(Clips from Disney animated movies play as "The Egg Travels" from Dinosaur plays in the background)
Doug (vo): So it's December, and I started thinking to myself, "What kind of videos could I do this month? Something wholesome, nice, and Christmas-related?" But then, the more I thought about it, I'm doing a lot of Christmas videos this month, as I do every month. And for whatever reason, I started thinking about the Disney films, the ones that we all grew up with. The more I was thinking about it, they're wholesome all the time. They don't wait one month a year to shine all the magic and goodness of humanity on us, they have to be whimsical all year round, and that can't be easy. So I decided, "Screw it. I'm just gonna review all the Disney films." That is to say, all the animated 2D Disney films, with some exceptions. (Posters of Enchanted and Tangled are shown) Why? Because I love Disney, and so do you. Oh, you may act like you don't like Disney, you may talk about how it's an evil corporate monster that only gets stronger and stronger the longer we live. (Laughs) But the funny thing is, you don't have a choice. You can bombard us with all the genius monstrous things that Disney has done in the past. You can argue debatable messages, you can argue debatable ethics, you can even argue debatable stereotypes. But it doesn't matter. Disney has always been there. For most of us, it's the first thing we're introduced to, and that's the genius of Disney, putting all their time and all their effort not in something adult, but in something for children. And once something has your childhood by the balls, it's never gonna leave you. It's there forever. Disney has practically become family to us. Its fairy tales, its magic, it's everything that we enjoyed and thought was possible when we were younger. And as we grow older, there's a lot of other things to enjoy: the artistry, the creativity, the imagination. There's literally no other word for it but Disney. It's an artistic cultural phenomenon that'll never, ever leave. Now, I'm just gonna state upfront that I'm directly ripping off Cinemassacre's Monster Madness (The logo of that show is shown), where James Rolfe reviews a new monster movie every day of October. I think it's a cool idea, and I wanted to do it with something I really enjoy: the hand-drawn animated Disney films. The only downside is, there's only so many days in December and there's just a friggin' buttload of these movies. So I'm probably gonna do about three a day, and once or twice, I may skip over one. But I'll do my best to comment on as many as possible. And keep in mind, this is just my own personal opinion. If you like or hate any of these films, there's nothing wrong with that. I'm just putting out there what I think are some of the most beloved classics of all time. So, sit back and enjoy the month of what I like to call...Disneycember.
(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Doug (vo): Let's start off with the very first animated film ever made: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We often associate the Disney formula with a princess in a big castle and some sort of far-off fairy tale. And even though not all the films are like that; in fact, probably not even the majority, that’s the one kids seem to like the most, and it started at the very beginning. Disney knew then that the more timeless you can make something, the longer it’ll be around. So, logically, it makes sense to start off with a fairy tale. And as the first film goes, it’s pretty damn impressive. I mean, okay, it’s not entirely timeless. I mean, the designs are kind of 40s, some of the characters aren't as developed as children’s films are today, and Snow White’s singing voice is...
Snow White: [singing] To find me today.
Doug (vo): ...very Betty Boop-ish. To describe the story is almost silly. We all know it.
Doug (vo): An evil queen wants to be the quote/unquote “fairest of them all,” but finds out that there’s only one young woman in her way: the princess Snow White. So she sends a hunter out to kill her, but the hunter is just so blown away by how hot she is, he can’t do it. So he tells her to run away, and she comes across a cottage filled with seven dwarfs, which, for me, as a kid, always raised a lot of questions. Are the Dwarfs related? Are they brothers? Did they all just meet at random? If so, is there a place where dwarfs just usually meet? Well, I’m over-analyzing. The Queen finds out that Snow White is still alive and puts on a disguise to try and kill her. Kind of strange that she wouldn't just send a henchman or somebody else to do it. I mean, does she only have just the one? But again, over-analyzing.
Doug (vo): The film’s about as basic children’s movie as you can get. It’s very bright, it’s very colorful, but it doesn't try to insult the audience’s intelligence either. As Disney Princesses go, Snow White is probably one of the weaker ones, as she is sort of just bland and generally nice. But, on the upside, she is generally nice. There’s nothing really wrong with her. She’s just not particularly interesting. To be fair, though, she’s a lot more engaging than the Prince, who only gets about three lines and most of them are just sung. The Dwarfs, of course, is what everybody remembers; the different personalities, the different ways they’re drawn, the fact that their emotional status also happens to be their names. That’s what the kids enjoy. Adults can enjoy the artistry a little bit more. Not just the bright colors and pretty background, but also some of the scary images they have. While the story itself is not especially dark, it was pretty ballsy to throw in some of this really creepy imagery. The Queen as the villain, when you really analyze it, is a pretty boring villain. She doesn't say much, she doesn't do much, just a really vain woman that’s nothing really that fascinating in a kids’ film. But what keeps her pretty enjoyable again is the animation. She’s just drawn great. I mean, she has this permanent frown on her face. I’m trying to think if I ever saw her smile in the film. And, of course, the design of her after the transformation is just awesome. It used to scare the crap out of me when I was a kid. But, in general, does Snow White hold up as a film even if you emotionally disconnect it from the fact that you saw it when you were a child? Well, the key word there is emotion. Much like The Wizard of Oz or even Where the Wild Things Are, this is a film that is entirely fueled on emotion. Logic plays very little part in it. And to be honest, I find films like that very fascinating. They don’t give you what you logically or ethically want to see, they give you what your emotions want to see. Like, the Prince comes, kisses her, and they ride off into the castle. Well, okay, how did he find her? Where did he come from? Did they ever have a conversation in the movie? Does it make sense that they would ride off together? Of course not. But that’s not what your emotions want to see. They want to see the happiest of endings after the saddest and darkest of moments.
[The scene of the Dwarfs mourning Snow White is shown]
Doug (vo): Oh, yeah, don’t think this scene didn't fuck me up. You can keep Bambi’s mom, you can keep Simba’s dad. This is the scene that rips me to shreds. Why? Because it’s like a wake, literally down to the organ music. How much more depressing can you get? The Dwarfs aren't just crying. They are sobbing, bawling over the fact that they've lost the only woman that’s ever come into their lives. So, of course, as a young boy, I’m sitting there thinking, “I’m tough. It’s just a cartoon. It ain't gonna leave an impact on me. [Grumpy is shown crying as well] Oh, no. Not Grumpy. Not Grumpy. No, he was the tough one! Not Grumpy! Not Grumpy! Oh, there’s no hope for humanity! Just slit your throat right now! There’s no purpose in living!”
[The scenes shown after that sad scene are shown]
Doug (vo): But that’s just how the film works. It did well to help kids emotionally connect with things that we weren't often used to connecting with. And sure, she comes back to life, they live happily ever after, but we didn't know that. Even if we did, this is still a pretty sad thing to go through. For a little kid, this is pretty heavy.
Doug (vo): So, apart from it just being groundbreaking as the first animated film, I think, actually, it does hold up for little kids, and even with adults. Is it complex? No. Is it engaging? No. But its emotional simplicity does manage to tap into the audience, to a point where we’re not even questioning the obvious logical problems that are just staring us in the face. Creating a world for us where happily ever after is okay to believe.
[The film's final scene is shown as the review ends]