Disney has officially released an exclusive first look at its new live-action Snow White film. The screenshot reveals a CGI-heavy cast of the seven dwarves, alongside Miss White herself, played by actress Rachel Zegler.
They say never judge a film by its err... screenshot, so I'll hold my reservations until the movie is released, but as a classic Disney animation purist, this revelatory sneak peek is certainly a leap from what I'm used to. (If you'd like to bring your art to life, check our guide to the best animation software to get you started).
The image in question is a fairly innocuous preview of the upcoming film (which has now been pushed to a 2025 release date, despite original plans to release it in March of next year). The colour palette, theming and aesthetics of the shot appear to be vaguely in line with the original, but I just can't get my head around the CGI – to me, it gives uncanny valley vibes.
And look, I know it's been quite a while since the original film's release in 1937 –animation has evolved since then – but what's with Disney's obsession with CGI-ifying everything? The blend of live-action and CGI creates a jarring disconnect between the characters and the cottage's design appears uncharacteristically dingy, which to me, loses that sense of whimsical charm in the original animation.
Despite this, the background is tastefully designed and the sparse use of lighting gives the world a little depth, avoiding the static, flat-looking imagery that CGI can sometimes have. From what I can see, the rich jewel tones of the costumes contrast nicely with the earthy background, making the characters feel part of the world without fading into the set, but I suppose we'll have to wait until the official trailer release to see how it all holds up.
While there's been an attempt to emulate the original dwarf designs, they lack the personality of the original film, making it appear more like Snow White and the Seven Random Guys. However, the use of CGI is a wise choice, as the film has been criticised for its potentially offensive depiction of people with dwarfism. With this in mind, the move to scrap live-action actors in favour of CGI animation is a conscious and positive effort to refrain from perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
Disney's Snow White remake isn't ranking high on my 'to watch' list, but this new preview proves that it's here to stay despite its controversial reception. If like me you prefer the originals, take a look at the special edition movie box set – featuring the original Snow White among other classics – in celebration of Disney's centenary, or check out these delightful illustrations that celebrate 100 years of iconic animation history.