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In 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became Disney's first animated feature film, and its message of "happily ever after" continues to resonate today. The movie showcases good overcoming evil and right winning in the end. While that's not always the case in real life, Snow White has stood as a picture-perfect image of goodness over the years.
Now Locus Corporation has produced a twist on the original Snow White tale that shifts the focus to finding beauty within. With the voice talents of Chloe Grace Moretz, Gina Gershon, and Jim Rash, Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs is about a young princess trying to stay true to herself.
A first look at the official trailer, however, seems to project the exact opposite notion, with the dwarfs cringing as the Princess removes the red shoes and becomes herself once again. Combine that with the early industry marketing campaign, and the film doesn't seem to be staying true to its moral.
In spite of what the trailer and the ad reveals, though, the synopsis from Locus insists this princess will overturn our stereotypical standards of what makes a heroine and what makes a girl beautiful:
A normal girl born into extraordinary circumstances, she's a Princess who doesn't fit into the celebrity world of Princesses—or their dress size. She wants to stay true to herself, but Fairy Tale Island is all about the looks, so it makes it hard not to want to be like the others. In her quest to find her lost father, she learns to not only accept herself, but to celebrate who she is inside and out. And to let the beauty within—the beauty that Prince Merlin falls in love with—shine brighter than anyone else's.
So while it seems there's little doubt this story has a body-positive message, it's easy to understand why potential viewers aren't seeing it through the same lens. Locus Creative Media missed the mark by a mile when they launched an industry ad campaign that was less than positive. The ad campaign, spotted all over the Cannes Film Festival, was taken to task for being tone deaf and fat-shaming, but the true test of a movie isn't necessarily in the first look.
Even star Chloe Grace Mortez was quick to clarify that, despite the bungled marketing campaign, the movie itself carries a powerful message and one for anyone to see:
Locus apologized swiftly, recognizing that the campaign, while well-intended, drove the wrong message:
“… Locus Corporation wishes to apologize regarding the first elements of our marketing campaign (in the form of a Cannes billboard and a trailer), which we realize has had the opposite effect from that which was intended..."
The campaign, they explained, has since been pulled, and, taken out of context, the first trailer could be issuing a condemnation the movie doesn't deserve. As badly as the dwarfs react, we don't know how this will play out in the end. Much like the stepmother in Cinderella, the dwarfs will probably end up getting their comeuppance.
So the question is: should we judge an entire film on its marketing presence? It's important for marketing companies to think about the message they're sending. And while it's just as important for us to speak out if people are being maligned, it's also imperative to look at the entire picture. It sounds like Locus Creative Studios made a really poor decision and perhaps didn't choose the best portion of the film to highlight, but that shouldn't take away from what could be a film that sends a message of support to all of us.