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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    95
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Snow White's 4K release enchants with timeless charm and superior quality.

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    96
  • Disney's Snow White restoration wows with impeccable 4K visuals, retaining the film's classic charm and detail, enhancing its timeless beauty without losing authenticity.

  • Audio
    90
  • Revised to a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track, the release maintains clear dialogue and fidelity without the original mono, despite some preference for it and minor recording artifacts, offering a balanced and era-appropriate audio experience.

  • Extra
    92
  • Snow White's Blu-ray set is rich in extras, exploring its history, design, and making, with key features from past releases and a detailed commentary, minus new 4K disc content.

  • Movie
    96
  • Snow White's timeless tale enchants, from its 1937 debut to its 4K release, showcasing Disney's pioneering animation and storytelling, beloved by generations.

    Video: 96

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" courtesy of Disney / Buena Vista is a triumph in home media video quality, boasting an HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p transfer in the classic 1.37:1 aspect ratio. This release encapsulates an incredible effort in restoration, preserving the original film’s grain structure and detail with commendable fidelity. Unlike prior releases that sometimes leaned towards digital smoothing, this version stands out by allowing the film's authentic texture and hand-drawn imperfections to shine through. Disney's commitment to maintaining the integrity of their animation work is evident, offering a viewing experience that is as close to the original artistic intent as possible.

    The HDR10 encoding enhances the visual feast without overstepping, providing subtle but impactful improvements to contrast and color depth. The film's palette comes alive in this transfer, with rich, well-saturated colors that respect the source material's vibrancy. Vivid reds, in particular, are strikingly rendered, making iconic elements like Snow White’s dress and the infamous apple even more mesmerizing. Meanwhile, black levels are deep and consistent, adding dimension and clarity without any trace of crushing. The result is a presentation that not only respects but elevates the original artwork, showcasing the depth and detail between background plates and cel elements with remarkable clarity.

    Viewers might notice minor focus issues and some age-related imperfections inherent to the original animation, yet these moments are few and could even add to the charm for aficionados appreciating the authenticity and historic value of the film. The restoration work manages to preserve these aspects without letting them detract from the overall viewing experience. This release does not shy away from showing fine lines, textures, and even the subtle nuances of handcrafted animation, ensuring "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is celebrated in a format that honors its groundbreaking legacy while embracing modern technological standards.

    Audio: 90

    The audio presentation of the 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" offers listeners an updated DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, moving away from the 7.1 channel track found in the 2016 release. This change, although surprising for some, does not detract from the overall experience, as the dialogue, music, and environmental sounds are presented with clarity and fidelity appropriate to the film's original era. The absence of a 1.0 Mono track, a staple in earlier releases, may disappoint purists who seek the most authentic experience. Despite this, the 5.1 mix manages to maintain a front-loaded balance that honors the source material without introducing any low-frequency enhancements, which are not missed due to the recording's age.

    However, some unavoidable characteristics of older recording technologies are present, such as a slight boxiness and tinny quality to the sound. This is a minor concern as it does not significantly impact the listening experience, which remains immersive thanks to well-prioritized vocals, crisp music cues, and effective ambient sound design that includes woodland critters and more subtle environmental sounds. The mix smartly distributes most audio elements across the front channels, providing a sense of spatial awareness while respecting the film's original mono origins.

    Despite the solid execution of the 5.1 track and its respectful treatment of the film's audio heritage, there is a noted absence of the original mono mix option, a choice that leaves some wanting for the complete historical auditory experience. This decision mirrors broader sentiments regarding Disney's handling of classic audio tracks on modern formats. Subtitle options and the inclusion of various language tracks suggest a consideration for accessibility and international audiences, yet the failure to include an original mono option seems like a missed opportunity to fully cater to enthusiasts and purists alike.

