Diamond Edition Blu-Ray Review
The beautiful and kindhearted princess Snow White charms every creature in the kingdom except one-her jealous stepmother, the Queen. When the Magic Mirror proclaims Snow White the fairest one of all, she must flee into the forest, where she befriends the lovable seven dwarfs - Doc, Sneezy, Grumpy, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy and Dopey. But when the Queen tricks Snow White with an enchanted apple, only the magic of true love's kiss can save her!
Given that the movie is now over 70 years old we would be surprised if anyone reading this had not, at the very least, heard about the movie. It's a classic. It has, on multiple occasions, saved the Walt Disney company financially, and has a storyline that still manages to resonate today. The animation is simply superb across the board and it's mind blowing to think that the 100,000+ frames in the film were all individually painted and shot, one frame at a time. Even today with modern day computers that’s a monumental challenge, but in the late 1930's? Astounding.
What brings this movie to life are the characters. Snow White is so innocent, charming and pure, and the stepmother so evil, but it's the very likable dwarfs that steal the show. Music also plays a major part in making this movie so special with classic songs including "Whistle While You Work", "Heigh-Ho", and "Some Day My Prince Will Come". To this very day they are such beautifully crafted songs. Finally we have the gags, while not as "slapstick" as those in Disney's earlier short movies, they are perfectly timed and fit the tone of the movie perfectly.
A classic movie which holds up well today Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs remains a movie which anyone can, and will, still enjoy.
Now I've seen Snow White on DVD before, but never has the colour reproduction looked so brilliant - Snow White's lips glow red, forests are rich in detail, and even the slightly red tint on her cheeks glows. Of course there is some inconsistency in colours in some scenes, but this isn't a fault of the transfer, simply the slight differences between the painting on each frame. It just oozes quality.
When this film was released 70 years ago, there wasn't HD audio, not even surround sound and, well, not even Stereo audio either. When Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in cinemas it came with a mono soundtrack so it is with some excitement that we heard that Disney would be presenting this disc with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (24-bit/48Khz) soundtrack. over the top? Perhaps, but the audio has been remixed over the years and is certainly as clear as this movie has ever heard. Indeed the dialogue is crystal clear and the musical numbers have such a life and vibrancy to them.
In terms of other audio formats this Blu-Ray disc includes Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Greek, Arabic and Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps. Each of these tracks is pretty impressive from the brief samples we made, and offer a good experience overall. One bitter disappointment which we have, yet again, is that unlike the American release the Australian disc lacks the original Mono 1.0 soundtrack. As we've said before it would take up next to no space, so why not include it to remain authentic to the original experience. As for subtitles we have English, English for the Hearing Impaired (in sampling both of these tracks we didn't notice any major issues with good pacing and accuracy to the dialogue on-screen), Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Greek, Arabic and Russian.
Sneak Peak at The Princess and The Frog (7:45/HD): Here we have a sneak peek at the first 6 minutes of this latest hand drawn animated movie from Walt Disney Studios. I must say this movie looks fantastic and hopefully sees the rebirth of traditional hand-drawn animated movies.
Backstage Disney: Deleted Scene - Soup Eating Sequence (4:07/HD): An animated, but not coloured, deleted scene with another catchy song.
Backstage Disney: Deleted Scene - Bed Building Sequence (6:28/HD): This is a second deleted scene which is in part animated, and in part still storyboards. It gives you a good idea of what could have been.
Music Video: "Some Day My Prince Will Come" by Tiffany Thornton (3:34/HD): Another remake of a song in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which is better then some remixes we've seen on these DVD sets, but somewhat pointless other then promoting another Disney starlet.
Games (HD): Three Java based games are included on this disc. Mirror, Mirror On The Wall determines which Princess you are after answering a series of questions, What Do You See? has you trying to identify the images as quickly as possible, and Jewel Jumble which is a fun little Tetris styled clone.
Audio Commentary with Walt Disney and John Keenmaker: This surprisingly clear audio commentary, especially given the age of the materials, has been strung together with interviews with Walt Disney and includes plenty of details about the production of the movie. Walt Disney is an interesting character and he has plenty of interesting details.
Screen Saver: Yep, you can even turn on a Screen Saver function.
Hyperion Exterior (HD): This section includes Family Business (1:57), Where it all Began (11:48), and The One That Started It All (17:48) which is also available from the main Backstage Disney page (more on this featurette below).
