2.04.2010

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs / Diamond Edition : 5 of 5

I thought it was kind of appropriate that my first Blu-ray experience was the first feature-length animated movie, and even though you might think a 1937 hand-drawn film wouldn't be the best way to enjoy my new Blu-ray player, Disney really did an incredible job with this new Diamond Edition release! The film itself looks practically brand new, and when you combine the Blu-ray clarity with the smoothness and quality of animation it seems impossible that this movie is over 70 years old! I was pretty impressed with Disney View, which uses tasteful paintings to fill in the sides of a 16:9 screen (since movies were good ol' 4:3 in the 1930s), and I loved how they change to fit the scene. Of course, the bonus materials on this release are absolutely bursting at the seams thanks to Blu-ray storage capacity, most of which are contained in the fascinating Hyperion Studio feature, which allows you to wander around the original Disney studio. Each room contains several short segments that provide a wonderful education about the making of Snow White as well as the process of animation in general, combined with classic Disney shorts to illustrate key points. I loved the vocal recreations of story meetings, the funny anecdotes about working for Walt, and of course seeing interviews with all of my animation heroes, both old and new. From Don Hahn's excellent explanation of the exposure sheet, I learned how the shadow effects in Snow White were produced with complicated double exposures, and I also discovered that the voice actress for the evil queen also did the old witch, but with her teeth out! The advanced capability of Blu-ray and BD LIve allows for some cool and unexpected interactions, such as the Magic Mirror (who narrates the menus) greeting you by mentioning the time of day and even the weather in your location! The games are also pretty amazing - Jewel Jumble is as smooth as any basic arcade game, and Scene Stealer allows you to upload photos to the web which are accessed to put your face on Snow White and some of the dwarfs! The amazing Platinum Edition of Snow White from years ago was fantastic for its time, but I am thoroughly impressed with what this new technology can do and how Disney is using it!

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