“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” released in 1937, stands as a pivotal milestone in the annals of animation and cinema. As the inaugural full-length animated feature film, it catalyzed an industry-wide transformation and laid the groundwork for the animated classics that would ensue. Beyond its technical achievements, the film bore cultural significance that reverberated throughout history. Its triumph not only rescued Walt Disney Studios from impending financial woes but also solidified Disney’s dominance in the entertainment domain.
An enduring facet of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is its indelible influence on storytelling and character development. The film introduced an ageless and beloved fairy tale, setting a lofty standard for animated narrative. It birthed iconic characters, such as Snow White and the seven dwarfs, who morphed into cultural symbols.
Nonetheless, Disney faced criticism for the changes made to its original rendition, primarily due to the forthcoming 2024 live-action adaptation. A wave of backlash erupted when Rachel Zegler was cast as Snow White, and further discontent arose with Disney’s decision to transform the seven dwarfs into a diverse array of magical beings encompassing various sizes and genders.
Rachel Zegler added fuel to the controversy by hinting at a novel perspective for the iconic character. She emphasized that the new film would deviate from the traditional focus on true love, steering Snow White toward her journey to become a fearless, just, courageous, and authentic leader. She argued that the original film appeared outdated in its portrayal of women’s roles and criticized the prominence of her love story with a character displaying stalker-like behavior.
Zegler remarked, “I just mean that it’s no longer 1937. We absolutely wrote a ‘Snow White’ that… she’s not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love; she’s going to be dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be and that her late father told her that she could be if she were fearless, fair, brave, and true.”
Now, amid this backlash, an alternative Snow White film is in the making, eliciting controversy from a different perspective. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the conservative media company, The Daily Wire is embarking on the production of a live-action Snow White film in response to right-wing critiques of Disney’s forthcoming adaptation. Titled “Snow White and the Evil Queen,” this film stars YouTuber Brett Cooper as the princess and is based on the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale, which now resides in the public domain.
Jeremy Boreing, co-founder of The Daily Wire, described it as “a story about a princess and a prince, about beauty and vanity, about love and its power to raise us from death to life. It’s our own adaptation of an ancient fairy tale.” This announcement coincided with the launch of Bentkey, The Daily Wire’s new kids’ entertainment brand, seeking to compete with Disney+ at a time when some conservatives have grown dissatisfied with the legacy studio.
Brett Cooper, host of the Daily Wire-produced show “The Comments Section With Brett Cooper,” expressed her enthusiasm for the project, stating, “I was raised on the original Grimms’ Fairy Tales, so I’m thrilled that we’re bringing this iconic story to life for the next generation! Snow White is such a beautiful character, and I’m honored to be playing her. Like all the best fairy tales, this is a story with timeless values, like love, friendship, and kindness, and I can’t wait to share them.”
David Hand, a former Disney designer from the 1990s and the son of one of the original film’s directors, voiced his disagreement with the new approach, deeming it a “disgrace.” He criticized Disney’s radical alteration of the story and character perspectives, viewing it as an affront to the classic films. Hand concluded by speculating that Walt Disney and his father would disapprove of these changes, asserting that they would be “turning in their graves” at the perceived lack of respect for their work.