“Snow White” is often called the very first animated feature film. That is not entirely true, as there were other feature films released before Disney’s. While most are lost, the fact remains that films like “The Adventures of Prince Achmed” were released years prior. The main difference, however, is that films like these were made using other animation techniques such as cutout animation (think “South Park” but taking much longer to make). Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is the first feature-length film to use cel animation, what we now consider traditional animation.
At the time, it was a huge financial gamble. Disney was making not just an art film, but a four-quadrant blockbuster animated movie longer than any the studio had done before, and it paid off. The film changed how we view animation, and the Disney style came to dominate American animation for decades to come, in terms of visuals, use of music, the type of fairy tales, and the way to adapt them we’d see over time.
Above you can see an image comparing the version of “Snow White” currently available to watch at home, and the new 4K release, showing the vibrant colors finally restored.
With Disney no longer doing theatrical re-releases of their classic movies like they used to, and with the Disney Vault and home video re-releases not being as much of a thing in the time of streaming, these restorations (as well as their placement/promotion on Disney+) are essential to the discovery of these classics by young generations.