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Click above to purchase "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Platinum Edition" at amazon.com

 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Platinum Edition

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rated G

Running Time: 84 minutes

Starring the voices of Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Lucille La Verne, Moroni Olsen, Roy Atwell

Directed by David Hand

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features:
Disc One: Audio Commentary with Walt Disney, hosted by Animation Historian John Canemaker, Still The Fairest Of Them All: The Making Of "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs",
"The Goddess Of Spring" short, "Heigh-Ho" Sing-Along Song, Dopey's Wild Mine Ride game, "Some Day My Prince Will Come" by Barbra Streisand Music Video, Guided Tours. DVD-ROM

Disc Two: Abandoned Concepts, The Restoration, Walt Disney Biographical Timeline, Snow White Biographical Timeline, Original Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale, Storyboard To Film Comparisons, Art And Design, Visual Development, Layouts and Backgrounds, Camera and Tests, Animation, Deleted Scenes, Original RKO Opening And End Credits, Disney Through The Decades, The Premiere, Trailers, Publicity, Vintage Audio

Specs: 1.33:1 Standard, Digital Transfer, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Mono, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Chapter Selection (27 Chapters), Two-Disc Set, THX-Certified

Yes, it really is the one that started it all and can be argued that it is the fairest of them all. Before mass merchandising, before mass hype, before tons and tons of money and when films began to revolutionize us and started to take off more, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," is the one that truly began Disney's animated empire and was the first animated film ever. It was history, and after sixty years, it is still a movie that holds up and will forever be considered timeless. It also began Disney's animated film tradition, which they still continue today. While their animated films have declined in box office grosses in the mid 1990s, and it can be argued the quality has declined, Disney has brought back the film that revolutionzed industry upon industry. The film that gains a whole new audience all the time. The film that continues to still enchant us all. And finally, the film that makes us wonder how so much was all once so simple and how it grew into a popular medium. There's no denying the impact "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" has had and still has. This wonderful new and deep DVD edition proves that, and will continue to expand the film's legacy, as well as show off more of Disney's great DVD productions.

Okay, let's get the plot out of the way for the four of you who don't know anything about it. We have our fair Snow White, who the evil queen is jealous of and who's magic mirror tells the truth. So she plots revenge that involves a disguise and a deadly apple, and at first, a killing from a hunstman. And yeah, you got dwarfs with different personalities that she meets, and the charming prince all little girls yearn for and hope that will come. And yes, it all works out okay for everyone.

I really don't know what more I can say about the movie. The glorious "old school" yet so enthralling animation still holds up, the score and songs are still sung today and it seems that everybody knows them as Disney created the standard for animated musicals, the story and the characters are so rich and defined in the eighty-four minute running time, the voice acting fits everyone perfectly and just the magic that it created and still creates really cannot be denied.

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is a good movie for all ages. Still, the legacy and history that it created is perhaps what it's best known for and what it will forever be known for. Disney defined a medium, an era and a whole studio out of it, despite the success of their animated short. Fairy tales will always be loved, and Disney had always struck gold when creating them, as well as other tales in animation. Yes, this movie began a whole industry. While others during the past sixty-four years have attempted to create their own animated magic and rival the Disney studio, none have really come close to what they are capable of. It's all timeless and it's all history. So sit back, relax, pop the discs in and enjoy a fine film, all while experiencing history and enjoying one of the best DVDs ever produced.

Presented in its original theatrical ratio of 1.33:1 (though it begins in 1.37:1 I believe), this restoration of a film that is over sixty years old (!) is simply jaw-dropping. How Disney pulled off such incredible results is beyond me (okay, probably with techniques, skill and technology), but I'm not going deep and asking questions. I never thought a film so old could look this good. I mean, some films from the early nineties do look pretty terrible on DVD. This just goes to show with time, effort and care, you can get a fantastic result (with the right tools I guess) for a film no matter how old, and if the elements are in good shape.

The colors are probably the most stunning aspect of this transfer. So many of us are used to seeing so many faded colors, dullness and dark spots in older theatrical runs and a bit on the VHS release seven years ago. Here... it's like a whole new picture literally. So much stuff we could not see before has been faithfully restored and we see things we once we could not see. It's amazing. Everything is so rich and pleasant. Besides the fine saturation, detail is spot on and black levels are tremendously solid. What's even more amazing is how spotless it is... no blemishes, scratches or pieces of dirt either. There is a decent amount of shimmering and noise though. A mark or two may appear now and then that probably could not have been removed, but few will notice and it does not interfere with probably one of the greatest film restorations ever.

