Released: 2nd July
Seen: 8th July

In 1937, Disney released what many regard as the definitive version of the German fairy tale Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. It’s certainly the version that most of us think of when we talk about that legendary fable, to the point where the question “What are the names of the seven dwarfs” is answered with “Doc, Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Dopey and Bashful” instead of the names used in the original Grimm’s fairy tale. Do you even know what the dwarfs were named in the original Grimm’s fairy tale? Trick question, they didn’t have names and were referred to either as a collective or by “The first one, the second one, etc”. With Disney’s version looming large over the history of the story, every version since then has had to try and do something to make it stand apart from the most well-known iteration of this story. Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs decided to be confusingly boring, which is fun.

In general, Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs is a straight forward retelling of the Snow White story with a few key differences. First, all the dwarfs are actually super hot princes who look like they were rejected from a boyband but they accidentally pissed off a fairy and a curse was placed upon the super hot princes to turn them into ugly dwarfs that look more like goblins but they get called dwarfs because we need to make them fit the property we’re using. The Dwarfs names, by the way, are Merlin (Sam Claflin), Arthur (Simon Kassianides) … uh, I think one was named Jack (Frederik Hamel) and… uh…. 4 other ones (One of them voiced by Nolan North and the other three voiced by Frank Todaro). The only dwarf you’re really meant to care about is Merlin, who also knows magic because of course he does and will be the main love interest for our main heroine.

Snow White (Chloë Grace Moretz) is a fat girl who no one loves until she puts on a pair of magical red shoes that’re made from a magic apple. Those red shoes turn her into a thin attractive person and, therefore, the story can happen because she’s worthy of being approached by the horny prince dwarfs. She has no actual personality beyond this, she just looks pretty until she takes her shoes off and spends the film hunting for her father while avoiding the wicked witch of this film. The witches name is Regina (Gina Gershon) and she has a seemingly endless supply of magic apples that can turn people into giant tree monsters or just into trees with faces on them. There is no reasoning why this is a thing, none of the apples look different, apples are just weird that way. 

Throughout the ‘film’ Red Shoes (which is literally what they repeatedly call Snow White, because why not reduce the main female character down to her footwear) is trying to find her father, who has been missing for some time, and ends up getting help from the dwarfs. The dwarfs, meanwhile, are trying to get Red Shoes to kiss one of them to break the spell and it seems the only one who might be able to do this is the one who has the voice of the hot guy from the Hunger Games movies. The entire film basically revolves around this need to get those two to kiss, only stopping occasionally to bring in a strange giant bunny made of wood or references to Arthurian legend because why not throw some of that into this story.

The film claims to be trying to do a story about how true beauty lies within which is a great message, it was done in Shrek which is a big influence on this film, but in this film they do it poorly. Think about the difference between the Dwarfs and Red Shoes. The Dwarfs are attractive men who get turned into goblin-like creatures with green skin who look notably monstrous… Red Shoes is fat and she becomes not fat when wearing heels. Anyone else think there’s a little bit of a disparity there? Anyone else find it a little annoying that “Fat” is comparable to “Short goblin with green skin”? Because it’s exactly as bullshit as you’d think it would be, right down to scenes where the dwarfs don’t recognise Red Shoes when she’s fat despite her wearing the same clothes, having the same facial features, having the same voice and calling out their names! It’s… it’s not good, the implications are exactly as horrible as you think they would be.

What makes this entire thing worse is the lack of actual good jokes in the film. I’m not even sure they were trying to make jokes half the time, it was just such a boring film that I almost fell asleep several times during it because nothing interesting seemed to be happening… and you’ve read up to this point and read the bullshit that was in this film, I shouldn’t have been bored by this much condensed stupidity and yet I was. The only time I laughed was during the end credits when they had drawings of what happened after the story and showed one of the other dwarfs serving a fish dinner to The Little Mermaid. When your only noticeable joke happens during the end credits, that’s a problem. 

This film just isn’t that good. It’s not funny, barely interesting and at best offers some decent visuals that might distract a few kids but… I mean, right now you have access to the entire Pixar library with a few clicks of a mouse. You could just show your children the original Snow White and they’d get a lot more out of it. This is just barely watchable, and that’s being kind.

