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Snow White and the Seven Movies

The New Year is about making resolutions, changing “you,” and maybe being inspired by Snow White?

Once Upon aTime– the beginning sentence to every fairy tale and is the hit show on ABC featuring Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow White. Also playing Snow White is Twilight’s Bella, a.k.a. Kristen Stewart, in Snow White and the Huntsman out this spring.  Lily Collins, who auditioned for Stewart’s role, landed herself in Disney’s version titled Mirror Mirror, where she plays yet another Snow White.

Set to hit theaters March 2012, Mirror Mirror is supposed to be the untold adventures of Snow White.
Based on the movie trailer, Snow White is cursed to survive in the woods, while the Evil Queen, played by Julia Roberts, gives Prince Charming (Armie Hammer), a potion to make him fall in love with her and eventually get married, making the Evil Queen a cougar. There’s a twist Disney doesn’t tell!

Another twist is Julia Roberts’ sense of humor, which is portrayed through her character: Skin as white as snow and hair as black as night. “Blah, blah, blah. Her hair is not black, it’s raven and she’s 18 years old and her skin has never seen the sun, so of course it’s good,” she says.

Snow White and the Huntsman, set to hit theaters June 2012, resembles the classical version, except it takes the action and adventure to another level.  Snow White is portrayed as an empowered hunter and woman, which in the sense, is different from the traditional fairy tale.

“Many fairy tale adaptations tend to purge the darkness of the original tale in
order to equate to a child friendly film,” Heather Paterson, a film student at The New School, says. “Snow White and the Huntsman is doing the exact opposite. People are interested in the dark sides of fairy tale adaptations.”

Among Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, there are three other movies lined up to hit theaters next year: Grimm’s Snow White, which will be released direct-to-video in February; The Brothers Grimm: Snow White comes out in June and The Hobbit: An Unexpected will be released in December. It was also announced that the movie, Snow and the Seven, is expected to be released summer 2013.

What is it about Snow White that inspires producers to create such films?

Apart from the classic being romantic, there is a popular theme represented in Snow White, which, like all fairytales, has to do with beauty. Lori Baker-Sperry, an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at Western Illinois University, along with Liz Grauerholz, an Associate Professor of Sociology, examined 168 Brothers Grimm fairy tales in their study titled, “The Pervasiveness and Persistence of the Feminine Beauty Ideal in Children’s Fairy Tales,” which was published in 2003.

 “Of the tales analyzed, 43 percent have been reproduced in children’s books or movies,” according to Purdue News. One of the five tales that was reproduced more than 101 times was Disney’s Snow White.

“We found that tales with extremely high mentions of female physical attractiveness were much more likely to be reproduced than even those with strong elements of violence or domesticity,” Professor Baker-Sperry says.

What it comes down to is that Snow White would not have a story line if she was, in the sense, unattractive. In the beginning, the Queen finds out from her talking mirror that she is not the fairest of them all. The action then takes place in the film when she tries to kill Snow White because she is the fairest of them all. The movie ends with the beauty theme again when the Prince is enchanted by her beauty and ends up saving her and eventually marrying her, which leads to the inevitable happy ending.

We see this theme represented again in the upcoming movie, Mirror Mirror. Snow White says, “She (the Evil Queen) poisoned an apple because she thought I was prettier than her.”
“Stories can be used to think about female rivalry,” Professor Duggan, a Women’s Studies Professor at Wayne State University, says. “The step-mother is always competing with Snow White and Snow White is this younger woman who is threatening to this older woman, who happens to be the wife of her father.”

Apart from beauty and rivalry, another reason why Snow White and other fairy tales are popular is
 because of the theme of hope. “There’s a reason we all know them (classics). They’re a way for us to deal with our world,” Snow White says in Once Upon a Time. “Believing in a happy ending is a very powerful thing.”

In Disney’s Snow White, there is hope that a prince will find Snow White in her coffin after she died from eating the poisoned apple. We hope for a prince to rescue the Princess because that’s how all fairy tales end, right?

“I tell my classes that the Prince would today face charges of pedophilia and necrophilia (sexual attraction to corpses)!” says Professor Baker-Sperry.

Modern day remakes of Snow White are geared towards teenagers and adults, not children, which is a major difference between the classics and the remakes and is a reason why there is more of an interest in fairy tales such as Snow White because we can connect with the main character in the film.
“Fairy tales remind adults of their childhood. There’s the utopian, this possibility of a better life. Even though I’m suffering now, somehow I’ll be rewarded in the future,” says Professor Duggan.

In fact, a lot of college girls could relate to the main character in Sydney White (2007). Amanda Bynes plays Sydney White, who is a college freshman who struggles to fit in with a sorority. With the help of seven dorks, she takes on the wannabe campus queen in order to gain popularity and honor.

“I was hearing a couple years ago that college students were having a really hard time finding a job, so sometimes entertainment can be distracting and the living carelessly or having this sense of hope that they might not have in their real lives,” says Professor Duggan.

So why now, in 2012, are so many movies inspired by Snow White being created?

“Fairy tales are back in fashion,” Professor Duggan says. If this is true, does that mean the trend started when we were looking for a sense of hope throughout the economic crisis? And if so, do fairytales really make us believe in happy endings?

In Mirror Mirror, the Evil Queen makes a joke out of the economic crisis, “The Prince is rich. I’m going to marry him and then my financial problems will be solved.”

Something that isn’t suffering from the economic crisis is, as ironic as this may be, the billion dollar company itself, Walt Disney World.  It was announced earlier this year that Fantasyland will be expanding and in it will be a new roller coaster, musical ride called “The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.” It’s no surprise where the inspiration came from.  


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