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Customer Review

on 11 November 2009
The fact that 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' was the first full-length animated feature film produced in America is the most remarkable thing about it. The first car produced in America was also something of a technological marvel, but if your first priority is getting somewhere, wouldn't you choose something a bit more modern?

The truth is, 'Snow White' is terrible. Insofar as Disney came to be perceived as the leading animation studio in America, it's down to Walt Disney's capacity for working hard at self-promotion and his ruthless disloyalty to his subordinates, which enabled him to fire anyone he considered was drawing the limelight away from himself. The plot moves at a snail's pace. Snow White, as voiced by Adriana Caselotti, is the drippiest and most irritating of Disney heroines; she does very little except run away from things and sing to woodland animals. The animation has that curiously slow, treacly quality common to many early Disney films, and which was soon to be made obsolete by the work of Warner Bros and MGM's animation departments. Warner's Bugs Bunny and MGM's Tom and Jerry starred in shorts that pack more entertainment into five minutes than Disney could manage in 70. The seven dwarfs are lumberingly unfunny - can you even remember all their names? If you can't, isn't that a sign that they're just not memorable enough? It doesn't help that Disney DVDs have a very slow management system; you have to flick through half an hour of ads to get to the main menu, and when you finally arrive, the animation of the menus is even slower than that of the movie itself.

The classic Disney films of the first period all suffered, to a greater or lesser extent, from the dead hand of Walt's Victorian sentimentality and need to control; ironically, it was only when illness and death prevented him from handling his own studio's output than the quality began to improve. 'The Jungle Book' was the last film he had a hand in, and it's well known that Disney suffered an embarrassing slump during the 70s and 80s, but in the late 80s and early 90s they entered the so-called Second Golden Age (in my opinion, actually the first one), a run of classic films that peaked with 1991's brilliantly witty 'Beauty and the Beast'.

In the meantime, my two-year-old girl calls for 'Snow White' now and again but she can seldom be bothered to watch more than twenty minutes of it at a time, whereas 'Beauty and the Beast' she will happily watch all of, if you let her. Unless you are a Disney freak, this movie has curiosity value only.
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