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Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs  

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  1. 1. Does Snow White belong on the AFI list?

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  • Poll closed on 04/12/19 at 07:00 AM

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One thing that I thought was cool on this rewatch was when the Dwarves return home from work and see the food cooking over the fire, Grumpy warns them not to eat the tempting food because it might be poisoned. It’s a nice bit of foreshadowing, and also helps explain that Grumpy’s demeanor and cynicism is based at least a bit in pragmatism. It’s an interesting message in a kids movie. It’s not the happy-go-lucky Dwarves that get it right, but the one who is like, “Don’t trust anything.”

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9 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

One thing that I thought was cool on this rewatch was when the Dwarves return home from work and see the food cooking over the fire, Grumpy warns them not to eat the tempting food because it might be poisoned. It’s a nice bit of foreshadowing, and also helps explain that Grumpy’s demeanor and cynicism is based at least a bit in pragmatism. It’s an interesting message in a kids movie. It’s not the happy-go-lucky Dwarves that get it right, but the one who is like, “Don’t trust anything.”

Also the animals are waaaay smarter than everyone and warn the absolute fuck out of Snow about that apple and she's just like "SHOO!" and then dies so the lesson there is listen to your gd pets y'all they know better than you.

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13 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

One thing that I thought was cool on this rewatch was when the Dwarves return home from work and see the food cooking over the fire, Grumpy warns them not to eat the tempting food because it might be poisoned. It’s a nice bit of foreshadowing, and also helps explain that Grumpy’s demeanor and cynicism is based at least a bit in pragmatism. It’s an interesting message in a kids movie. It’s not the happy-go-lucky Dwarves that get it right, but the one who is like, “Don’t trust anything.”

And later he tells Snow White not to let anyone in the house and then she . . . lets a strange woman in the house.

picardfacepalm.jpg

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21 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

One thing that I thought was cool on this rewatch was when the Dwarves return home from work and see the food cooking over the fire, Grumpy warns them not to eat the tempting food because it might be poisoned. It’s a nice bit of foreshadowing, and also helps explain that Grumpy’s demeanor and cynicism is based at least a bit in pragmatism. It’s an interesting message in a kids movie. It’s not the happy-go-lucky Dwarves that get it right, but the one who is like, “Don’t trust anything.”

The foreshadowing is cool, but that's the type of "don't indulge in the simplest of pleasures, kids!" moralizing that really hurts these early Disney films for me. I guess b/c its unknown origin food, it's fine, but I still find it pretty borderline as a message. 

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37 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

And later he tells Snow White not to let anyone in the house and then she . . . lets a strange woman in the house.

picardfacepalm.jpg

Yes, but the Evil Queen totally manipulates Snow White. She uses the animals attacking her to her advantage and starts acting like she’s about to have a heart attack or something. Snow White is caught completely unaware, and now this woman is like, “I need to sit down.” How would any of us act if we opened the door to an old woman and our dog just attacked her? I would let the woman come in for sure. At least let her sit down and make sure she isn’t seriously injured. Snow White also has no idea that this is her stepmother. You can see her wrestle with what to do - which I like. She’s not just like, “Please, come in! Sit down!” You can see she’s really not sure what to do. She’s afraid, but she’s also the kind of person who just wants to help. Her stepmother knows this about her which is why she succeeds. She uses Snow White’s empathy, and her daydreams about that charming Prince, against her - which is pretty cool.

27 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

The foreshadowing is cool, but that's the type of "don't indulge in the simplest of pleasures, kids!" moralizing that really hurts these early Disney films for me. I guess b/c its unknown origin food, it's fine, but I still find it pretty borderline as a message. 

Is that moralizing though?

True story: a couple of weeks ago, I was driving my son home from school and I was telling him never to take candy from strangers. And he...kind of got it? It was a bit conceptual for him. Like, he got not to do it, but pretty much only because “Daddy says not to.”  I mean, I want my kid to get why it’s important, but I also don’t want to scare him to death either. Anyway, as we were watching Snow White, he actually had an “a-ha” moment. You could see that he “got it.” It was a bit scary, but in a fantasy type way that he could easily handle and process. Now, if a stranger offers him something he wants, he can refer back to this and think, “I probably shouldn’t.” I mean, that’s great.

