“The Seven Dorks”

         Sydney White (2007), directed by Joe Nussbaum, is loosely based on the story of Snow White, both the 1812 Brothers Grimm version and the 1937 Disney film version. The movie takes several elements from both versions of the classic story. The pieces from the story are pieced together and reworked to fit unto the modern college-life plot.

         The first, most obvious reference is in the name of the main character, Sydney White, played by Amanda Bynes. She is the “Snow White” of the movie. The antagonist, Rachel Witchburn (played by Sara Paxton), is the president of the sorority that Sydney is trying to become a part of. She serves the purpose of the evil Queen/Stepmother in the earlier versions in the story. Sydney’s love interest, Tyler PRINCE, is played by Matt Long. The seven dorks living in the run-down Vortex are the seven dwarfs that protect Sydney. Their personalities even match up with a dwarf from the Disney movie version: Happy (Spanky/Samm Levine), Sneezy (Lenny/Jack Carpenter), Grumpy (Gurkin/Danny Strong), Dopey (George/Arnie Pantoja), Sleepy (Emele/Donte Bonner), Bashful (Jeremy/Adam Hendershott), and Doc (Terrance/Jeremy Howard).

         Many of the key plot points also have their roots in the Grimm or Disney versions. The evil Witchburn gives Sydney an ugly dress to wear to a ceremony, hoping to make Sydney look bad. This is from the Grimm version of the tale, where the queen attempts to kill Snow White with a corset. Witchburn later bribes a man to hack into Sydney’s Apple laptop, leaving Sydney with “one poisoned Apple.” The poisoned apple theme is seen in both earlier versions. Sydney stays up all night rewriting the paper that was lost when her computer was infected, and then falls asleep. Her “Prince” finds her and, after trying to wake her, finally gives her a kiss that awakens her. This is in reference to the Disney tale. (The Brothers Grimm version has Snow White coughing up the apple in order to wake up. The writer of the Sydney White clearly went with the more romantic version!)

         Sydney White takes ideas from the Brothers Grimm and a Disney classic and successfully fits them into a modern-day comedy. This attests to the true classic nature of the story itself: No matter the time or place, Snow White is a great tale.

Kortney Bullock

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