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Snow White
and the Seven Dwarves
Diamond Edition

Once again, I'm going to have to say that if you're an animation fan, Blu-ray is a logical way to go. With Disney's Snow White and the 7 Dwarves Diamond Edition, the definition is almost too good. It's not that the cracks are showing, but you can really see the fine line work in ways you can't even on the previous DVD Platinum edition, and that was one heck of a restoration.

To prove that to myself, I didn't just believe my five year old who by merely looking at the box said "…this Snow White looks better." I did a side by side comparison, watching the same sequences on both digital restorations. Blu-ray wins: cleaner lines, brighter colors and a deeper palette.

That adds up to restoring a true classic. While perhaps not as strong as Pinocchio, which may really be the studio's masterpiece, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves isn't just a cinematic milestone; it still stands up as a piece of entertainment. True, Snow White is a little bit, um, trilly, and I've never trusted how pink the Prince's lips are, but the Dwarves themselves and the Evil Queen remain movie classics. In addition, the studio has used the technology to create an interactive branching documentary about Hyperion Studios, Walt's stomping grounds in the thirties, where Snow White was created, and the legendary sweatbox was born. Through recreations of transcripts and audio recordings, this extra puts you as close to being there as possible. Whoever their Disney impersonator is, he's truly impossible to tell from the real thing, and for history-minded Disneymaniacs, this is an invaluable feature.

Another piece of history includes snippets of development for a sequel. This may seem heretical, but it shouldn't come as a surprise unearthing. Throughout the forties and fifties, the Disney company toyed with storylines continuing the saga that eventually appeared in children's books, comic strips and marketing.

For kids, the disc includes a load of games. Again, with the Blu-ray technology they can move past simple trivia and into rudimentary videogame styles, here offering a Dopey-hosted variation of a game that looks suspiciously like Bejeweled, and is an obvious fit with these characters.

The Diamond Edition offers everything the Platinum Edition had and more, so if you're upgrading, you're not going to lose any materials that you enjoyed from that. Blu-ray also allows for a smoother interface with the Magic Mirror, a clever menu bit from the Platinum re-envisioned here.

However, Disney seems to be aware that people aren't adopting Blu-ray in the way the industry had hoped. The marketing here reverses strategy. For several months they and other companies included regular DVD versions of the film, a clever way to ease people into the transition. Here the inner package is essentially the same - one regular DVD with Snow White and six minutes of the Princess and the Frog, then two Blu-ray discs with the movie and extras.

But on the package Disney sent, the box touts this as a DVD with bonus Blu-ray discs included, a clever switch that may sucker a few people in. Don't worry, casual consumer, you'll still get a playable movie, but the really cool stuff is on those other discs.

I'd say it's a trick almost worthy of the Evil Queen, except that it's worth it.

Derek McCaw


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