13 thoughts on “Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs (2020) – Fairy Fail

  1. “(which is literally what they repeatedly call Snow White, because why not reduce the main female character down to her footwear)”

    She called HERSELF Red shoes, when they asked her what her name was. She was struggling to come up with a pseudonym, looked down at her shoes and blurted them out, and when they asked her if that was her name she affirmed it was. What were you expecting them to do, just give her a different name than the one she told them to use?

    “Anyone else find it a little annoying that “Fat” is comparable to “Short goblin with green skin”?”

    No, because these two are never shown to be “equivalent” in the film, except to the extent that they are both conventionally unattractive. Because it’s not like *both* Snow White and Merlin need to learn to love themselves or something. Snow White is already comfortable with her normal self, she actually prefers her “fatness” and the strength that comes with it. She doesn’t need to “learn” to see the beauty in either herself or others, including the “short goblins with green skin”. She wears the Red Shoes more because she notices that she gets treated differently by others when she does so, and life seems to be a bit easier for her. (“If I gave up their magic, you wouldn’t have helped me find my father, would you?”) It’s Merlin who is vain and self-absorbed and who needs to learn to move past appearances. Even at the point where he discovers Snow’s true form, his hangup isn’t so much that he doesn’t like her anymore or can’t bear to look at her or something – it’s that he’s still wrestling with his OWN self-image. His primary drive up until this point was to get a kiss from “the most beautiful woman in the world” in order to restore his handsome self and now he has to question whether he really cares about being handsome anymore.

    “right down to scenes where the dwarfs don’t recognise Red Shoes when she’s fat despite her wearing the same clothes, having the same facial features, having the same voice and calling out their names!”

    ….? I don’t even know where to start with this. Do you think that this is somehow not realistic? You think if you met someone and then not ten minutes later, you think you hear them calling but when you turn around you see someone much lighter or much heavier than they are, are you gonna suddenly recognise them as the same person? Or are you going to think you probably misheard?

    Also by “same facial features” do you mean they both have eyes, nose and a mouth? Because sure the hair/eye colour is the same, but beyond that they do not have the same face.

    “You could just show your children the original Snow White and they’d get a lot more out of it”

    You mean the film where the evil queen has a magic mirror with no reasoning behind where she got it, poisons a beautiful princess with no personality, and some prince she’s met for five minutes is so awed by her beauty that he gives her a “true love’s kiss” that wakes her up? That? You mean that movie?

    Really dude?

    1. “She called HERSELF Red shoes, when they asked her what her name was.”

      I feel like this is down to me not explaining myself better, for which I apologise. My issue isn’t with the dwarfs calling her by that name or by her picking it, but the writers picking that name in the first place. It’s a bad name that, even in context, is part of this films weird attitude towards it’s main character.

      “No, because these two are never shown to be “equivalent” in the film, except to the extent that they are both conventionally unattractive.”

      That’s the exact equivalence that I was referring to. Both the short green goblins and the fat woman are treated as equally ugly by the film. Yes, there are alternate reasons beyond why they are like that, but the core problem is that Fat is the same as “Short green goblin”.

      “You think if you met someone and then not ten minutes later, you think you hear them calling but when you turn around you see someone much lighter or much heavier than they are, are you gonna suddenly recognise them as the same person? Or are you going to think you probably misheard?
      Also by “same facial features” do you mean they both have eyes, nose and a mouth? Because sure the hair/eye colour is the same, but beyond that they do not have the same face.”

      Also the outfit is identical, also the voice is identical, also the eyes and hair and general facial structure is identical (It’s just got a little more space around the sides). I’ve seen this same thing happen with people who recognise me after 10 years apart when I’ve aged and changed sizes, so yes I believe that scene was unrealistic or at very least just dumb.

      “You mean the film where the evil queen has a magic mirror with no reasoning behind where she got it, poisons a beautiful princess with no personality, and some prince she’s met for five minutes is so awed by her beauty that he gives her a “true love’s kiss” that wakes her up? That? You mean that movie?”

