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Bad Ideas

“Not Your Grandfather’s Snow White”

Snow White

Director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand) is planning a live-action version of Snow White in 3-D. Ratner isn’t involved with Disney and he wants to make sure everybody knows it’s going to be a lot better than that crusty fuddy-duddy film that Walt made:

“This is not your grandfather’s Snow White. Melisa went back to the 500 year old folk tale and put in some of the things that were missing from Walt Disney’s film. His dwarves were miners, and here they are robbers. There is also a dragon that was in the original folk tale. Walt made one of the great movies of all time, but ours is edgy and there is more comedy. The original, made for its time, was soft compared to what we’re going to do.”

(Thanks, Kurtis Findlay)

  • DavetheRave b.s. dictionary translates the phrase “edgy with more comedy” to “crap”. Can’t expect anything more from a guy that put his stamp on Xmen 3!

  • Jonas

    What are you, a pussy? Snow White definitely lacks some hardcore edginess.

    It’s a trend. You know something’s wrong Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood is considered an “update” over a character who’s supposed to be fun and lighthearted. Expect a darker and edgier Lady & the Tramp soon.

  • mg

    Obligatory Penny Arcade strip:

  • Greg M.

    Otto, a famous comedian in Germany, put out his own live action version about 3 years ago, called “The Seven Dwarfs”, and had good success with it. They are currently making a part two. It was adultish in nature.

  • I’ve never read a version of Snow White with a dragon in it, and I’ve read the oldest recorded version. Not that I’d be opposed to a dragon, but still, you’re not being very truthful, Mr. Rush Hour 3.

  • Also, how long has it been since they stopped running those “This is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile” commercials? And we’re still making references to it?

  • I somehow think that no matter how hard you try to create an original ‘Snow White’, Disney’s film will always be a point of departure. The characters from it are almost in the collective unconsciousness.

  • Donald C.

    Did I step in the 90’s again?

  • ZAR

    There is already such a version:

    Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997)

    Pretty good too.

  • Christopher Smigliano

    Ratner has all the attitude of pro wrestler who’s been scripted to lose. And I’ve read older versions of the tale and a dragon? Feh. sounds like an excuse to add something to hold the viewer’s attention .that’s if they haven’t left the theater by then. Forgive the wordplay, but rather comes off as Grumpy, the film concept seems Dopey, and when it’s made, I doubt anyone’s gonna be Happy.

  • Isn’t he shooting himself in the foot by even bothering to compare the two films? People do know that Walt didn’t create the story right? Right??

  • Oy…

  • Randy Koger

    Up next – the Indie band that will be making a record that is better than all that “soft stuff” the Beatles made in the ’60’s.

    Anyone who thinks he/she can make a better version than Disney’s is on a slippery slope indeed. As someone said in this post, are we in the ’90’s again?

  • Even if my expectations aren’t that high, the idea doesn’t offend me. Disney’s version has certainly had a huge influence on the public perception of the “Snow White” story, but they don’t own the tale and there is plenty from various versions that isn’t in the Disney film. I’d be more excited if it was Tim Burton heading up the new movie, but I’m hesitant to publicly judge a film I know almost nothing about.

  • Simon Stahl

    I can’t wait to see Jackie Chan as Snow White!

  • Scarabim

    I blame Wicked for this. Some schmo takes a beloved children’s story and gives it an “adult” spin (so “adult” that I never made it past the first five pages of the book), it gets attention and then an inexplicably popular Broadway show emerges from it. So other schmoes think that’s the formula for success – co-opt and corrupt a work derived from childhood innocence and slap the ubiquitous “edgy” label on it. Yep, that’s the ticket – aside from making an effort and taking the risk of creating something ORIGINAL, of course.

  • FleischerFan

    Well, “Snow White” is really a folk tale and not Disney property. There have been many other reintepretations of classic stories that happened to be also adapted by Disney.

    This obsession with making everything “dark & edgy” is disappointing, however. It’s not creative at all. It’s just bandwagon-jumping. It also become a creative cul-de-sac (as the comic book industry is discovering).

    Comics helped launch this “dark & edgy” trend decades ago with Frank Miller & others. They have also watched sales of comics continue to plummet until now Marvel has decided to go back to a brighter, more positive tone with their “Heroic Age” initiative.

    What I really want, tho’, is a “dark & edgy” update of “Pollyana!”

  • But…I like my Grandfather’s Snow White.

  • Hulk

    Is this going to be animated or Live Action?

  • He forgot to say it would have “tude”. Surely that’s essential.

  • uncle wayne

    Ohhhhhhhhhhh, my DEAR! You’re going to get beaucoup “stares” (mine inclusive) using the word “crusty” & “fuddy-duddy!” For shame!

  • nw

    less soft?…..does that mean more explosions and less plot?