And, yeah, if you ever come home to find food cooking away, it’s probably best not to just chow down on it 😜

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24 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Yes, but the Evil Queen totally manipulates Snow White. She uses the animals attacking her to her advantage and starts acting like she’s about to have a heart attack or something. Snow White is caught completely unaware, and now this woman is like, “I need to sit down.” How would any of us act if we opened the door to an old woman and our dog just attacked her? I would let the woman come in for sure. At least let her sit down and make sure she isn’t seriously injured. Snow White also has no idea that this is her stepmother. You can see her wrestle with what to do - which I like. She’s not just like, “Please, come in! Sit down!” You can see she’s really not sure what to do. She’s afraid, but she’s also the kind of person who just wants to help. Her stepmother knows this about her which is why she succeeds. She uses Snow White’s empathy, and her daydreams about that charming Prince, against her - which is pretty cool.

I mean, yes, the witch is crafty. But still . . . Grumpy JUST told her. She's only in this house because she found out someone was trying to kill her. You'd expect a little more caution in that scenario.

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Well like I said, it's borderline. It's very close to the puritanical "don't enjoy any pleasures" theme that's in Pinocchio. That the food here is from a stranger is more reasonable, sure. But I mean, she dies later from food from a stranger, so why do we need Grumpy wagging his finger and being a scold?

Maybe if we're arguing the age range of this movie is for like 5-9 year olds or something, this is a perfectly fine message for a film. But we're not, we're considering it as elevated, better than a kids' movie, and for all ages. I'm certainly not arguing against the message in of itself, I'm no heathen saying 'indulge yourself always'. But why does it need to be here at all? In a semi-scolding, patronizing way too, no less? Is that the best way to teach kids? *shrug*

I mean whatever, most kids' movies have junk like this in them -- for whatever reason adults have always felt it was required to scold kids in entertainment made for them. And it will always annoy me haha.

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So, haven't listened to the ep yet, but this is an interesting debate about the Disney films, particularly the early Disney films. Each film was bringing something new to the table, something better, something unique, and each has memorable elements. I think the Dwarfs are probably the most last element of Snow White and establishes kind of the comic helpers, Maleficent is probably the best of the early Disney villains, dumbo establishes more than Snow White the anthropomorphic animals. If an early Disney film has to go in (and I think it does) I would actually vote for Cinderella. I agree, to an extent, with both @Cameron H. and @taylorannephoto, on Cinderella but I think it takes all the elements that were built on previously (only Sleeping Beauty's villain I think is better then the Wicked Stepmother) and makes it into a crowning achievement. 

That said, I don't have a problem per se with Snow White being on the list, it's just never been my cup of tea. (personally I'm more a fun of the "Disney Sketch Art" years: Dalmatians, Jungle Book, Robin Hood)

 

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19 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I mean, yes, the witch is crafty. But still . . . Grumpy JUST told her. She's only in this house because she found out someone was trying to kill her. You'd expect a little more caution in that scenario.

But that’s the difference between Snow White and Grumpy. She’s an optimist and he’s a pessimist. And if it had been Grumpy, he would have probably let an old woman die in the dirt in front of him. Lol But even if Grumpy is right, who wants to be Grumpy? It would be a miserable, pessimistic existence. Even Grumpy doesn’t want to be Grumpy (and isn’t by the end). I like SW’s optimism better. Sometimes you trust people and it works out (the Dwarves) and sometimes it doesn’t (the Queen) but maybe it’s better to be wrong once and awhile than to shut yourself off completely and assume the worst of everyone.

Also, the Queen gets to her, not by offering something for her - which might have been more suspicious - but by offering something for the Dwarves (“Fuck gooseberries! Apple dumplins are the way to go!”) This kind of disarms SW a bit. It’s not like, “Hey, eat this apple!” It’s “I know how you can make your friends happy.”

I don’t know, I get what you’re saying. Maybe they could have had a “12 Months Later” to show she’s grown complacent, but I personally don’t feel like that is necessary.