      No Snow White film, none that I know of anyway, explains how she got the magic mirror… nor should they because that’s not an important thing to know about. It’s a magic mirror, she’s a witch, I worked out how she got it by that little piece of information. As for the rest… that’s literally the story of Snow White, based on the original text. The prince literally turns up to buy the coffin she’s buried in and when his servants carry the coffin away, they trip and it dislodges the apple from her throat which wakes her up (because that’s how poison works). The Disney version is a classic for a reason, it’s a wonderfully animated film with some of the best songs and while it could’ve given the prince and princess more personality, the Dwarfs have more than enough personality to make up for it. Yes, I believe that classic is so much better than this boring bland attempted parody.

      1. “It’s a bad name that, even in context, is part of this films weird attitude towards it’s main character.”

        To me I saw it as no different than “Little Red Riding Hood” or “Puss in Boots” and the like. Fairy tales have a tendency of naming characters based on distinctive wardrobe features, especially magical ones; that’s pretty “classic” for you.

        “Both the short green goblins and the fat woman are treated as equally ugly by the film.”

        Which scene are you think of that equates the two? I can’t think of a single scene where they are portrayed as equally ugly. Even Merlin during his moment of doubt makes it clear it’s not Snow White’s true form that bothers him, it’s his own appearance he’s struggling to accept. And he’s arguably the vainest character in the movie (at least to begin with), so if we’re going by what the film suggests as ugly or “more ugly”, it’s pretty clearly the dwarfs.

        “Also the outfit is identical, also the voice is identical, also the eyes and hair and general facial structure is identical (It’s just got a little more space around the sides). I’ve seen this same thing happen with people who recognise me after 10 years apart when I’ve aged and changed sizes, so yes I believe that scene was unrealistic or at very least just dumb.”

        That’s after TEN YEARS. This is not even ten minutes! How on earth would you reasonably expect someone to change that much in ten minutes?! What??

        The outfit has the same color scheme, sure, but again the shape of it has totally changed in order to fit her new figure. The eyes are the same color, but different shape – in her slender form she’s got more almond eyes whereas in her normal form her eyes are softer and rounder. She has a different nose and completely different bone structure. Bloody hell dude I have mild face-blindness and even I can tell that’s a completely different face. The voice is the only real giveaway, and even then I can definitely see how someone would be more likely to doubt their own intuition than accept that someone managed to change that much in 10 minutes.

        If anything I saw it as a sad reflection of truth in society – that people ARE judged based on appearance, and that there’s also a dark side to being “beautiful” that’s less talked about – sure you might receive admiration and popularity, but there’s a good chance your appearance is the ONLY thing people are paying attention to, such that when you lose that appearance you become nigh unrecognisable simply because the people you attracted never bothered to get to know you beyond your looks. (And this is especially true if the people you attracted were OBSESSED with looks and still had a lot of room to learn and grow in that respect). In essence, both “beautiful” and “ugly” people experience objectification and being reduced to their appearance at the expense of all else; it’s just that this objectification takes a different form depending on which side of the spectrum you’re on. Don’t tell me you don’t think that this is an unfortunate truth in television, or one worthy of exploration in a film that’s all about what it really means to be beautiful.

        “The Disney version is a classic for a reason, it’s a wonderfully animated film with some of the best songs and while it could’ve given the prince and princess more personality, the Dwarfs have more than enough personality to make up for it. Yes, I believe that classic is so much better than this boring bland attempted parody.”

        Face it, the Disney version gets love because it was pretty much the first full length animated feature, ever. If it came out *today*, it would get called boring and uninspired and bland, especially if it didn’t have the Disney brand attached to it and it was just some random Indie animation company that came out with it. There was plenty of originality in this film, at least in animation, especially to do with the magic – like the way the curse worked, or the magic apple -> tree -> shoes “circle of life” thing. The sets were gorgeous, the animation was beautiful, the fight scenes were amazingly choreographed, and for Pete’s sake this is the only “princess” movie I’ve ever seen with a plus sized princess that is all about body positivity (unless you count Fiona, but if a big green ogress is your only representation I hardly think that counts). It’s certainly the only animated film I’ve seen with a fat princess who takes pride in her fatness and only wishes that other people weren’t so judgemental about it. For a movie that had not even 10% of the budget your average Disney movie has, this was an amazing movie with a sweet message. I think you’re being incredibly harsh and nitpicky with your criticisms.

