Finally, a Disney film that didn’t bore me to tears! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is one of the few early animated features that doesn’t feel tremendously dated or far too lengthy. It’s a superbly engaging film, and I find it hard to believe that I’ve just said this about a Disney film where a princess looks after seven dwarfs. Still, that’s the magic that Walt and his merry band of animators looked to offer, and they just about manage to bring together a film that looks great, feels rather wholesome and, on the whole, is just a truly heart-warming time.
The animation is spectacular, a genuinely incredible experience from start to finish. Vivid colours, simplistic yet opportune and engaging characters and a whole host of songs that don’t sound like they’ve been orchestrated to haunt my ears. Most Disney films so far have included grating songs that haven’t really done all that much for me, but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has some slight moments that put it well above the average Disney animation. It still suffers many of the problems the usual problems of the brand, with a rushed ending that comes out of nowhere and little build-up for the villain of the piece. Far greater than the likes of The Sword in the Stone or Robin Hood, but still lacking in conventional storytelling.
As far as content is concerned, we do spend a great deal of time with the seven dwarfs. There are only so much these scenes can really muster, and considering how long they are, I really question both the relevance and the need to put them in. They feel recycled, poorly utilised and at times floundering around, trying to make the runtime longer than it has any right to be. Much of this time could’ve been utilised in fleshing out the eponymous Snow White, the romantic interest or even the villain of the piece. No such luck, with a great chunk of the movie dedicated to meandering about without a care in the world.
It’s great for the time it was made. A historical document of how incredible animation could be, a foundation for the greats of this art to build from, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is integral viewing for fans of film history, but also those that have a slight interest in comfortable Disney films. Far from their best work, but a much better film than most of their other efforts from this period of golden age animation.