 

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11 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Well like I said, it's borderline. It's very close to the puritanical "don't enjoy any pleasures" theme that's in Pinocchio. That the food here is from a stranger is more reasonable, sure. But I mean, she dies later from food from a stranger, so why do we need Grumpy wagging his finger and being a scold?

Maybe if we're arguing the age range of this movie is for like 5-9 year olds or something, this is a perfectly fine message for a film. But we're not, we're considering it as elevated, better than a kids' movie, and for all ages. I'm certainly not arguing against the message in of itself, I'm no heathen saying 'indulge yourself always'. But why does it need to be here at all? In a semi-scolding, patronizing way too, no less? Is that the best way to teach kids? *shrug*

I mean whatever, most kids' movies have junk like this in them -- for whatever reason adults have always felt it was required to scold kids in entertainment made for them. And it will always annoy me haha.

I've done some writing for children's theater and the hardest part is to avoid the lessons and moralizing. I think "adults" think that if something is to have value it needs to teach a lesson. Sometimes that can be subtle and sometimes it's Davey and Goliath.

My children's writing has no redeeming value. It's all pie in the face and fart jokes.

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21 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

But that’s the difference between Snow White and Grumpy. She’s an optimist and he’s a pessimist. And if it had been Grumpy, he would have probably let an old woman die in the dirt in front of him. Lol But even if Grumpy is right, who wants to be Grumpy? It would be a miserable, pessimistic existence. Even Grumpy doesn’t want to be Grumpy (and isn’t by the end). I like SW’s optimism better. Sometimes you trust people and it works out (the Dwarves) and sometimes it doesn’t (the Queen) but maybe it’s better to be wrong once and awhile than to shut yourself off completely and assume the worst of everyone.

Also, the Queen gets to her, not by offering something for her - which might have been more suspicious - but by offering something for the Dwarves (“Fuck gooseberries! Apple dumplins are the way to go!”) This kind of disarms SW a bit. It’s not like, “Hey, eat this apple!” It’s “I know how you can make your friends happy.”

I don’t know, I get what you’re saying. Maybe they could have had a “12 Months Later” to show she’s grown complacent, but I personally don’t feel like that is necessary.

 

Oh, I'm just nitpicking this thing like it's an HDTGM movie. It's not a big deal.

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23 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

Oh, I'm just nitpicking this thing like it's an HDTGM movie. It's not a big deal.

Lol - I mean, you’re not wrong. I just think things like that, and some of the things Taylor brought up, really are a casualty of this being the first of its kind. There’s a sense of showing off, but also of holding back. People really didn’t think it was going to work - period. So you get a sense of, “I wish we could do a scene of SW and PC talking and getting to know one another, but...that might hurt the flow. It’s also going to cost X amount more dollars that we really don’t have. Okay, well the curse can only be broken by true love’s kiss, right? Well, then we don’t need much of a courtship. It’s love at first sight, and when she wakes at the end, everyone will know that they’re perfect for each other - otherwise his kiss wouldn’t work.”

So, yeah, of course it could be better, but I think, due to their circumstances, they allowed the audience to make some of these intuitive leaps.

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19 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Lol - I mean, you’re not wrong. I just think things like that, and some of the things Taylor brought up, really are a casualty of this being the first of its kind. There’s a sense of showing off, but also of holding back. People really didn’t think it was going to work - period. So you get a sense of, “I wish we could do a scene of SW and PC talking and getting to know one another, but...that might hurt the flow. It’s also going to cost X amount more dollars that we really don’t have. Okay, well the curse can only be broken by true love’s kiss, right? Well, then we don’t need much of a courtship. It’s love at first sight, and when she wakes at the end, everyone will know that they’re perfect for each other - otherwise his kiss wouldn’t work.”

So, yeah, of course it could be better, but I think, due to their circumstances, they allowed the audience to make some of these intuitive leaps.

It does seem like most of the filmmakers' energy went into making the animation as great as possible. And indeed, even today it's a pretty dazzling piece of animation. Beautiful colors, creative designs, etc. They definitely succeeded on that level, which probably set the table for the future of Disney as the dominant animation studio in America.