      2. “To me I saw it as no different than “Little Red Riding Hood” or “Puss in Boots” and the like. Fairy tales have a tendency of naming characters based on distinctive wardrobe features, especially magical ones; that’s pretty “classic” for you.”

        Snow White is literally that kind of name, named after her snow white skin. I just think it’s a dumb name that didn’t work for me, if it worked for you that’s fine but it didn’t for me.

        “Which scene are you think of that equates the two? I can’t think of a single scene where they are portrayed as equally ugly.”

        The general concept is equating the two by having them be alternatives to the conventionally attractive look.

        “That’s after TEN YEARS. This is not even ten minutes! How on earth would you reasonably expect someone to change that much in ten minutes?! What??”

        I’m willing to bet that princes who turn into magic goblins when everyone is looking at them might be a little more used to the idea of people changing rapidly within minutes… since, ya know, they literally do it themselves all the time.

        “ Don’t tell me you don’t think that this is an unfortunate truth in television, or one worthy of exploration in a film that’s all about what it really means to be beautiful.”

        It’s absoluely worth exploring in a film, I just don’t think this one did it very well. I’m glad you found something to enjoy in this film that I didn’t.

        Face it, the Disney version gets love because it was pretty much the first full length animated feature, ever. If it came out *today*, it would get called boring and uninspired and bland, especially if it didn’t have the Disney brand attached to it and it was just some random Indie animation company that came out with it.

        I genuinely disagree, it’s a gorgeous film that would still get serious attention and still tells the classic story perfectly.

        “It’s certainly the only animated film I’ve seen with a fat princess who takes pride in her fatness and only wishes that other people weren’t so judgemental about it. For a movie that had not even 10% of the budget your average Disney movie has, this was an amazing movie with a sweet message. I think you’re being incredibly harsh and nitpicky with your criticisms.”

        I agree with you on that, I would love more films with fat princesses (Hell, just fat people in general) who are proud of their size but I just did not like this one, and yeah I’m being nitpicky… and? I didn’t like it, I sat down and tried to explain why I didn’t like it, that might include picking some nits on occasion. Again, glad you liked it and you got something out of it that I didn’t, but I just didn’t like it.

      3. “Snow White is literally that kind of name, named after her snow white skin. I just think it’s a dumb name that didn’t work for me”

        It’s one thing to not like it, it’s another thing to say that it is revealing towards the writer’s “attitudes” towards their main character, when you yourself admit that a lot of fairy tale characters names – INCLUDING Snow White herself – are named that way.

        “The general concept is equating the two by having them be alternatives to the conventionally attractive look.”

        That’s not the point though. Yes, the film presents these two characters as both being conventionally unattractive, but you took it one step further than that when you said the film actually *equates* these two appearances as “equally ugly”. That’s the part I’m asking you to back up, because you’ve provided no evidence to support this claim. In fact there’s evidence *against* that, like how *Merlin* was the one who needed to grow, how Merlin could accept Snow but not himself, and also a key part where Snow references “our curses” – at this point it’s made very clear that she’s more comfortable in her real self, so the only cursed form she could possibly be referring to is… her spelled form. Likely because she’s relying on it to get by and achieve her goals, but she hates *having* to rely on it. It’s undeniable that these two characters are both conventionally unattractive, but to say that the film actually depicts them as EQUALLY unattractive or ugly ignores all the textual evidence to the contrary.

        “I’m willing to bet that princes who turn into magic goblins when everyone is looking at them might be a little more used to the idea of people changing rapidly within minutes… since, ya know, they literally do it themselves all the time.”

        That’s a fairer point than the one you originally made, but that’s arguably more of a plothole than a “bad movie message” or something. That being said, it’s pretty obvious that the dwarves are still getting used to their curse, and that this doesn’t seem to be a common thing that happens. Frankly, I think it’s more unbelievable that the STEPMOTHER doesn’t recognise her. She presumably knows how the magic shoes work, and she’s known Snow White for much longer, so one would think she’d figure out who must have stolen the shoes. The self-absorbed green buffoons not getting it at least makes some sense in context and fits thematically.

        At the end of the day it’s fine if this film just “didn’t do it” for you. It’s the premises in your argument that I’m challenging, particularly ones which you’ve provided no reasonable basis for.

