has an average rating of 7.8 on IMDb
4×3 1080p in AVC on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio & Mono
would have made Walt himself proud!
– 83 minutes
Disc 1 uses 18.3GB for the movie out of 33.0GB total.
Disc 2 uses 40.1GB total.
Overall Verdict – A Highly Recommended Classic
The Movie Itself was the first full-length animated motion picture from Walt Disney. Having relied on their animated shorts, “Silly Symphonies“, for some time, Disney began to aim for the idea of an animated feature-length production, initially to round out the production costs of the “Silly Symphony” shorts which were costing more to make but not increasing in lucrative turn-over. The three year production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was even nicknamed by nay-sayers as “Disney’s Folly”, as many saw the vision as impossible to create, and also had huge doubt in the public’s opinion of such a film.
With the use of multiplane cameras in traditional animation, this film merited its very own; created by inventor William (Bill) Garity in 1937, who would also later be the lead engineer in the development of Walt Disney‘s idea for Fantasound, Disney productions now had their hands on this unique multiplane camera which could film up to seven layers of the hand-painted cells, providing a more significant clarity and depth to the animation than ever before seen in the studio’s shorts.
The general population is familiar with the story itself, at least in some fashion or form. Derived from the German version of the tale, as Grimm’s Fairy Tales is mentioned in the opening credits, the story follows the general plot of the generations-old fantasy, with a few subtle variations in storytelling style, mostly as either artistic intentions to span more depth to the characters and their environment, or to simply make the film more friendly in nature. Traditionally, the fairy tale opens with Snow White‘s mother wishing for a daughter with “…skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony…”. In the Disney version, this is of course never present, as we only know of the evil Queen (Lucille La Verne) who is the step-mother of Snow White (Adriana Caselotti). Of course there are other differences in this delivery of the tale versus numerous other versions of the story, though it seems that Disney was staying true to the German origins of the fairy tale, with much of the decor and small details being of this culture; such as the designs seen in the seven dwarfs‘ cottage, including the beer stein.
In closing, looking back on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs“, it’s not only the Disney reduxed-fairytale itself that is the gold here, but the film’s actual production and the entrepreneur mind-set of Walt Disney himself while creating this masterpiece. Through him, and very much so his staff as well, the public’s idea of animation would change to accept that a feature-length film could indeed be a “cartoon”, and not simply rely on “a laugh a minute”, but convey emotions and portray human characters that could entice an audience’s attention the same way that other motion pictures had. Though Disney Productions was certainly wanting to reinvent itself with this impressive full-length animated feature, they were also sure not to thoroughly abandon the hearty gags and comedy they were known for in their shorts, as we see it shine through in the roles of the dwarfs. Overall, the movie itself earns a “5 Star Rating” for not simply being a revised fairy tale, but for being a predecessor of many great things to come.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio — which does include black bars on the side on a Widescreen display. The film is almost 75 years old now and that I think should explain for why it is in a 4×3 aspect ratio. Growing up, I had always loved the film, in all honestly I probably watched it 30 times as a kid on the Disney Channel. Now as I’m older, going back and watching it again here I get to see the film in now a way I never had before which is downright amazing and leaves me having to again start things off here by saying “Thank You Disney!” and secondly leaves me very excited to see the original classics like “Dumbo” & “Fantasia” come to Blu-ray next year, as well as others in future years. With this being the first of the original Disney animated full-length feature films, “Snow White” does have a generally soft feel to the video quality but does have a somewhat sharp and defined visual presentation for the most part. Obviously now with this being telecined to a 4K Hi-Def source and then cleaned up by Lowry Digital, the folks responsible for restoring the “007: James Bond” titles for MGM.
All of this can be detailed further in an excellent post by film restorationist Robert A. Harris over at Home Theater Forum. As Harris says and I’ll agree, this does now show off a lot of the flaws found in this animation itself. That is not though the fault of the video quality itself though when you see flaws that had previously existed and are now being exposed. Sure Lowry Digital could have cleaned it up a tad bit more but I think honestly if Walt Disney were alive today to screen a copy of this Hi-Def restoration on Blu-ray, he’d watch with his eyes lit up with compassion throughout the film watching all over again, noticing things he never had before; even if he were upset with any flaws that were shown as a result. It’s a true wonder that a 75-year-old piece of animated film like this looks as great as it does here, even if it does have the occasional “hiccups” visually.
