With so many different entertainment options out there for your children, we at PopcornBiz thought we'd take a moment each week to dissect one piece of family entertainment strictly from a parent's perspective, so that you know what parts are appropriate for your loved ones, and which are not. This week's COVER YOUR EYES subject: "Snow White".
By now, you know that 50 different remakes of "Snow White" are coming to your local multiplex soon, including this one starring Julia Roberts as the Wicked Queen, and man does she not look wicked in that photo. So, with all those new versions in mind, let's pause for a moment to take a look back at the original "Snow White," the very first animated feature film in history, to see if it's appropriate for your little huntsmen.
The "Will Parents Be Able To Tolerate It?" Factor: "Snow White" was made in 1937, which blows my skull. At first glance, you're probably going to wince at how dated the film looks, especially if you don't like musicals. But that cynicism evaporates as you venture deeper into the movie. This is still a gorgeous movie to look at, and anyone who appreciates good movies will marvel at the fact that they're watching what amounts to a moving watercolor painting. It's a colossal achievement that grows more impressive with each passing year. And, unlike today's animated features, there are no sassy talking animals, no Black Eyed Peas songs, and no suffocating pop culture references. It's the most sincere film ever made, and a good parent will appreciate that.
The Dead Parent Factor: Snow White's father is out of the picture at the beginning of this movie, but you aren't told why. All you know is that Snow White is there and that the Wicked Queen is wicked. So the whole Disney-patented "dead parent" element isn't as pronounced. However, there is the matter of the Wicked Queen hiring a hit-huntsman to carve out Snow White's heart, Snow White nearly getting stabbed to death by said hit-huntsman, and the Wicked Queen turning herself into a witch (terrifying) and putting the sleeping death spell on Snow White. Trust me: When you're five years old, the idea of a "Sleeping death" is one you chew on.
The Sexism Factor: There's no getting around it: Snow White is a moron. She falls for the poisoned apple trick. She trusts cackly old witches. And she's more than happy to exist within 1930's gender standards: whistling while she cleans and cooking for her new dwarf landlords. And she requires a prince to come and rescue her from her coma. She's a lousy role model. But she sure does look purty.
The Sexy Sex Sex Factor: Only some gentle courting from Prince Charming. Otherwise, it's a very chaste film.
The Scare Factor: Again, you've got a foiled stabbing. But you also have to deal with ghostly mirrors, a haunted forest, and the Wicked Queen falling off a cliff. "Snow White" is a movie that introduces a lot of big, dark ideas to kids: death, jealousy, vengeance, deception, etc. As always, it's healthy for them to learn about these things and ponder them. But you don't want little Daisy up at night wondering if the Huntsman is gonna cut her heart out. That ain't fun.
Age Range: Four and up. There are few better ways to introduce your kids to big topics than with an all-time classic.