      4. “At the end of the day it’s fine if this film just “didn’t do it” for you. It’s the premises in your argument that I’m challenging, particularly ones which you’ve provided no reasonable basis for.”

        My reasonable basis for these opinions is that I watched the film and didn’t like it and provided reasons why. I stand by my reasons, they are based upon my viewing the film and how I felt while watching it. Also keep in mind I saw this film about a week ago and (this isn’t in the review) I’ve had a flu since then and when films bore me like this one is, the details don’t stick around so I don’t really plan on debating this any more because it’s going to be meaningless. I’m glad you were able to enjoy a film that I couldn’t.

  2. Well, at least you can admit that you didn’t pay enough attention in your viewing in order to actually back up the claims you make with, you know, evidence from the text. I definitely think that when you’re struggling to even care about the movie you’re watching, any analysis of subtext and theme is not going to be well reasoned when, in your words, the details don’t “stick around”. In this case, a good chunk of your analysis was unsupported from the text, and you had nothing to rebut the counter-examples I gave other than “glad you got something out of it”. But thanks for at least being honest about that, I guess. Hope your flu gets better.

    1. I never said that I didn’t pay enough attention during the film. I watched, I paid attention, I stated my case and I stand behind it. The fact that I didn’t care that much about the movie is a further indictment of the movie, and frankly the subtext and themes (Which I got, they’re basically doing the Shrek and Shallow Hal style story) weren’t something I felt I had time and space to talk about cos I try to keep these things under 1000 words, which i’m going to change in future so I can just call out these themes and then point out that no matter how interesting the theme might be in theory, in the context of the film it didn’t work. I also countered pretty much all of what you said, I just don’t have the patience to do it for long around a movie I will probably forget that I saw within a month. It’s not even interestingly bad enough to be worth thinking about for my end of year worst lists. It exists, you might like it but I did not and that’s going to have to be where this ends.

      1. Oh don’t be disingenuous. You specifically claimed that “this film presents these two characters as EQUALLY unattractive” and went on to highlight the negative implications of that. I asked you twice to provide examples from the film that support this argument, and the only thing you could come up with was “these two characters are both shown to be unattractive” from which your conclusion does NOT logically follow “Both unattractive =/= both equally unattractive”. On top of that, i provided several counter-examples which demonstrate the film does NOT, in fact, equate these two as you suggest they do. You did not respond to any of these counter-examples beyond “I’m glad it did something for you”. That’s not a rebuttal. That’s you presenting a claim about the film’s subtext that you can’t or won’t back up, and directly ignoring counter-evidence that contradicts said claim. After dodging my points on this for a second time, you talked about being sick and having based your opinions on “how you felt” when you watched it, and subsequently not remembering enough details from a movie you didn’t like in order to actually discuss it properly. In which case I stand by saying that if you can’t remember enough details from the film you saw to justify the conclusions you’ve drawn about it when prompted, then it’s probably not going to be a completely fair and well reasoned critique of the film. I don’t see how that’s an unreasonable.stance to take.

        Whether you like the film is subjective and nobody can fault you for liking or not liking a movie, so you don’t need to keep repeating that. All I ask(ed) is for you to justify the inferences you’ve made – especially ones with particularly nasty implications – with actual evidence, or be willing to re-evaluate those inferences if you cannot.. Again, don’t see how that’s unreasonable to ask of a reviewer.

      2. There is nothing disingenuous about what I have said. I don’t really need to spend ages justifying my opinions on a film I saw a week ago in a review I wrote a week ago about a film that is forgettable even if I hadn’t seen several other things since then. Maybe you have a photographic memory of every film you’ve seen, I do not. I can remember most of them but those that bore me tend to be the first to go.Yes, I said they are being treated as equally unattractive because they are the two lead characters and therefore the things that make them unattractive are on close to equal footing, made fully equal by the way she is treated by society and by the other characters at the larger weight and by how the dwarfs are treated because of their being tiny green goblins. Hell, the scene where they don’t recognise her and how she is being treated by other characters in that scene is literally about them being on equal unattractive footing. The subtext here isn’t hard to understand, it’s basically Shallow Hal except both of them have some kind of spell that changes their appearance. At the end of the day, even if I agreed with you (and I don’t), still doesn’t change the fact that the film wasn’t funny, the animation was competent at best and the story being told has been told better by other writers. In future I will now endeavour to make these reviews longer so I can go into more depth on these things, I just didn’t think it would matter that much with this film because the film was bad and boring and that’s something I can put into under 1000 words but now I’ll just use this interaction to learn and improve. However I don’t plan on continuing rebutting every point about a film that just doesn’t matter that much to me.

