Sunday, May 1, 2011

"There Was An Apple"

"Before A Magic Lamp Yielded Its Power."
"Before An Enchanted Rose Cast Its Spell."
"Before A Glass Slipper Revealed Its Magic."

"There Was An Apple."
"A Magic Wishing Apple."

As well as a few other little details that escaped the Disney movie, but that is for another night.  Tonight is dedicated to the first full length animated picture.  "The one that started it all," Walt Disney's Snow White.  First released on February 4, 1937, Disney's greatest classic is still one of the most beloved films.  Sadly, it has just returned to the Disney Vault, and as of April 30, 2011, it is no longer available to buy, and soon it will become hard to rent as well.

What makes a young princess, seven dwarfs, a wicked stepmother, and a handsome prince so attractive?  Is it the music?  The animation?  Or the story itself that twists its way around our hearts to stay forever?  I have to admit that as a child this was my LEAST favorite Disney princess.  What with the high childish bell like voice I never really liked the movie.  However, after revisiting the movie as a teenager of 15-16, I fell in love.  The magic of the movie washed over me and held me captive.  Snow White jumped to my second favorite princess right after Belle and right before Ariel.  But why?

Snow White is the tale of a young princess who is forced to escape with only her life because of the jealousy of her stepmother.  While out lost in the woods, she meets animal friends and comes across a small cottage where she meets the Seven Dwarfs.  Through a series of misfortunes, she falls into a deep slumber and is only awakened by the kiss of her Prince Charming (who is truly nameless).

I don't think it's the plot that makes this story.  Although the idea is sweet it simply lacks the marvelous development that so many other Disney movies have.  I summed the plot up in three short sentences.  So what is it that makes Snow White one of Disney's most beloved classics.  First, the animation is brilliant.  Hand-drawn characters come to life on screen in a mixture of reality and fantasy.  Whereas Snow White might be a real person only outlined, the Dwarfs could never be mistaken for "real" people.  They are cartoons.  This also applies to the animals.  Yet, blended together the two are harmonious.  I'm no judge of art, but I like this style Disney adopted.  The art seems to say that reality and fantasy can meet if you just believe.  And for me at least, this is an idea that I cherish.  Secondly, I think the music and voices of the characters bring the film to life.  Though some may find Snow White's voice annoying (I've been there), she has this soft childish tinkle that never goes away.  The Dwarfs voices are perfect for their personalities.  The songs they sing are lively and fun, and easily catch on.  I often find one of Snow White's songs running through my head.  "Whistle While You Work," "Someday My Prince Will Come," and "Heigh-Ho" are just a few that come to mind.  The movie is a masterpiece.

However, many people are against the creative genius of Disney, and I think that's what I most want to address with this blog.  As I pointed out in "A Search that Lead to a Discovery," fairytales have been changing throughout time.  Disney was not the first to recreate these folktales nor will he be the last.  Though there are missing twists, the story line is essentially the same.  The summary I wrote earlier works for either the fairytale or the movie.  Disney merely recreates the plot into what he envisions to be the story of Snow White.  Throughout this week, I will post on different tales that are Snow White fairytales to show how they are the same and different.  Disney is merely the last Grimm Brother, for they too recreated the stories from what they were into what they wrote.  No author really wants to write what is dictated to him.  He wants to explore and expound, develop and create.   Disney did the exact same thing.

So why is Snow White still around?  It is a magical tale that we can relate to in our time.  Like many before him, Disney recreated the tale into something our generation can enjoy.  He created a work of literature and art that will last for years to come.  People still flock to the store in order to grab their copy of this movie so that they can share these precious memories with their children, and those brave enough to buy it without the excuse of having kids will enjoy the movie for what it is: A treasure that stretches across time.