Given that, the story sometimes feels a little wonky and jerry-rigged. Not to a completely baffling degree (it's not, say, Van Helsing), but I think the storytelling did get more polished after this. Sometimes Snow White feels like almost as much an anthology movie as Fantasia, in that all the characters except for Snow White herself seem to live in their own separate movies and rarely intersect or even alter the main character's arc.

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I think people are judging this film as a story—when really it’s a tale. That’s a bit like criticizing a poem for not being a novel.

Here’s an article that explains the difference:

http://soulofyourstory.org/the-difference-between-a-story-and-a-tale/ 

“Observing a ‘tale’ is like watching someone float downstream with no specific goal, carried at the whim of the river currents....”

I think that explains why the main character can seem passive or underwritten. She’s not meant to have the complexity or agency of a story character. She’s meant to appeal to more primitive, childlike emotions. If you think about it, children don’t have a lot of agency in their own lives. They live at the mercy of other people’s choices. 

I’m not saying it’s a perfect film. I just think maybe we need to look at it through a different lens.

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As a kid I never really liked a lot of the early Disney films all that much and that is probably because I liked the newer stuff at the time more and I always preferred talking animals to boring people stuff. So when I watched this movie last night it was probably the first time I'd seen in about 30 years. My memory of the movie was being slow and boring and after watching it I was shocked to discover that when watching it I didn't find that to be the case at all. I was pleasantly surprised how the movie actually moved. I mean compared to a lot of movies of the time I was expecting long scenes and down moments but I found that even when it was having a "down" moment it was moving along pretty well. Also, the animation is so good. I mean there are some issues with the softness of the human faces but the stuff with the dwarfs looks just as good as it did when I was growing up in the 80s. If it wasn't for the sound the animation is truly timeless which is doubly impressive when you think about how old it is and that it was the first full length colour animated movie.

I hate to sound like a broken record on the issue of whether or not this film belongs on the list. I mean there is the argument that pioneering films belong on the list because they blazed the trail and set so much else to follow that later better films would not exist without them. I think that is why this movie is on the list and if you need further proof of that being the case Toy Story is also on the list. Toy Story is arguably not the best Pixar movie, it is also arguably not even the best Toy Story movie. So why is it on the list when I'm sure most everybody else would choose another Pixar film? The exact same reason that Snow White it. It showed us what we could do and it was something up to that point had never been seen. On top of that it is a solid movie. If it was a shit show but the first then yes don't put it on the list. Despite it not being our favourite or what we think is the best of Disney I don't think anybody has said that it is a bad movie. So a solid, good maybe not great film, that is timeless in a sense and a first of its kind that changed the film landscape, why not put it on the list?

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Cambert... I just read through this whole thread to see if anyone already made the point I wanted to bring up, and there it was, right at the end.

I agree with the overall point that Snow White and Toy Story belong on the list because one of the criteria is groundbreaking achievement in film, for which they both definitely fit the bill. What I think is more interesting (by which I mean annoying) is that these are the only two animated films on the list, as though the only way an animated film could get on was through remarkable technical accomplishment.

I think if there was a new list, we’d see a lot of progress in that regard... it does feel like the past 12 years or see have a lot more examples of excellent American animation. Wall-E arguably helped change the Oscars, we’ve got the resurgence of Disney, Laika Studios has entered the game, and let’s not forget the Spider-Verse (wary as I am of setting such a recent movie in the firmament, I LOVE it).

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5 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

So a solid, good maybe not great film, that is timeless in a sense and a first of its kind that changed the film landscape, why not put it on the list?

I mean I think that's the answer, right?  It's a list of the 100 greatest, not "100 good, maybe not great" films. 

I voted that it shouldn't be on the list, and that's exactly why. It's better than good, I'll add, but I'm not sure it gets to great.

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2 hours ago, mdoyl44 said:

I think if there was a new list, we’d see a lot of progress in that regard... it does feel like the past 12 years or see have a lot more examples of excellent American animation. Wall-E arguably helped change the Oscars, we’ve got the resurgence of Disney, Laika Studios has entered the game, and let’s not forget the Spider-Verse (wary as I am of setting such a recent movie in the firmament, I LOVE it).

I don't remember how Wall-E changed the Oscars at all so you'll have to refresh my memory. I know that Beauty and the Beast was the first animated movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture, and then Up was nominated in 2010 and it was the first year it went from 5 back to 10 slots in the BP category.

