I know, I know. How can I end February’s Month of the Vertically Challenged Villains by NOT writing about a film in which vertically challenged characters are villains? I can, because it’s MY month of the vertically challenged and just like any tyrant with a smidgen of power, I can change the rules when I please.
Plus, Sven Unterwaldt Jr’s German children’s(????) film 7 Dwarfs is simply bizarre enough that it’d be a crime against dwarfdom to not give it its place.
Quick Plot: A long time ago in a fairyland far far away, the world was divided by a quaint little bridge between the bright and dark. All that really happens on the dark side, however, is that a bunch of ‘dwarfs’ (they’re much taller than you think) live without the company of women following personal tragedies fueled by estrogen (losing wives in childbirth, being kicked out of school plays, tossed out of hot air balloons, having a magic lamp stolen, the usual).
Enter a silly brunette to turn it all upside down. Young 17 year old Snow White must flee the light kingdom when the drag queenish (but not) queen learns from her sassy mirror that the young lass is considered far more attractive. Over the bridge she runs and into the grumbling, but eventually accommodating home of seven hyperactive, easily identifiable little people.
There's Bubi the doofus, Cooky the, yeah, cook, and a whole lot more silly named little(ish) people who pass the time by singing, riverdancing, and playing pun-ish ‘board’ games that involve hitting each other in the face with, yup, boards.
Also thrown into the mix are a court jester bearing a frightening likeness to Andy Dick and a hunter who's far prouder of the sticks his dog fetches than any actual slaughtered game. As you probably figured out, 7 Dwarfs is an incredibly odd film that somehow fits right at home here at the Doll's House (and not just because it’s short enough to pass under the bar). On one hand, it’s a simple children’s film that gives you everything your 8-year-old pigtails want from a Snow White yarn. On the other, there’s bizarre adult humor mixed in through clever language, including a prolonged diatribe on the excitement of wieners and being on top.
The idea of tickle torture has always seemed far more effective to me than waterboarding or the rack. 7 Dwarfs gets this
Some of the slapstick humor feels, you know, silly and annoying (which isn’t necessarily a surprise, but when watching a children’s movie, one should be aware)
Why use a glass coffin to transport a princess when you have a perfectly good life-size tupperwear container?
Wieners don’t have to be boring, you know
It took one spunky brunette to show the world that it’s actually blonds who lack intelligence
I would never have thought to watch 7 Dwarves without the power of Instant Watch, and as long as it's streaming, it's certainly a unique 90 minutes. Even though it's rife with tongue-in-cheek innuendo, the film is actually quite innocent and would be the perfect watch-with-your-imaginative-children's film if it were in English. But hey, maybe your kids speak fluent German or don't mind reading rapid fire subtitles whilst enjoying visual gags.
In other words, I have no idea who will enjoy this movie. It has a similar spirit to Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,with adult humor that's far too sly to raise the little eyebrows of kids under 10. At the same time, it shares that sometimes-annoying sense of making just about every moment a walking or shouting joke. You won't laugh at all of them, but that could generally be said about most comedies and this one has dwarfs.