  • Baron Lego

    Guh. Whenever I hear the term “this isn’t your grandfather’s…” I feel a chill go up my spine.

  • John

    Disney should really just ensure that nobody ever uses these public domain characters again.

  • Eh, my favorite is “Snow White and the Three Stooges” (1961) with ice skater Carol Heiss as Snow White and Patricia Medina as the Evil Queen. Talk about “dark and edgy.” N’Yuk, n’yuk.

  • Roberto Severino

    Oh boy. Here we go again! Is this gonna be another Robin Hood?

  • Uh, if your film tries to be faithful to the original Snow White folk stories, then it is your grandfather’s Snow White.

    Oh, right, I forgot the edgy comedy. We all know how hilarious attempted homicide and the politics of monarchy are. I’m already on the floor in apoplectic laughter.

  • Benny

    There would never be so much enthusiasm over a ‘Snow White’ reimagining if Burton’s ‘Alice’ hadn’t made such a pile of money. That success will validate this ‘dark’, overdone live action CGI approach until it eventually wears out at the box office. Burton’s ‘Alice’ was a fluke: an overlong marketing exercise with an overstuffed ‘Harry Potter’ last act that happened to be a global hit. The fact that it was the biggest commercial bonanza ever done based on that classic story was not lost on the suits. But global media companies need to make content. And this is just that.


    I can’t believe nobody made the obvious joke about this.

  • erlab

    1.) Can you give us some explanation for that ugly photo and why you decided to post it along with this article?
    2.) Who the heck is Melissa?

  • victoria

    Ha is that picture above the post a nod to Troll 2? Seems appropiate

  • Rooniman

    And uh…. what makes you so sure it’s going to be better then Disney’s version?

  • amid

    Sara: Just to be clear, I have absolutely no problem with somebody making Snow White. As you point out, it’s a classic tale and not a Disney story. What I thought was silly was Ratner’s need to denigrate Disney’s version and claim that he’s going to make it edgy and funny, and add dragons.

    The term “not your grandfather’s…” is also problematic. As Cameron A succinctly points out in the comments, “Uh, if your film tries to be faithful to the original Snow White folk stories, then it is your grandfather’s Snow White.”

    Erlab: That photo is what I imagine a live-action 3-D dwarf will look like.

  • Fred Sparrman

    “…he wants to make sure everybody knows it’s going to be a lot better than that crusty fuddy-duddy film that Walt made…”

    No, those are all your words, Amid. Ratner calls Disney’s version “one of the great movies of all time”, and makes absolutely no claims that his version will be “better”. Just different.

    “What I thought was silly was Ratner’s need to denigrate Disney’s version…”

    Again, he in no way denigrates Disney’s version.

    Amid, whatever you write about, we always end up learning much more about you than the subject. And it ain’t pretty.

  • samster

    Amid, actually the photo looks like some character from stop-mo style animation!

  • Mr. Crankypants

    What’s really disturbing is that Disney has had a live-action kung-fu version of Snow White in development for years. Seriously.

  • Anna

    um, for the slow in the audience: where was there a dragon in the original Snow White? Are we mixing in all the “hardc0re things kids like!” in there or what?

    In that case I predict this movie will be overusing the yellow and blue filters, have needless rape & gore (young girl, 7 dirty old men alone in the woods.. hey, I should write for Hollywood! its so easy!)

    yeah… pass! I’ll go enjoy this “crusty fuddy-duddy film” he keeps goin on about instead

  • Alissa

    Edgy huh? He should go read Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples” Scary in a good way.

    Why does Hollywood feel the need to take stories and remove everything recognizable about them/stuff explosions a bad puns everywhere anyway. I’ll bet there’s a project right now to remake the epic of Gilgamesh as a romantic comedy.

  • I think that, after Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, Burton’s Alice and Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, Amid has every reason to be worried.

    Well, I found Sherlock Holmes the less offensive out of these three, cause it seemed like it tried to include some of the classic elements with a different , “modern”, twist, but the other two have virtually nothing in common with the original versions except that the characters have similar names.

    Now, I have read some Sherlock Holmes’ novels and the two stories of Alice but I’m not an expert in classic fairytales like Snow White. So I don’t know if the original version included dragons or whatever, but I certainly didn’t hear of that before.

    I suspect it’s like Robin Hood. They claimed this was the historic version. Again, not an expert in the real story that inspired the legend, but I have read different reviews that pointed out several historic facts that were wrong in the movie. So they end up with a version that isn’t historic and it’s not the legend.