The black level is very solid and helps a tad bit on outlines despite the fact this really was drawn with very thin outlines and has a soft feel to it visually at times and the out-of-focus camera shots or spherical lens blurring on the 4 corners of the screen are at times distracting. The color palette is very vibrant here and using early Technicolor. Overall no signs of huge amounts of DNR (digital noise reduction) being used, as I said Lowry did the touch-up on the film grain and noise after the 4K transfer. It’s also pretty obvious they didn’t use any edge enhancement filter as I said before, the feel of the image quality can at times be soft or out of focus as the result of the first time that Disney and his animators had used this multiple-plane type of camera to do a full-length feature film. Over the years they got better and better as “Pinocchio” as just the second film shows. Does this look just as good as “Pinocchio“? In all honesty, yes and no. First yes it does look great to be a 75-year-old film as I mentioned before but at the very same time it shows off a lot more flaws than “Pinocchio” on Blu-ray did. It’s very hard to resist giving it a perfect score but because of the bit of flaws that this new amount of detail brings to us, I have to give it a “4.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality which is still very, very impressive; just not 100% perfect and something with as much “pop” to it visually as say the other two Disney animated classics out on the format so far (“Sleeping Beauty” & “Pinocchio“).
Audio Quality on this release is presented in both DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio and a complete restoration of the original Mono track in Dolby Digital 1.0 @192kbps. To a degree, if you thought the 7.1 mix on “Pinocchio” was somewhat of an overkill, you may find yourself holding a similar opinion with this release. The primary audible presentation is heavy in the front channels, with the key source being the music, composed by Paul J. Smith, and the lyrical songs, written by Frank Churchill & Leigh Harline. Being that this film spawned the release of movie soundtracks to consumers, it really seems there would have been a bit more kick from from the 7.1 mix when it comes to these well-known Disney songs, though it was most likely for the best that this was not overdone. There are not many instances of assigned channel use or panning involved on this audio track; a decent example is perhaps the slamming of a door which occurs a couple of times throughout, being a noticeable piece of foley that tends to stand out from the others with a soft thud from even the subwoofer. Upon watching this release during the first few minutes of the film, I assumed there would be a more intense audio presentation with a scene such as Snow White‘s panic in the forest as she flees from the Huntsman who declined to take her life; again, this proved to not be a huge swell in the audio mix, and this includes many other climatic scenes.
These statements are not to imply that “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” should have sounded like an IMAX action flick by any means, or any refurbishment that would make Walt Disney roll-over in his grave for that matter. Simply put, if a large catalog title is released in DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, consumers have an expectation when eight channels of their soundscape are going to be used, and without making unnecessary additions to the audio track, there could have been a bit more flavor in the channel usage, whether regarding the songs, sound effects, or a dash more flare from the climatic scenes at the least. However, for what it does deliver, it is not a bad job at all, just a tad on the basic side of presentation, overall earning a “4 Star Rating“.
Bonus Materials on this release are presented in both High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition video. Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo throughout almost all bonus materials, except where noted.
Your guide throughout the menus of both discs is “The Magic Mirror” from the film who will actually do things like remember if it’s the first time you’ve inserted the disc, ask if you’d like to resume where you left off if you’ve viewed the film previously or suggest menu selections and so forth all via BD-J (BD Java) coded smart menu technology. This menu guide is very similar to that of which found on the three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films in their Blu-ray Disc release. Just like the menu guide on those, this was likely done by the folks at the Panasonic Hollywood Labs.
Disc 1 includes:
- “DisneyView” (which was previously used on “Pinocchio“) also appears to be using Bonus View (requiring a “Profile 1.1” or higher capable Blu-ray Disc Player) to deliver a set of themed sidebar pillars for this 4:3 (Full Screen) 1.33:1 aspect ratio Blu-ray Disc release. These custom paintings were done by Toby Bluth who has some information included about his art here, which you’ll see more of listed below along with 3 screenshots showing this feature in action.
- “About DisneyView” is a short little video (literally, in a Picture-in-Picture box) hosted by the artist Toby Bluth who did the paintings that are used as the themed side pillars mentioned above. You’ll also find two pages of information on his work here beside the video of him explaining why he chose this project and what inspired him.
- BD-Live is included on this Disney Blu-ray Disc release. This requires the user to be on a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc Player to access online content via an internet connection as well as access interactive features such as social interaction like the games discussed further below. This feature is not yet available at the time of writing this review and I’m presuming will not be “live” until street date.
- “Sneak Peeks” all are presented in Hi-Def video quality with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound @448kbps. The trailers included are for the following movies, all of which are coming soon to Blu-ray Disc:
- “UP” (2:32 – HD)
- “Santa Buddies” (0:51 – HD)
- “Ponyo” (1:33 – HD)
- “G-Force” (1:36 – HD)
- “Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition” (1:42 – HD)
- “Dumbo: Diamond Edition” (1:16 – HD)
- “The Princess and the Frog” (2:33 – HD)
- “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure” (1:29 – HD)
- “Snow White Returns” (8:44 – HD) has some recently uncovered story sketches outlining what would have been a sequel. Here you’ll get some reconstructed storyboards showing what it might have looked like.