 

Disney sure knows how to please! They're remixed the audio in pure Dolby Digital 5.1, but for true purists we also have the original mono track, and a French 5.1 Dolby Digital track (plus English subtitles and English closed captions). Before getting to the 5.1, I'll start with the original mono. It sounds rather magnificent. It's really clear, it's really crisp and sounds just so natural and perfect. It doesn't sound low and it's quite a treat to hear how good it sounds, and how good something so simple can sound. So if you like original stuff (I know I do), you'll be pleased here.

I was also really pleased with the brand spanking new 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. Fidelity is also rather high on it to my surprise, and despite the limitations, the dynamic range and .1 LFE is rather good. Like the mono, dialogue is rather clear and crisp. Other sounds don't overpower the other sounds either, making for a rather nice experience for the ears. Music and other sounds are well mixed. All in all, a fine experience and remix for such classic material.

 

The first of ten Platinum Disney DVD titles, I guess it's good Disney started with their first film ever. This being only Disney's second release of the movie on home video (now and back in 1994), they have constructed the ultimate edition of the film. With such in-depth supplements that really cover every single aspect of the film, it really comes to show how history was made. Children may like some of the extras, but older fans and animation buffs will probably get the most out of this experience. I just find it so amazing what Disney has done here, and all of you probably will too. They're calling it their first "immersive" DVD experience, and while I guess it does break some new ground in some areas for the format, it's pretty much set-up the way all their past collector editions have so I feel that may possibly be some sort-of overstatement. By no means is that a bad thing, in fact, it actually means it's beyond perfection.

So let's get down and dirty with the first disc. The Audio Commentary with Walt Disney, hosted by Animation Historian John Canemaker, is a rather great supplement to the film. While Canemaker introduces and fills in the gaps at times, Disney's comments are rather good, even if they're not screen specific. This track is obviously edited from archives of the man himself, since Walt is long gone now (just like the Fantasia track which I rather liked). But things are constantly said, and the information chosen to be in this track offers cool production stories and a load of information on making the classic. While your own kids may not want to listen to this, film and animation buffs should give it a spin.

Still The Fairest Of Them All: The Making Of "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs" is a fine documentary that lasts nearly forty minutes. With clips from the film itself, a host of various stills and film footage, this documentary is narrated by Angela Lansbury and it's rather nifty. There are a variety of interviews that know their stuff about animation, and explains a bit about Disney's background and his earlier projects. A lot is acknowledged here, and it's all shown through storyboards, other shot films and a whole lot of stuff. There's so much to gain out of here. I observe everyone to watch how the first film was made and assorted background info. One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Not to be missed.

The rest of the stuff on the first disc isn't much. We have the animated short The Goddess Of Spring, a set-top DVD game Dopey's Wild Mine Ride, a sing-along song for Heigh-Ho and a decent rendition of Some Day My Prince Will Come by Barbra Streisand.

Finally, on the first disc there are two Guided Tours which are actually rather nice. One is about twenty-five minutes and takes you through parts of each part of the first disc, while the second one is much shorter and barely scratches the surface. Hosted by the Magic Mirror, these tours give people a feel of what's on the disc and is rather nice.

Now for the meat... disc two! Broken up into five sections, each with much information on all sorts of things. In the Queen's Dungeon, you'll find Abandoned Concepts. Introduced by John Canemaker, there is some audio and the concepts are told through concept art and storyboards. Interesting for sure. We have "Snow White Meets The Prince," "Some Day My Prince Will Come - Fantasy Version" and "The Prince Is Captured."

The Restoration is also in the dungeon. Interviews with Chris Carey (Senior Vice President of DVD Production), executive director of the sound department of Terry Porter and a host of others explain the wondrous restoration of the classic and what it means to them. Clips from the film, stills and archival footage are used, but there is quite a bit on then doing the whole restoration and a host of comparisons. Very interesting and really cool. I wish it was a bit longer. It lasts five minutes and nineteen seconds.

In Show White's Wishing Well, you'll find a Walt Disney Biographical Timeline and a Snow White Biographical Timeline, plus the Original Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale. These are all text based supplements, and give more insight on to certain matters and are good to know (especially how true the movie stays to the original fairy tale... as we know, more recent animated adaptions have stretched a lot of new source material).

