Monday, 30 May 2011

Snow White Mosaic Part 2

It's only a short sequence today - so it may be not so much commentary. Besides, I still have a long way to go on finishing off the "Snow White in the Woods" sequence, and it may take some time.

This sequence has now reached a story part. The Wicked Queen has realized that Snow White in rags hasn't stopped her beauty, and even the charming and sophisticated Prince is still attracted to her. Which makes the Queen even more jealous of her beauty and this time she has another plan - a very obnoxious plan. You see, the Queen is a very obnoxious and cold character, that her step step has gone too dramatic - she plans to kill Snow White.

She then orders a huntsman and hires her to kill Snow White. At first, the Queen explains to the Huntsman in the throne room and she's sitting in her throne chair. She simply asks the Huntsman to take her away from the castle in the forest, and tell her to pick up wild flowers as a distraction so that the Huntsman can kill her on time. The Huntsman was immediately about to reject, and thought the Queen was going too far with the plan. So, the Queen threatens to the Huntsman that if he fails his job badly, his fate will end up into execution. The Huntsman, feeling very helpless and feeling weaker, says "Yes, your majesty". BUT, the Queen was further evidence so that in case the Huntsman doesn't try to trick her - the astute Queen orders her to bring Snow White's heart into a box where the sign appears to be a "heart box".

This sequence is rather dark and cold to me. Of course, a lot of the audience praise it for storytelling. The personality of the Huntsman is very good, and the Queen is as wicked and as wicked as she gets. But I always felt the story part was too cold. The Queen couldn't have thought of anything else fair and instead kill her own step daughter. I wonder if the story department had that problem in this sequence. I suppose the director had to make some pacings in the film, and that this sequence was the right time for it to be shown. In my opinion, I felt that the Wicked Queen ordering the Huntsman to kill Snow White was too early for the picture.

When I was re watching the film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and I was making some studies and analyzing, I was surprised to find out that the Wicked Queen appears very little in the film, until she is turned into a Witch. We rarely get to find out much of her personality, except that all we need to know is her jealousy of the princess. There is no background detail - and all we need to is her jealousy towards Snow White, and how she feels that she's the Queen and as if she should be fairest of all the kingdom. Well, there is the saying "Some you win, some you lose", and the Wicked Queen probably doesn't care about that, and what really makes her determined is that she should be the fairest of them all.

Art Babbitt appears again and he animates the Queen. Babbitt had to animate the Queen very carefully, because she was a character that would move very little, and Shot 2 will give you an example of stiffness of the Queen. That's what probably made it very complicating for Art Babbitt, and he must've studied a lot of live-action references for the Queen.

The Queen was a very fragile character to animate, it could be easily messed up while animating, while for example: the forest animals or the dwarfs would be easier to animate, and not too much screwing it up. Art had to make sure, that the animation of the Queen had to be right. Art Babbitt's Queen in shot 4A look very much like Greta Garbo who was a popular celebrity in the 1930's who would often avoid the public.

 Here is what I thought the Queen was a type of Greta Garbo take. Of course, I don't think Babbitt did that on purpose or even thought about that. He probably just did it off the model sheets.

The Huntsman is pretty well animated and he was animated by a Gray? Well, I've been looking at two possible Grays are Max Gray and Erroll Gray in Albertopage - but they only list those animators as early as 1939, so I didn't know which possible Gray there was. But it says that Max Gray was a character animator on Donald Duck while Erroll Gray was doing assistant work, and I thought that Max would be a more likely result, but it's not the final case.

Shot 8 is what I call excellent animation. Oh, and another note: what made the Queen a very hard character to animate was witnessed by Bill Justice who was the inbetweener on the Queen.


Eric Noble said...

I wouldn't call it an obnoxious plan. It's desperate for certain. That kind of thinking comes with the territory of the fairy tale. The Queen is an older woman, beautiful but is destined to be up-shown by her stepdaughter, who is flowering into adulthood. Since the Queen is older, she is closer to the effects of old age and what it does to a person's looks. If she doesn't have that, she has nothing, at least in her mind. So to keep the moment of inevitability at bay, she must spill the blood of her rival.

A real life example of this would be Count Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary. She felt that in order to prevent aging, she must spill the blood of young virgin girls and bathe/drink it. Unfortunately, her blood count was much higher than the Queen in the movie.

Steven Hartley said...

Eric, I believe you are right about her aging and that she still wants to be beautiful as she gets older.

I never really thought of that.