    Making new versions of the classic stories is not bad per se, giving them a different twist is not necessarily bad either. What I find really arrogant about all these versions we are seeing lately is that they often claim to be the most faithful, historic or realistic versions (and they even keep the traditional title) when they are normally more inaccurate and often less enjoyable than the previous adaptations. If you are not going to include any of the usual ingredients of that classic story maybe you should start by giving it a different title (like Spielberg’s “Hook”, which wasn’t a good movie either, but at least the title make it clear it’s not going to be the same story).

  • “Disney should really just ensure that nobody ever uses these public domain characters again.”

    They are trying to do that. Disney has filed to trademark “Snow White” for all entertainment purposes.

    Apparently heading toward the last stages of approval?

  • greedyslayer

    I admit, I like edgy sometimes, but edgy does not automatically good/better/superior.

    Um, why make the dwarves robbers? It sounds sorta cool, and I think a certain freedom and revisioning can be exercised…but still, why?

    Soft? What’s wrong with being soft? Was there an implication that “soft” is inferior?

    The dragon interests me, since I enjoy dragons, and has me curious to researching and checking that there was a dragon in the original. Were the dwarves robbers in the original then too? Or were they robbers in another previous version.

  • Peter H

    There is an Italian folkstory about a girl named Maria, whose wicked stepmother makes her father abandon her in the woods, where she finds the lair of seven robbers who take her in. On hearing she still lives, the stepmother sends her a ring which causes her, on wearing it, to fall as if dead. The Robbers put her in a coffin surrounded by treasure, load it on a cart and leave it in the King’s stables. The king falls in love with the dead girl and when his mother takes the ring from her finger (as too good to be buried!) Maria returns to life.

    Yes, it’s a version of the Snow White story, but not the ‘original’ exactly. Many folk stories are mixtures of other stories – by-and-large, storytellers just cobbled together the best bits of whatever stories they had heard!

    There are two types of male groups living in fairystory forests – robbers (who are outlaws) and dwarves (who are miners). Ratner is just mixing the two together.

    Haven’t found a version mixing Snow White and a dragon (the most popular dragon story involves the hero killing a dragon and cutting out its tongue as proof, then another character finding the corpse, cutting off its head and claiming the kill: the hero turns up at the festivities and exposes the fraud by crying “What kind of Dragon has no tongue?” and revealing that he has that trophy) but I dare say there is one somewhere.

    Doubt very much it was ever part of the original Snow White story though!

  • Peter H

    Ah! Here it is! A Lithuanian folk tale – nine brothers had a sister whom they loved very much. When they went off to war, their wicked stepmother plotted to get rid of the girl. Knowing that a nine-headed dragon lived in the forest, she sent the girl there to seek news of her brothers. Pursued by the dragon, the girl climbs an apple tree. The dragon, exhausted by the chase, starts to gnaw at the tree. Along comes a bear and asks the dragon what it’s doing. When the dragon explains, the bear offers to take over gnawing the tree so that the dragon can rest. While the the dragon sleeps the bear runs round the tree, singing. A cuckoo flies off to summon the brothers. The rumble of the approaching horses wakes the dragon – who sees that the bear has tricked him – the tree has grown thicker! He chases off the bear, and falls for the same trick by a fox. Eventually the nine brothers arrive and cut off the dragon’s nine heads. Then the all go home and and finish off the wicked stepmother.

    It seems to me there are so many folk tales that could be turned into movies in their own right, that it is a shame to cobble them all together under one famous title.

    Still, it’s just a film – and just because it fits the witless executives’ checklist (‘modern twist’; ‘edgy’; ‘cgi’; etc) doesn’t mean it can’t be good (just that the odds are against it)!

  • Peter H

    Erlab: ‘Melisa’ is Melisa Wallack who wrote the script.

  • why cant hollywood come up with a new idea. no, a new one. this is gonna be an offensive film. i hate you hollywood.

  • w

    Ah, it’s just a movie.

    In all seriousness, I’m hoping for another run of movies like ‘Leprechaun’. Those are friggin hilarious.

  • chipper

    Anyone’s free to make a Snow White. Me, you, Dreamworks, Seth McFarlane, Disney (they could make another one), National Film Board…it’s an old story and long since been in public domain.

    But why is everyone trying to get rid of charm? It’s like that Wicked book that tried to destroy every bit of charm The Wizard of Oz had.

    Nobody makes us charming films anymore, except Ghibli.

  • Peter H., wow, those sound interesting. I think the only versions of Snow White I’ve read were the Perrault (or was it Grimm?) versions.

    About the article, I read ‘dragon’ and my eyes kind of bugged out.
    BUT, I don’t know why we feel the need to ‘reinvent’ everything, including fairy tales, to prove their relevance.
    And I’m already getting bad vibes from the 3D.

    I dunno. It’s too soon to tell if it’ll be good or bad.

  • Leirin

    That dwarf looks more like a deranged Rankin/Bass Santa Claus. Also, this is a terrible idea.