Monday October 19, 2009 1:26 pm
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Diamond Edition Blu-ray review
Not many people realize this, but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is Disney‘s very first full-length animated motion picture. Some would say it is the most prized possession inside the Disney Vault, since one could argue that this movie not only pushed the still-young Disney studio well on its way to being the global powerhouse that it is today, but it also expanded and legitimized the art of animation. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first movie to be released as part of the Disney Platinum Series, which has been around for a while now. However, when it came time to get the Blu-ray treatment, Sleeping Beauty and Pinocchio were both released before Snow White, as Disney wanted to get this one just right. The result? The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Diamond Edition Blu-ray set.
Is it worthy of the title? Journey with us as we dig deep into the Snow White Diamond Edition and find out.
Okay, we aren’t going to do a full review of a movie that was released 72 years ago, as that would be silly. It’s a classic in every sense of the word. The movie runs 84 minutes, had great storytelling elements, and artwork that totally enriches the experience and gets the point across. In order to compete with true live-action cinema, Walt Disney relied on upgraded animation techniques, some of which had never been employed, such as the multi-plane camera, which is what’s used to give the backgrounds in the movie such depth. When it comes to animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs changed the way animation would be looked at forever, and to this day, it stands as one of the best examples of the art.
Disney continues the trend of allowing you to watch their older movies in the original 4:3 aspect ratio, or in the “Disney View” format, which bookends the 4:3 frame with artwork that almost blends into the background. It’s a cool feature, it fills your 16:9 HDTV display, and it just less disconcerting in our opinion. Think of them as a theatrical proscenium that changes on the fly, scene-by-scene. It’s a small touch, but we’re glad to have the option to get rid of the black bars on the side of the screen.
As for the movie itself, you can tell that the studio definitely put in a bunch of time restoring Snow White. You get a great contrast between some of the purposefully dull colors in the background, and rich color in the foreground. I’m talking about things like Snow White’s red lips, and the faces of the dwarfs, just as an example. When you take into account that this movie was released in 1937, you gain a new appreciation for the clarity and color profiles. You haven’t seen Snow White until you’ve seen it in its restored, high definition version.
We kind of scratched our head when we saw that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs boasts a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Heck, the movie was originally recorded in mono. It’s interesting, though. The voices definitely seem to stay where they would have on a mono track, but when you hear the music, you begin to appreciate the 7.1 treatment. Things you may have missed previously are just more present, like the elves hitting their instruments against the rocks, or the splashing of water or crackling of fire. You also lose the hiss and pops. The audio restoration isn’t as noticeable as the video restoration, but it is definitely appreciated.
SPECIAL FEATURES AND EXTRAS
I love how Disney always takes care of us when it comes to their Blu-ray releases, seemingly always including either a Digital Copy that can be transferred to a computer (and thusly, to a portable device, like an iPod,) or including a straight up DVD in the set with the Blu-ray disc. They continue that tradition here, giving you a Blu-ray disc of the movie, a second Blu-ray with special features, and a DVD copy of Snow White as well. Great for places where you have a DVD player rather than a Blu-ray player, like in the car for example. Good stuff.
Here’s a look at the special features you get in the package, which itself is available either in a standard Blu-ray case, or a more traditional DVD-sized case:
Blu-ray Disc One:
- The Princess and the Frog Sneak Peek
- Backstage Disney: Diamond Edition: Snow White Returns, Deleted Scenes
- Music & More: “Some Day My Prince Will Come” - Music Video with Tiffany Thornton
- Family Play: Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, What Do You See?, Jewel Jumble, Scene Stealer
- Audio Commentary
Blu-ray Disc Two:
- Backstage Disney: Hyperion Studios, The One That Started It All
- Classic DVD Bonus Features: Animation Voice Talent, Disney Through the Decades, Dopey’s Wild Mine Ride, “Heigh-Ho” Karaoke Sing-Along
- Audio Commentary by John Canemaker
- All-New Music Video - Performed by Sonny with a Chance’s Tiffany Thornton
- Exclusive Sneak Peek at Walt Disney Pictures’ The Princess and the Frog
The Snow White Returns feature is an interesting look at what would have been a sequel to Snow White, where producer Don Hahn explains that while the DVD producers were doing their research for the Blu-ray Diamond Edition, they found sketches of of a couple of scenes that were deleted from the film. He goes through a few storyboards, and gives an idea of what could have been. There are two deleted scenes as well that feature the Dwarfs eating soup, and making a bed for Snow White.
The Family Play stuff is basically the fluff puzzle games that Disney likes to throw on their movies, for whatever reason. You get three of them here.
We thought it was an interesting move for Disney to replace the music video found on the DVD Platinum Edition, which features Barbara Streisand singing “Some Day My Prince Will Come” with a video of Tiffany Thornton singing it instead. Gotta get with the times, I guess!
There’s also a sneak peek from The Princess and the Frog, where the directors of the film talk about the inspiration for the movie and the soundtrack. You even get to watch the first few minutes of the movie, although some of it is unfinished art. The movie is about a young girl who grows up in New Orleans and first hears the story of “The Princess and the Frog” and dreams of opening a restaurant, much like her father.
You get a director’s commentary for Snow White, which is almost a must-listen, since it is made up of old interviews with Walt Disney. If you are a fan of animation, or Disney in general, it’s a great look inside the mind of Disney and his experiences on working on the film.
Let’s be clear up front, if you have the Platinum Edition of Snow White on DVD, then you have the same content as far as the actual movie goes. That said, the DVD version doesn’t even touch the Blu-ray edition in terms of the quality of the presentation seen in the Diamond Edition, both from a high definition standpoint, and the beautiful Disney View feature. Even better, some of the special features found in this set are ones that you simply won’t find anywhere else. If you are a Blu-ray or HDTV enthusiast, a fan of Disney (or classics in general,) add this one to your collection. This is the way Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was meant to be seen and heard.
You can pick up the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Diamond Edition on Amazon.
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