Is Disney guaranteeing another massive mistake in producing the highly controversial live-action Snow White?
If you ask many, the quick and affirmative answer would be “yes.” As Disney does everything in their power to garner and cash in on the nostalgia that original Disney animation gave viewers, its live-action remakes remain a priority for the massive company despite failure after failure. Disregarding a potentially fatigued landscape, Disney will move forward with Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot to bring to life one of the most cherished Disney stories ever told, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and this one may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The Problem with the New Snow White
Surrounded in controversy regarding its stance as “woke,” many have flocked to social media to denounce the yet-finished live-action Snow White film. Scheduled for release in 2024, the film and actress Rachel Zegler have already come under fire due to comments made by the lead role regarding Walt Disney’s original, company-saving masterpiece from 1937. In addition, insight into creative changes made by the studio and casting choices have led to surmountable obstacles the film will undoubtedly face upon release. As Rachel Zegler’s comments have furthered the disconnect between Disney traditionalists and the prominent hard-headed studio, sadly, many are washing their hands of future Disney productions.
Why We’re Tired of Live-Action Remakes
It was fun at first, getting remakes of beloved Disney classics like Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. However, the constant surge of live-action childhood films like Snow White has created extreme fatigue at the box office. Although Disney hoped to regain momentum by rebranding previous successes, many feel strongly that they have become an outlet for the company to push its agenda and take creative freedoms that further separate itself from what Walt Disney built. As Disney fans hold strongly to the emotionally driven value of nostalgic products, the liberties taken by the company have led to the failure of high-budget remakes like The Little Mermaid and The Haunted Mansion. Much like Star Wars and Marvel, the market is overly saturated, and many want Disney to return to its roots of creative, innovative animated story-telling, without the socio-political undertones.
Don’t Mess With Walt’s Greatest Creation Ever – ‘Snow White
You may be wondering what all the fuss is about regarding the live-action Snow White remake. Despite Rachel Zegler’s criticism of the original film, a notable one of Walt Disney’s most significant works, many have taken issue with Disney’s refusal to leave works untouched. Although the original story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was written well over 100 years before it made its way to screen by the Brothers Grimm, Walt Disney would immortalize the magical tale, ultimately catapulting him to the top of the animation world. Snow White also became the primary cornerstone of what Disney animation would become, leading to 100 years of success that we are currently celebrating.
Without Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, there would be no Aladdin, no Walt Disney World or Disneyland, and we wouldn’t have the magical world of Disney as we know it. This is why fans revolted online due to Rachel Zelger’s comments regarding the early Disney project and why they don’t want to see it changed. The 1937 animated feature is a work born purely of imagination, innovative thinking, and a little bit of magic. Because of the respect Snow White garners among the animation community, it seems that despite Rachel Zegler’s best efforts to sabotage the project, it was doomed to fail from its inception.
Snow White’s Live-Action Remake Has a Big Hill to Climb
Due to its popularity and creative genius, the original Snow White film doesn’t only hold a special place in the hearts of Disney fans. As mentioned, the feature set a high bar for what animation would become, laying the groundwork for many to build and grow the medium. Because of this, it’s often still viewed as the “holy grail” of animated films, garnering vast amounts of support from loyal animators and fans alike. This clearly puts a live-action retelling of the classic at a disadvantage.
If you still are on the fence, however, a study conducted 15 years ago will help explain why a live-action remake of Snow White will not only fail but fail historically now that Rachel Zegler and Disney have added even more controversy around the film. According to ScreenRant, “Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs arrived to change the world of animation, being the first full-length traditionally animated feature film and Disney’s first animated movie. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has been deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress, and is still regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.” This isn’t simply coach-speak; the 15-year-old poll conducted by the American Film Institute (AFI) clearly shows that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is considered the greatest animated movie of all time!
Although the poll was conducted in 2008, considering that the original film debuted in 1937, Snow White still ranks highly among animators for its impactful impression on the world of hand-drawn film. Due to its reputation among those who understand the importance and complexity of what Walt Disney created, the hill Disney must climb to make the remake work is a steep one. Speaking clearly, the outlook for Disney’s newest attempt at bringing one of its vaulted animated classics to life isn’t looking too hot.
Rachel Zelger is a Problem for the Snow White Live-Action Remake
Problems for the new film began once Rachel Zegler gained the lead role of Snow White. As the original character is meant to be fair-skinned, Zegler’s Latina origins became a problem for fans of the original film. Much like opinions based around Disney traditionalist on Halle Bailey’s portrayal of Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, many found issues with the darker-skinned Zelger playing a role in which the lead was to have skin “as white as now.” Problems then were exacerbated as leaked set images showed Disney’s decision not to use little people for the role of dwarfs in the film. Making matters worse, Zelger’s comments in an interview with NBC News regarding her take on Snow White being “more feminist” caused an uproar amongst many who already view Disney in a more negative light due to their political stances, especially in the state of Florida. Finally, Zegler made comparison comments to working on the set of the Disney film to those experiencing financial crisis due to SAG-AFTRA strikes.
Despite Public Outcry, Live-Action Snow White Continues On
It seems that the adoration for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs isn’t enough to keep Disney from meddling with Walt’s original work. Neither is public outcry over what some consider to be controversial decisions surrounding its casting and production. Rachel Zegler’s comments regarding a “new-age approach” to the original character have villanized her amongst the Disney faithful. As the live-action Snow White remake is intended to rise from the murky depths that have claimed the lives of other live-action remakes, this certainly isn’t a promising start considering the high-value product that Disney is altering to fit what they see as modern. If the film continues and promptly fails, it will clearly indicate that Disney has lost all consideration and grasp of who their audience is.
The newest live-action remake is scheduled for release in 2024 and will feature Rachel Zegler as Snow White. She will be joined by Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) as the Evil Queen. As Disney turns to their arsenal of Disney Princesses for dollars, moviegoers struggle to pay their bills and make the theatres on the weekends. More and more Disney productions are films fans never asked for, and as Disney currently has a big PR problem on their hands, altering such an important, historical work that is held in the highest regard by fans and fellow animators will certainly help to continue their recent run of failures at the box office.