Disney’s forthcoming live-action adaptation of ‘Snow White’ is generating a flurry of controversies, making it feel more like ‘Snow White and the Seven Debacles.’ From racial backlash to alterations in traditional canon, the film seems to be attracting criticism from multiple angles. Let’s delve into the reasons behind the growing discontent surrounding this reimagined princess tale.
Racist Backlash and Casting Criticisms
When Hollywood franchises introduce people of color into iconic roles, it often triggers racist backlash. The trend has manifested in previous instances such as ‘Star Wars,’ ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ and ‘The Little Mermaid.’ Unfortunately, the backlash reared its ugly head once again with the casting of Latina actress Rachel Zegler as Snow White. Zegler’s mixed ethnicity (Colombian and Polish) led to criticism from some quarters of Disney’s fanbase, who preferred a more traditional portrayal of the pale-faced princess. Zegler herself addressed this issue, emphasizing the importance of education and fostering awareness among detractors.
Zegler’s Commentary and Modern Take
Beyond the racial backlash, Zegler’s critical comments about the original 1937 animated film and her excitement to bring a “modern edge” to the character have sparked controversy. Zegler revealed that the new Snow White won’t center around finding true love, but will focus on her journey towards becoming a strong leader and finding her own voice. This fresh perspective aligns with a shift in societal values, but it has drawn both support and backlash from fans.
The Dwarf Dilemma and Representations
The iconic Seven Dwarfs, central to the original narrative, have also been at the heart of controversy. Concerns were raised about the portrayal of characters with dwarfism, leading to discussions about perpetuating outdated stereotypes. Emmy-winning actor Peter Dinklage criticized the remake for maintaining the same core story while aiming for inclusivity. Disney reacted by transforming the seven characters into “magical creatures” through CGI, following consultations with the dwarfism community. However, this decision led to criticism from both sides — some appreciated the move, while others believed it took opportunities away from actors with dwarfism.
Comments from the Co-Director’s Son
Adding fuel to the fire, David Hand, the son of one of the directors of the 1937 animated classic, expressed strong disapproval of the contemporary updates in the live-action reboot. Hand, who had worked as a designer for Disney in the past, voiced his disagreement with the changes, characterizing them as straying from the original stories and introducing “woke” elements. He contended that his late father and Walt Disney would vehemently disagree with the approach taken in the remake.
In a nutshell, the controversies surrounding Disney’s ‘Snow White’ reboot encompass a range of concerns — from casting choices to thematic alterations to the representation of characters. These debates underscore the challenge of adapting beloved classics in a rapidly evolving cultural landscape.