      3. “Yes, I said they are being treated as equally unattractive because they are the two lead characters and therefore the things that make them unattractive are on close to equal footing… Hell, the scene where they don’t recognise her and how she is being treated by other characters in that scene is literally about them being on equal unattractive footing.”

        I’ve already responded to that example and how that scene serves to illustrate a different message (objectification and its consequences, not fat = goblin), regardless of whether you think it was “done well” or not – but regarding your first point there, maybe you think that two lead roles *ought* to be on equal footing, you know, in order to make for a more compelling narrative. That I can see. But while that’s a reasonable expectation, I don’t think that message was either intended or delivered here (even if perhaps it should have been), given how despite both being treated badly at times, the writers made a conscious effort to show how the dwarves are clearly the worse off of the two. That undermines your claim that these two characters were intended to be read as being on equal footing. Maybe some common ground, perhaps (though again, Snow implying her spelled form is her “cursed” form is telling in this respect) – but *not* equal footing and certainly not evidence of authorial intent to equate fatness with monstrosity or something as you suggest in your review.

        I haven’t seen your rebuttal to any of that, and you circling back to “well I just didn’t like it” (never said you had to) “but I do get the subtext, it’s just Shrek and Shallow Hal” (never said that was the bit you misrepresented) – is why I called your style disingenuous and your arguments flimsy. If you want to disengage, that’s fine, but so long as you keep replying with flimsy arguments and/or arguing against points I’ve never made then I’m going to keep calling you out on it.

      4. I have done all the reubuttal I feel I need to do in order to defend my argument of “The film was bad and I didn’t like it”. Clearly a huge part of this is that I have forgotten a large part of the film that I found to be boring, therefore I cannot rebut every point you want to bring up to defend this movie because I just don’t remember everything about it (again, I wrote this review a week ago within a few hours of seeing the film, I’ve moved on since then). My arguments are not disingenuous or flimsy, they just don’t line up with the ones you would make to defend the film and you can keep calling me out on that all you want but at the end of the day, I just do not care enough about this film to have this banter. I’m glad you liked it, I’m glad you saw something in it that I didn’t see, but I still don’t think it worked even if I agreed with everything you said about it. Even if I totally agreed that the message of the film was exactly what you say it is, the film would still be a 1 out of 5 film for me and I wouldn’t reccomend it to anyone. I’m thankful for this back and forth, I will use this feedback to improve in the future but for right now? Sorry, I got nothing else about this film, It’s not memorable enough for me to continue going on about it.

  3. I agree the film was boring. It was also offensive.
    There were two women who spoke in the film! Two!! The ugly old regina and Snow White. That’s it! It annoys me so much that women are either one or the other. Never both. Women are more then beauty or evil old crone!!! The male characters are plentiful and diverse. Inventor, magician, boring prince, lovable kind king etc etc … also why is it that snow not just keep the dam sword? She pulled it, take credit for your work lady?!!! Why didn’t she help rebuild the house? Why didn’t she talk any women? I don’t get? Women = human. So basically same kinda thoughts and diversity as men!! I would like my daughters to know they can be a funny brave inventor who makes bad choices and learns instead of all good or all bad. Representation is important. It’s a lot harder to be something if you can’t see it. Role modelling is a teaching strategy for a reason.

    Also it’s kinda creepy all the men wanted to try and kiss snow. It’s got a frat boys treating women as sexual objects vibe. It’s really rather icky.

    It just shits me that I think it’s changing and then this crap is released. People who are writing movies go talk to women!!! They are approx half the population. It’s a princess film geared toward female children. Represent the little girls properly! If you can make it so there are bunny rabbits made out of wood I’m sure you could retwist the story so there are more female proper characters with actual personalities, thoughts, feelings and lines that are not reduced to their physical attributes.

    I could go on and on… sigh. Writers please do better.

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