Revisiting Snow White and Pokemon

The new DVD version of Snow White and the seven dwarfs, as well as new Pokemon DVDs, don't do much for the image of women - or mothers - but still have their attractions.

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" - a Walt Disney animated feature on DVD, distributed by Forum Films Ltd., NIS 130 (NIS 90 on videocassette)

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," Walt Disney's first animated full-feature film, is a vivid childhood memory for many parents (and grandparents too). It is very interesting to watch the new DVD version, which has upgraded the technical quality of the film, but has left the original story untouched. The film, which captured an Oscar in 1937, determined the formula for animation for the entire family that has been preserved to this very day and includes all genres - comedy, horror, drama, tragedy, suspense and romance.

Walt Disney's first full-feature animation is, nevertheless, different from the Disney films that are now released each year, accompanied by massive marketing assaults. First and foremost, it is less modular. The film has excellent comic moments that are provided by the dwarfs, to the sounds of classical music. It is filled with non-verbal and rather naive humor; and even its graphic line is different from the norm today.

The heroine has a far more intelligent countenance than the standard Disney heroes of the 1990s, as well as a much more feminine figure. Today, Disney, like many other animators, blows up its male characters to huge dimensions (Hercules, for example), while shrinking its female characters to tiny, almost invisible, sizes (Meg, Hercules' girlfriend, for example). Snow White of the 1930s, on the other hand, looks like a regular girl and shows no signs of suffering from any eating disorder.

This does not mean that the original Disney does right by women - not in the least. "Snow White," the Grimm brothers' fairy-tale - which concerns female envy and, primarily, the existential struggle of mothers at the expense of their daughters - receives a stark and horrifying interpretation in the film.

When the queen learns that Snow White is more beautiful than she, the hunter is ordered to bring back the heart of her stepdaughter in a box - evidence of the fact that he has murdered and butchered the child. The issue of the competition for beauty, and its value in the struggle for masculine attention, is intensified when the queen dresses as an ugly old woman (who is clearly not in the race) so as to win over the trust of Snow White.

But in the eyes of the modern, the queen is not the only negative character. Snow White is also a pain in the neck. She flees into the forest and there she finds a house, all dirty and messy. Being a woman (tidy, clean, a good housewife, nosy and intrusive), Snow White steps in and changes things around. No wonder Grumpy is grumpy. She is the girlfriend from hell, the nightmare of every man who moves in with his love, who immediately threatens to conquer and banish every item of furniture in the living room.

The film is problematic, there's no doubt about that, but it is also innocent, pleasant and rather charming. A subversive viewing will do it good. The DVD is nice and rich. It includes a game, "Dopey's Experience," which is played with the remote control of the DVD, as well as the song, "One Day my Prince will Come," performed loftily and majestically by Barbra Streisand, a behind-the-scenes movie and more. The mirror is a little slow on the uptake and feels the need to say all its lines to the very end, with the viewers dying already to go on to the next phase, but we won't change it.

"Pokemon 3, The Movie" - "Spell of the Unown," DVD, full feature and short film, "Pikachu and Pichu," distributed by Globus United, NIS 110

Recently released on DVD, "Pokemon 3" is another film that does not do much for the image of women in general, and mothers in particular. Ash's mother is kidnapped by the evil Entei, the strongest Pokemon. Ash, the Pokemon master and hero of the series, embarks on a rescue mission.

Ash's mother joins another parent who disappears in the film - Molly's father, a renowned Pokemon researcher from Greenfield. His disappearance suspends Greenfield in time and crystallizes the town. Molly, is also kidnapped, with the Pokemon hero of the film reading her thoughts and carrying them out against her will.

Unlike "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," this film draws a clear-cut line between its child and adult viewers. Children of very diverse ages love it, while to parents, it appears and sounds terrifying, infuriating and rather repulsive. In DVD format, it does not offer too many attractions. It comes with a short "bonus" movie, which was also on at cinemas, and includes a video clip of the song, "Knowing the Unown," and a not-very-interesting interview with director Michael Haigney and producer Norman J. Grossfeld.