Adapted from the classic Grimm fairy tale, this audio drama of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” follows the source material well, yet adds some new elements and characters that fans of the Disney film will find interesting and compelling. A sort of secret history of what really happened.
Rather than start in media res with the evil queen and Snow White as established characters, the story begins with Snow’s mother and an owl conversing about the future. The princess hasn’t even been born yet. After introducing the geo-political tension between two rival kingdoms, you realize this isn’t your childhood Disney feature presentation.
The biggest difference between the children’s story and the animated film is the ending. For those who aren’t aware, the evil Queen tries three times to kill Snow White herself (four if you count the huntsman). The apple is a last resort, but it’s unclear as to whether the poison was the cause of Snow White almost dying.
The dwarves are limited to four. This change from the animated film and possibly the original fairy tale is almost required for an audio drama. The problem people thought the first Avenger’s film was going to have was too many characters to juggle and not being able to do them justice. David Farquhar and Voices in the Wind solve this problem by simplifying it. Rather than having at least seven people play the dwarves, he uses four who each act different from each other, yet combine traits from the other three dwarves found in the Disney film. Comparisons aside, this truly has feel of a fairy tale.
Farquhar is a force to be reckoned with and I look forward to his next project. You can find this on Audible, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and more. For less than ten dollars, it’s perfect for kids and adults and for those awesome parents who want to introduce their children to audio drama at an early age.
With the third and final Hobbit film coming to the screen, it only made sense to review a Hobbit audio drama. It’s hard to criticize this the same way people do modern audio dramas. A lot has changed and the story itself is a timeless children’s classic. After watching the extended edition of “The Desolation of Smaug,” and finishing the full-cast dramatization of the entire hobbit story, there were a lot of similarities. The scenes that weren’t in the theatrical edition were some of my favorite parts of the audio drama, but felt long and over bloated in the extended cut of the second Hobbit film. The scene that comes to mind is when the biggest dwarf falls in the bewitched water in mirkwood. Despite the narration, the version that appeared on NPR was more engaging. It felt like a part of the story, rather than a scene which was cut from the story.
The story’s ending is the weakest point. Maybe it’s the source material or perhaps it’s the adaptation of the beloved children’s book into an audible medium. Regardless from the moment Smaug is killed it feels rushed. It was bam, bam, bam, and we’re done. There was no time to catch a breath and mourn for the characters who lost their lives in the battle of the five armies. It’s a simple sweeping overview of the battle and its aftermath.
Phantom Canyon succeeds in being horror. A horror-western is a bit of a stretch. Yes, the story is set in the old west, but I felt this was a much better horror piece than it was a western. That’s all good, because those two genres almost never work well together. I’d pin this audio drama at 75% horror, 25% western.
How good of a horror is this? I slept with the lights on for a few hours after listening to it. Horror films don’t scare me. It’s only after they’re done that my mind begins to play tricks on me. Phantom Canyon had that same effect.
The actors and actresses did a great job of bringing life to their characters. That, combined with the fantastic production value, made for a truly immersive story. Without any spoilers, the final scene succeeds in achieving the want for a sequel without promising there will be one. Such a balance is hard to get right.
Aside from the tiny genre complaint, there’s not really much to criticize this for. As Pendant’s first “Prestige” show they did a bang-up job and was worth the small amount of money that was shelled out to get it.
Rating: 5/5 stars.