Story Room (HD): Includes Stories from the Story Room (1:14), Five Bucks a Gag (17:48), In Walt's Words: The Huntsman (3:25) in which meeting notes are recreated showing Walt's detailed expectation of the scenes, Walt's Night Prowls (0:52), Gabby, Blabby, and Flabby (1:14) where the list of original Dwarfs names are listed, Babes in the Woods (8:04) is a very early Disney short movie based on Hansel and Gretel, Storyboard Art Gallery with 126 superbly presented images, and Abandoned Concepts Gallery includes 63 storyboards from unused scenes.
Music Room (HD): The Music Room section includes Music Room Hots (0:48) which offers a brief introduction, David Hand's Dirty Trick (1:18), The Music In Snow White (6:14) and finally the brilliant 1929 animated short The Skeleton Dance (6:02).
Art Department (HD): The Music Room section includes The Idea Man (1:41) which includes interviews with staff praising animator Albert Hurter's imagination, Creating the World of 'Snow White' (6:53), another animated short called Music Land (10:15), Visual Development Gallery with 153 images, Gustav Tenggren Art Gallery with 16 gorgeous images, and In Walt's Words: Cleaning the Cottage (7:03) which looks at details of the cleaning scene.
Character Design (HD): In this section we have a Character Design Gallery which only has 5 images, In Walt's Words: The Dwarfs (5:49), Colour Tests Gallery includes 12 images with different colours on the characters in the movie.
Background and Layout (HD): This area includes Setting the Stage (4:04) which is a fascinating look at the backgrounds, and camera pans required to make the movie, and a Layout Gallery with 115 images and a Backgrounds gallery with a further 25 images.
Animation Department (HD): Naturally there is a bit of content in this section given the importance to this film. The first featurette is Bringing Snow White to Life (11:33) which looks at the artists and work to bring Snow White to life, Blowing Off Steam (2:17) which has some great practical jokes detailed, The Animators' Favourite Animators (2:00) is a short clip where animators talk about their admiration for other animators on the team, an Animation Art Gallery which contains 39 images, Playful Pluto (8:09) is the 1934 animated short with Pluto and Mickey, and finally we have another classic Disney short called Goddess of Spring (10:04) which is another Silly Symphonies classic.
Sweatbox (HD): Sweatbox Host (0:53) provides and introduction to this section and from then on we have Sweating it Out (1:09), and Deleted Bedroom Fight Scene (2:26) which is an interesting scene cut from the film.
Ink and Paint (HD): The Challenges of Ink and Paint (1:41) looks at the female painters and inkers who worked for Walt Disney, a Painted Cells Gallery with 14 images, Life in the Nunnery (1:59) and finally Flowers and Trees (8:31) is the first Technicolour cartoon, and also the first animated film ever to win an Academy Award.
Camera Department (HD): Decoding the Exposure Sheet (6:47) is a fascinating look at how the shots are all layered and linked together to create a scene, Stories from the Camera Department (2:04), and another Silly Symphony short from 1937 called The Old Mill (9:06) which was the first film to use the multiplane camera. There is a slight menu error here where you can't go forward to "Sound Stage" so you will need to return to the main menu to access that, and subsequent, sections.
Sound Stage (HD): Walt's Early Masters of Sound (1:51) details the early sound recordings and effects, while the big highlight here is the classic 1928 short movie called Steamboat Willie (8:02). It's probably the most important animated short movie of all time, the first to feature synchronized sound, and is superbly presented on this disc.
Walt's Office (HD): This final section includes Working with Walt (1:48), Publicity Gallery with 34 images, and Production Photos Gallery with 21 images.
Backstage Disney: The One That Started It All (17:15/HD): Back on the main Backstage Disney page (this is the same featurette as on the Hyperion Exteriors page) is this featurette which gives a good overview of all the featuettes presented in the Hyperion Studios section. Quite a bit of material is repeated, but this gives a good, concise, look at this movie and how it fits into Walt Disney's studios.
Animation Voice Talent (6:21): This featurette looks at selecting the voice actors used in the movie.
Disney Through The Decades (42:34): This series of 16 featurettes, broken up by decades, looks at the history of the Walt Disney studio through the decades, and shows off the many times that Snow White was released. With some great historical footage this is a must-watch documentary.
Dopey's Wild Mine Ride: A pretty basic game with questions about the movie. Produced for DVD it's still worth at least one play through.
"Heigh Ho: Karaoke Sing-Along (2:44): Yep, the popular song from the movie is presented here in sing-along or karaoke (music but no lyrics) form.
DISC THREE: DIGITAL COPY Finally we have a third disc in this set which is a digital copy of the movie on DVD.
Review By: Dave Warner