- “Deleted Scenes“. The first is called “Soup Eating Sequence” (4:08 – HD), a personal favorite of Walt Disney himself and the second is called “Bed Building Sequence” (6:28 – HD).
- “Someday My Prince Will Come” Music Video (3:34 – HD) performed by Tiffany Thorton. This is in Hi-Def as the other HD material but for some reason is using the MPEG-2 codec to do so. The audio here is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround @448kbps.
- “Jewel Jumble Game” is similar to games like “Bejewled”.
- “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” allows users to find out which Disney Princess they are. Not really aimed at the male audience obviously. Once the BD-Live connectivity is enabled you’ll be able to receive the option after the quiz to receive a personalized message from your Princess. This feature is noted as not being available in all territories and I’m assuming they mean parts of North America and obviously not overseas.
- “What Do You See?” has the option to play single-layer or up to 4 player or even family mode. This game is simple, basically you guess which character or object you are seeing first blurry and slowly coming into focus. Not really the most advanced game, but that’s one reason it’s good for all-ages. To guess answers quickly you can use the number buttons 1 through 6 on the Blu-ray Disc Player’s remote control.
- “Scene Stealer” allows you to play back music video using photos of you and/or your family via BD-Live. Since the BD-Live functionality has not yet been enabled at time of writing this I cannot go into detail about the feature but instead just state what the description tells me. They also suggest you visit their website HERE where you can submit your photos.
Disc 2 contains:
- “Backstage Disney: Diamond Edition on this disc includes:
- “Hyperion Studios” (HD) is an interactive feature with tons of clips of behind-the-scenes making of materials, two full “Silly Symphony” shorts and much, much more. Mainly this serves as a look back on the time period when the Disney company was located at the Hyperion Studios in Silverlake, California. Interactive hotspots will guide you through this feature and it’s at times hosted by current Disney as well as Pixar animators or directors, such as Andrew Stanton who starts things off. This entire feature is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound @448kbps. I’ll try my best to list some of the stuff featured here but keep in mind it is pretty in-depth and I may miss some areas. First off there’s “Family Business” (1:57 – HD) which talks about the origin of the Disney company, second there’s “Where It All Began” (11:48 – HD), next we have another section called “The Story Room“. First in the story room you have “In Walt’s Words: The Huntsman” (3:25 – HD), next “Walt’s Night Prowls” (0:52 – HD), then “Abandoned Concepts Gallery” (HD), the “Silly Symphony” short “Babes in the Woods” (8:04 – HD), “Stories from the Story Room” (1:14 – HD), “Gabby, Blabby and Flabby” (1:14 – HD) and last for the story room we have “Five Bucks A Gag” (1:46 – HD). The two sections you can go to from the story room are “Storyboard Art Gallery” (HD) and “The Music Room” (HD). You’ll find even more content here such as another “Silly Symphony” short and such.
- “The One That Started It All” (17:15 – HD) is a new retrospective featurette on the film itself and the legacy that it created for Disney. This proves to be very informative and entertaining throughout with lots of new interview footage from both Disney and Pixar artists, producers, directors and occasionally even clips of the man himself, Walt Disney. This featurette is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound @448kbps.
- “Animation Voice Talent” (6:21 – SD) has an interview with Adriana Caselotti who did the voice for “Snow White” as well as discussion of the other voice actors.
- “Disney Through the Decades” (35:55 – SD) is very in-depth and takes a look at the company and it’s history since the 1930′s up to 2001 or so when the DVD this is taken from was released. A short intro clip (1:27 – HD) is included at the beginning and hosted by John Ratzenberger who most of you will remember from doing voices in all the Pixar films and as “Norm” on the television show “Cheers” from a few decades back.
- “Dopey‘s Wild Mine Ride” is an interactive game.
- “Heigh-Ho” Karaoke Sing-Along” is an interactive feature.
Disc 3 contains a DVD in Standard Definition of the film itself with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. The DVD also contains some of the original DVD bonus content such as audio commentary as well as new content such as the music video and such.
Overall the bonus materials we get here are very wealthy in information and also very impressive in their quality, even unfinished material such as the uncovered “Snow White Returns” storyboards or the rough Deleted Scenes. All of the new retrospective material, which is presented in High Definition and even 5.1 Surround sound at times, is very impressive and definitely all worth watching. Fans of the film and especially the fans of Walt‘s legacy will be very pleased with what they get here in terms of supplemental material. If it’s not enough for you that you get the DVD with the film, in either the Blu-ray Disc or DVD packaging options — there are a total of three other versions available with physical bonus materials such as plush toys, books and collective pins.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.