Also in the well are Storyboard To Film Comparisons for "The Forest Chase," "Cleaning House," "The Dwarfs Chase The Witch" and "The Queen's Order." You can watch the final film, the storyboards or both via split screen. There's an introduction from John Canemaker explaining it in twenty-one seconds.

In the Queen's Castle, we have a lot to experience. The one minute and forty-three seconds Art And Design is narrated by Canemaker with stills and film footage about the movie's visual style. Visual Development is a giant still gallery that even has optional audio for you to listen to on certain stills. Layouts And Backgrounds is broken up into "About Layouts And Backgrounds" and a gallery for them. The about is another featurette with Scott MacQueen, the director of Library Restoration that has clips. This lasts nearly five minutes, and focuses on early Disney and the film's wondrous background design. There's also Camera And Tests which features excerpts from "The Story of Silly Symphony" and "Tricks Of Our Trade", plus various Camera Tests that Macqueen hosts. Finally, Animation features another excerpt from "Tricks Of Our Trade", and three other featurettes. Voice Talent has an old footage segment with legendary Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas talking about voicing a film, Canemaker plus clips from the film and thoughts on the voice actors, lasting over six minutes. There's also the clip ladden Live Action Reference that lasts nearly seven minutes and is rather interesting, plus a gallery of Character Designs for "Snow White and The Dwarfs," "The Queen/The Peddler" and "The Huntsman/The Prince/The Animals."

Down in The Dwarf's Mine, we have five Deleted Scenes that are compiled with rough animation and voices believe it or not, while others even are more complete. There's an intro from Canemaker that lasts forty seconds. The scenes are "The Witch At The Cauldron," "The Bedroom Argument," "'Music In Your Soup'," "The Lodge Meeting" and "Building A Bed."

Interesting enough, RKO originally distributed the film. But then the credits for it changed over time to reflect that RKO was out, but you can view the Original RKO Opening And End Credits.

Yet what I found really interesting was the Disney Through The Decades trailer. Hosted by several celebrities (each represent a certain decade), this is a fun, great and really informative lookback at Disney's history. It's amazing how much there influence extends and how much they have accomplished. During the decades you can also view the various Snow White trailers. Film history fans, watch this.

The final section is pure marketing. In The Dwafs' Cottage and under Premiere, you'll find a newsreel of the film's premiere held on December 21st, 1937 and a radio broadcast of it. There are also eight Trailers that show the original release and various re-releases through the years, while there's a load of stills under Publicity. Divided into three sections, there's a Scrapbook that's even broken down further - "The Premiere," "Pressbook," "Production Photos," "Merchanside" and "Posters." The other two are old time but still great featurettes: A Trip Through The Walt Disney Studios and How Disney Cartoons Are Made, both introduced by Scott MacQueen.

And last but not least - Vintage Audio. Under Radio Broadcasts, you'll find the "Lux Radio Theater" (September 28th, 1936), another "Lux Radio Theater" (December 20, 1937) and "Mickey Mouse Theater Of The Air" (January 9th, 1938.). There are also seven Radio Commercials (three from 1958, four from 1967) and in Songs, there's the Silly Song Recording Session and a Deleted Song: "You're Never Too Old To Be Young." The first has audio introductions, like a commentary explaining the material and finding it. Cool to have.

Finally, the highly interactive and highly animated menus have such a great effect and are so well done, it makes you feel like you're in the film. Also, the keep case booklet included is really well designed, well written and well done. Not only does it offer insight on to this beloved classic, but it acts as a map of-sorts to the DVD. Oh, and the menus are even in 5.1!

A dazzling new transfer, an impressive 5.1 remix and the original mono track, plus some of the best supplements ever to grace DVD, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" really deserves to belong in everyone's DVD collection. The film is simply timeless and is history, and the DVD proves it to the fullest extent. It's like a "Snow White" encyclopedia! I can't wait for future platinum releases as Disney will continue to show off their best animated films in the best ways possible. This is something, that families will share with their children, and then pass it on. One of the best DVD titles of all time that deserves a spot in everyone's collection. What you get for such a good price is staggering. Heigh-ho!

(5/5 - NOT included in final score)

(4.5/5)

(4/5)

(5/5)

(4.5/5, NOT an average)

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