    Extra: 92

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" comprises a comprehensive collection of extras cataloged primarily on its accompanying 1080p disc, mirroring the content from the Signature Edition. Despite the absence of new materials for its 85th anniversary, this release offers a significant ensemble of archival and behind-the-scenes features. From detailed story meetings to cut scenes, a tour of Hyperion Studios, and insights into the animation voice talent, these extras deepen the appreciation of Disney's pioneering work. Notably, the inclusion of an audio commentary featuring Roy E. Disney, with supplemental archival clips of Walt Disney, enriches the viewing experience. Additionally, thematic explorations like "In Walt's Words" and "Iconography" delve into the creative intricacies that shaped this iconic film. While the absence of enhancements on the UHD disc itself may disappoint some, the comprehensive scope of bonus content available on the Blu-ray disc compensates, offering fans and newcomers alike a thorough exploration of the film's historic and artistic significance.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: By Roy E. Disney, historian John Canemaker, and recordings by Walt Disney.
    • Hyperion Studios Tour: A detailed exploration of the studio where "Snow White" was created.
    • In Walt's Words: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Archival interviews with Walt Disney.
    • Iconography: Explores the art inspired by "Snow White."
    • Disney Animation: Designing Disney's First Princess: Insights into the character design process.
    • The Fairest Facts of Them All: Discoveries about the film's making.
    • Snow White in Seventy Seconds: A rapid retelling of the classic story.
    • Alternate Sequence: The Prince meets Snow White in this unused scene.
    • Disney's First Feature: An in-depth look at the making of "Snow White."
    • Bringing Snow White to Life: An exploration of the animation process.
    • Decoding the Exposure Sheet: Insights into the technical aspects of animation.
    • Snow White Returns: Examination of a sequel that never was.
    • Story Meetings: The Dwarfs & The Huntsman: Discussions that shaped the film.
    • Deleted Scenes: "Soup Eating Sequence" and "Bed Building Sequence."
    • Animation Voice Talent: A spotlight on the actors behind the beloved characters.

    Movie: 96

    The release of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" on 4K UHD Blu-ray presents a fascinating paradox for home theater enthusiasts. While Disney has been criticized for frequently recycling its content, the studio's decision to upgrade its most legendary animated feature to 4K is a welcomed development. This follows on from previous editions, including the Signature Edition Blu-ray reviewed in 2016, offering a refinement rather than reinvention of the classic film’s home viewing experience. The new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray mines from Disney's vaults to commemorate the film's 85th Anniversary, providing a crisper image that pays homage to its original craftsmanship. Though not released in a milestone year, its upgrade comes as a nostalgic celebration, encapsulating the timeless quality of Disney's inaugural animated feature.

    "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" retains its enchanting appeal nearly 90 years after its original release. The animation's fluidity and the story’s charming simplicity continue to captivate audiences, showcasing Disney's pioneering spirit in filmmaking. However, viewing through a contemporary lens, Snow White's character might seem like an antiquated gender stereotype, her actions driven by homemaking instincts even in dire circumstances. Yet, it's the dwarfs who truly lead the narrative, providing comedic relief and demonstrating the animation’s freedom to entertain. This blend of minimalistic storytelling with visual spectacle underscores Walt Disney's commitment to artistry over narrative complexity, setting a precedent for animated features that persists to this day.

    Moreover, the film's significance extends beyond its narrative and aesthetic achievements; it heralded a new era for animated feature films and established a blueprint that Disney continues to follow. With advancements in animation technology, the 4K UHD Blu-ray enhances the visual experience, maintaining the film’s original charm while presenting it in unparalleled clarity. This release not only celebrates the technological marvels of early animation but also underscores the enduring legacy of Walt Disney’s vision, captivating new generations while staying true to its roots.

    Total: 95

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," a cornerstone in the annals of Disney's animated legacy, marks an unprecedented achievement with its release on the 4K Ultra HD platform. The film, revered for pioneering the full-length animated feature genre over 80 years ago, transcends its age, presenting a visual feast that breathes new life into the classic tale. This Ultra HD Blu-ray/Blu-ray/Digital distribution by Disney Home Media Distribution not only features an exemplary video transfer but also boasts high-fidelity, lossless sound, ensuring that its enchanting story and rich, gentle humor are conveyed with unprecedented clarity and depth. Despite its vintage, "Snow White" retains a charming timelessness, enhanced by a meticulous 2160p upgrade coupled with an attractive HDR grade that accentuates the film's vibrant palette and intricate animations.

    Audio-wise, the inclusion of a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track provides a sonorous depth that respects the original's auditory essence, albeit leaving enthusiasts yearning for the authentic mono mixes. Additionally, the collection of bonus features is commendable, offering aficionados a treasure trove of insights into the film's storied production. Such meticulous attention to preserving and presenting "Snow White" in this format demonstrates Disney's commitment to honoring its heritage while embracing modern technological advancements.

    In conclusion, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is an essential acquisition for both collectors and cinephiles alike. Its leap to 4K is not merely a technical upgrade but a rejuvenation of a cinematic marvel, ensuring that its legacy continues to captivate and enchant audiences of all ages. With its pristine video quality, respectful audio treatment, and rich selection of supplements, this release sets a benchmark for how classic films should transition into the future of home entertainment.