through a spooky forest, and didn’t fall to pieces, well … let’s just say I’d have a nervous breakdown if that had happened to me. Snow takes it all in stride, finds a place to live, and doesn’t look back. If that’s not strength, I don’t know what is.
Snow White is a super dark film. I wonder how kids of the ’30’s reacted to it, because I’d imagine that today’s parents would not let their children under the age of 10 watch it. This thing is full of scary adventures and death – the Queen dies at the end. Snow White dies at the end – she’s not sleeping, she’s dead. Until the creepy prince comes in and plants one on her and she comes back to life.
Speaking of the ending, why does nobody there question this magical happening? The person whom everyone thought was dead is suddenly woken up, scooped up by the Prince, and carried off into the Sunset in a matter of 2 minutes. If I were a dwarf, I’d be freaking out! The Prince just takes it all in stride, though. There is no talk of “hey, come live with me”, or “let’s take it slow and you stay with the short folks and I’ll come by every so often” – he just plops her on the horse and starts pushing the Dwarfs up to say goodbye to her. Daring.
What strikes me the most is remembering that this is all hand-drawn animation. The fire, the rain – all of it. In the age of Pixar, these classics are looking less and less impressive over time, and that’s a shame. Hand-drawn animation will win in my heart every time over computer stuff.
Snow White is a pretty good film. It holds up well enough for being over 75 years old, and sort of adds to the ride experience. For example: above the queue for Snow White’s Scary Adventures, the Queen can be seen pulling the curtains aside and scowling down at you. I always thought that was just a cool bit of Imagineering … until I saw that same scene in the film!
Things like this is why we are watching all of these films, especially ones we haven’t seen in many (many) years. It’s all about getting closer to the inspirations of Disneyland and to get a better feel for the little details in the parks and rides that we may not remember.