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I think part of the issue is that as far as feature-length animation goes, I'm not sure what other American studio besides Disney or Pixar I would consider historically important enough to honor. The Warner Bros characters are culturally important, but they are known for shorts and not features (sorry 90s kids, but I don't think Space Jam has much chance). The other great animation studios tend to be overseas (Ghibli, Aardman), or are more TV-centric.

I mean, personally I do consider WALL-E the best Pixar movie, but it is also one of Pixar's lowest grossing and didn't win any more awards than the usual Pixar entry. It will take a while for the reputation of that one to rise enough to be "listworthy" to the average AFI voter (if it ever gets there).

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1 hour ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I think part of the issue is that as far as feature-length animation goes, I'm not sure what other American studio besides Disney or Pixar I would consider historically important enough to honor. The Warner Bros characters are culturally important, but they are known for shorts and not features (sorry 90s kids, but I don't think Space Jam has much chance). The other great animation studios tend to be overseas (Ghibli, Aardman), or are more TV-centric.

I mean, personally I do consider WALL-E the best Pixar movie, but it is also one of Pixar's lowest grossing and didn't win any more awards than the usual Pixar entry. It will take a while for the reputation of that one to rise enough to be "listworthy" to the average AFI voter (if it ever gets there).

So, no DREAMWORKS ANIMATION? Are you suggesting that Road To El Dorado isn't worthy? 

What about Don Bluth? No A Troll In Central Park?

Bakshi? :D :D 

Seriously though, Road to El Dorado is amazing and it's a shame. But I think Disney/Pixar has such a grip on the public conciseness that nearly ANY animated film is sometimes labeled as "Disney"

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I agree here with EvRobert. Animated, feature-length movies were Disney until at least the 90's. Snow White was the pioneer in that respect. Sure, others have clearly improved on the form, but it's a lot easier to do once Disney proved it could be done. I vote for it being a "great" movie, in that it was successful and still holds up relatively well (as opposed to say Pinocchio). 

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9 minutes ago, EvRobert said:

So, no DREAMWORKS ANIMATION? Are you suggesting that Road To El Dorado isn't worthy? 

What about Don Bluth? No A Troll In Central Park?

Bakshi? :D :D 

Seriously though, Road to El Dorado is amazing and it's a shame. But I think Disney/Pixar has such a grip on the public conciseness that nearly ANY animated film is sometimes labeled as "Disney"

I love Road to El Dorado!

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5 minutes ago, EvRobert said:

So, no DREAMWORKS ANIMATION? Are you suggesting that Road To El Dorado isn't worthy? 

What about Don Bluth? No A Troll In Central Park?

Bakshi? :D :D 

Seriously though, Road to El Dorado is amazing and it's a shame. But I think Disney/Pixar has such a grip on the public conciseness that nearly ANY animated film is sometimes labeled as "Disney"

Right, most of those studios have made some good movies and all, but hard to claim anything as an all-time great (and of course Don Bluth was a Disney guy who left and made his own Disney-style films).

I might make an argument for The Iron Giant or maybe the South Park movie, but it's not a super-strong argument. Brad Bird later became part of Pixar, and South Park is mostly known as a TV show. Animation is expensive and requires a large team, so it makes sense that a couple of major studios would siphon up all the talent for feature films.

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2 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

Right, most of those studios have made some good movies and all, but hard to claim anything as an all-time great (and of course Don Bluth was a Disney guy who left and made his own Disney-style films).

I might make an argument for The Iron Giant or maybe the South Park movie, but it's not a super-strong argument. Brad Bird later became part of Pixar, and South Park is mostly known as a TV show. Animation is expensive and requires a large team, so it makes sense that a couple of major studios would siphon up all the talent for feature films.

I think a legit argument could be made for South Park: BLU even though it was primarily known as a TV show, but I think an argument could be made that it is as groundbreaking as SW (a newer style of animation, catchy musical numbers, adult themes and language, poltical message, and lets be honest, it still holds up).

The Iron Giant, as much as I love it (and I do--probably my favorite animated film ever) would be a struggle for it's inclusion 

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