Photos recently surfaced of a truly terrible advertising campaign at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs, a 2018 animated film that’s being produced by South Korean studio Locus Corporation. Star Chloe Grace Moretz has come out and apologized for the now-canceled advertising campaign, which flat-out stated Snow White was “no longer beautiful” because she wasn’t thin.
While Moretz and the producer swear the movie’s actually about empowering women and girls to accept themselves no matter their size, I have my doubts:
The billboard in question—advertising a film most people had barely heard about beforehand—promised a twist on the classic Snow White tale, centered around the following theme: “What is Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 Dwarfs not so short?”
Taller dwarfs, sure. But, how is the movie’s Snow White not beautiful? Is she an ogre like Shrek’s Fiona, or an actual swan, like in Swan Lake?
Nope, she just weighs more.
Since then, Moretz has come out and apologized for the Cannes marketing campaign, saying neither she nor her PR team had any part of it.
Producer Sujin Hwang also told the Daily Dot they’ve canceled the ad, regretfully adding that it had the “opposite effect” of the message they were trying to send about their upcoming film. That message, supposedly, is not about body-shaming larger women... it’s actually about empowering them!
According to the synopsis, Red Shoes is a parody film about Snow White living on Fairy Tale Island, “a celebrity world” where you’re judged by how you look and how much you weigh, so she wears a pair of magical red shoes to make herself look skinnier. Seven handsome and super-talented princes also live on this island, and a curse (that only a princess can cure) transforms them into dwarfs. While questing to find her lost father, presumably with the dwarfs alongside her, Snow White learns to accept and celebrate who she is, both inside and out.
Okay, that premise sounds really stupid, but it’s not “entirely” awful. It’s about accepting yourself for who you are, even in the face of peer pressure. The only problem is, that’s not what the movie appears to be about at all—at least not according to the trailers that starting debuting almost a year ago (only main thing we’ve seen changed since then is that the dwarfs are green now).
The original Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs teaser trailer presented the film as a lewd parody where Snow White was objectified for her body— it included a scene showing her sexily undressing in her room in full view of some peeping dwarfs, who became visibly horrified when they realize taking off her shoes meant Snow gained weight. Another teaser featured one of the dwarfs, presumably her love interest (based on other photos of their before-and-after transformations), viciously attacking the sleeping Snow White to get access to her red shoes.
Neither of those trailers imply that the movie’s story will be empowering to women in the slightest; in fact, they convey the polar opposite. Everything we’ve seen so far is unpleasant and demeaning. Now, Moretz and the producers are telling us the film is something else entirely (despite all the evidence to the contrary), and that we just have to take their word for it. But it’s going to take more than just empty platitudes, or even a non-horrible new trailer, to get us to even consider giving Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs a chance. Honestly, unless this movie rises like a phoenix from the ashes to become the new Frozen, there’s little it can do to repair the damage it’s already caused. Save your breath and re-watch Shrek 2.