Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the Walt Disney Signature Collection release of this classic story of love and friendship as the kind and beautiful princess Snow White wins the hearts of the Seven Dwarfs and triumphs over the evil plans of a wicked Queen.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

85

Details:

Studio and Year: Disney – 1937
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 84 minutes
Genre: Animated/Family/Fantasy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.37:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): > English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Directed by: David Hand
Music by: Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline, Paul J. smith
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 2, 2016

“Heigh Ho Heigh Ho, It’s Off To Blu We Go!”

My Take:

This brand new Blu-ray edition of the classic animated film kicks off The Walt Disney Signature Collection embodying Disney’s legacy of endearing family entertainment. This new release includes the same audio/video encodings as the 2009 version while adding a host of new supplements and it’s first release on Digital HD. Below you will find the comments/ratings from my original review plus the new bonus content and an updated rating.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs truly is a classic and not just because it is a wonderful animated film. It is the Disney film that started it all and launched a movie making enterprise that changed the face of cinema in a way that I am sure not even Walt Disney could have imagined. Walt Disney was a visionary and pioneer whose gamble on this film paved the way for every animated film that has come since and brought us some of the most beloved characters (both animated and living) in cinema. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has become a part of our entertainment culture and has been replicated in various forms, performed in school pageants/plays and clearly defines the essence of good and evil even at the most elementary level.

Regardless of who you ask I guarantee that everyone can name at least four of the seven dwarfs and I bet you won’t find anyone who hasn’t seen or at a minimum heard of the film/story. When I was young there was no home video and in order to see films like this you had to go to the theater. I recall the frightening sound of the queen’s evil laugh as she transformed into the old hag. We sat in the theater and pleaded out loud with Snow White not to take the poison apple from her. I loved the seven dwarfs and the way that they watched over Snow White. My favorite has always been Happy. As a child he reminded me of Santa Claus with his jolly demeanor and big belly that shook when he laughed. I’m sure that everyone has their own favorite or two among the seven little guys. Who can forget the catchy “Heigh ho, Heigh ho, it’s off to work we go” followed by the cheerful group whistle that repeated its tune.

This film has easily stood the test of time and like many of Disney’s films has touched generations of viewers over the 78 years since its release. My kids watched it on VHS when they were little. My daughter was quite a fan and loved both Grumpy and Happy. I am sure that my children like me, will share the experience of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with their children when the time comes. Disney is a class act with an impeccable track record for wonderful family oriented films.

This two disc Walt Disney Signature Collection release includes brand new bonus material including “In Walt’s Words: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Iconography,” “@DisneyAnimation: Designing Disney’s First Princess,” “The Fairest Facts of Them All: 7 Facts You May Not Know About Snow White,” “Snow White in Seventy Seconds,” “Alternate Sequence: The Prince Meets Snow White” and Much More!

Parental Guide:

This film is appropriate for all ages.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 78
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.

*Note: These are the same video/audio encodings from the 2009 release. Here are my original comments.

This film has undergone a restorative process that cleaned up the original print and the results are impressive. Colors shine brilliantly with pleasing saturation and striking blues that look absolutely beautiful. The 1.37:1 framed video is pillarboxed in black however Disney offers the option of viewing it via their DisneyView option where the pillarboxes feature custom artwork by Toby Bluth. The original film elements don’t have the highly polished resolution of today’s digitally enhanced animated films but fidelity remains intact as image quality is simply beautiful. Blacks don’t have an infinite sense of depth but they are solid black and stand out well when onscreen with mixed content. Looking at the queen’s robes or the sequence where Snow White runs through the woods the dark portions of the image are a deep shade of black. I noticed the same thing later after the queen transforms into the hag and is wearing the dark tattered cloak. Against her white skin it looked deep black. Dark scenes had excellent contrast with visible stages in grays and dark colors within backgrounds. Whites sparkled and appeared crisp, bright and punchy. I don’t think that we as fans could ask for this film to look any better than this. Bravo Disney!

Disney provides a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 channel surround mix which doesn’t go overboard and retains much of the feel of the original soundtrack. The main focus is in the front with superb music score spread over the entire soundstage. The four surround channels are mixed a bit lower than the mains so that frontal perspective remained intact while providing a discernible amount of spatiality that added dimension. There were one or two moments that engaged the subwoofer (like the thunder clap during the rain storm) and provided tactile low frequency energy but nothing that I would define as room shaking. That is not a complaint as its application didn’t feel out of place or excessive. I think that the mix was appropriate in that it didn’t feel disingenuous to the original soundtrack but simply added a bit of polish. The audio was crystal clear and free of the edginess that sometimes accompanies older recordings. I didn’t feel it sounded compressed or dynamically inferior which says something for the restoration process. Obviously this isn’t a new recording but considering it was made well over 70 years ago it sounded very good indeed.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary
  • (HD) 2 Deleted Scenes
  • (HD) In Walt’s Words: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1956 interview) – 4 minutes
  • (HD) Iconography – 7 minute feature
  • (HD) Disney Animation: Designing Disney’s First Princess – 5 minutes
  • (HD) The Fairest of Them All: 7 things you might not know about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • (HD) Snow White in Seventy Seconds
  • (HD) Alternate Sequence: The Prince Meets Snow White
  • (HD) Disney’s First Feature: The Making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – 33 minutes
  • (HD) Bringing Snow White to Life – 11 minute featurette
  • (HD) Hyperion Studios Tour
  • (HD) Decoding the Exposure Sheet – 6 minute featurette
  • (HD) Snow White Returns – 8 minute featurette
  • (HD) Story Meetings: The Dwarfs
  • (HD) Story Meetings: The Huntsman
  • Animation Voice Talent
  • Bonus DVD
  • Digital HD Copy
  • Digital Movies Anywhere – Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) is an engaging and family-friendly cloud-based digital movie service that makes it simple to buy your favorite Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies once and watch them anywhere. With DMA you can explore Disney’s library of over 400 eligible digital movies, discover hours of new and exclusive short-form content, and watch your digital movies from the comfort of the living room or across multiple mobile devices. In addition, you can redeem Digital Copy codes found in Disney, Pixar and Marvel Blu-rays and DVDs, as well as earn Disney Movie Rewards points with every digital purchase. Sign up and access Disney Movies Anywhere for free on DisneyMoviesAnywhere.com and through the Disney Movies Anywhere iOS and Android apps. Users can then simply connect their iTunes, Google Play and/or VUDU at VUDU.com/DMA accounts to begin enjoying their Disney, Pixar, and Marvel digital movie collections across platforms and devices.

Here are a few fun tidbits that are worth checking out:

Final Thoughts:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is one of the most beloved of the Disney Classic animated feature films. It holds a special place of prominence not only in the Disney universe but within filmmaking in general. It is a favorite of mine and seeing it brings back fond memories not just of my childhood but of sharing it with my own children. This brand new Blu-ray edition kicks off The Walt Disney Signature Collection embodying Disney’s legacy of endearing family entertainment while adding a host of new supplements and it’s first release on Digital HD. Casual fans may not feel the need to upgrade from the 2009 Diamond Edition however diehards will want to pick this up for the host of new supplements that accompany this offering. As for me, I will be adding it to my video library, right alongside its predecessor.

Ralph Potts
online-shashki Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS PC12-NSD
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package